Crestwood Open To Butler Twp. Student Transfers
WRIGHT TWP. — A request to transfer students from Butler Twp. to Crestwood School District wasn’t discussed at a school board meeting Thursday, but afterward Crestwood board President Bill Jones said, “We’re open to it. Absolutely open.”
After more than 130 people signed a petition requesting the transfer, Butler Twp. supervisors voted Tuesday to formally ask Crestwood’s position on the change, which would probably take years to achieve after a petition drive and reviews by a court and the state Department of Education take place.
Jones said knowing whether Butler Twp. students plan to transfer from Hazleton Area School District would give a good idea of future enrollment “as we’re planning a new elementary school.”
“I think it would be a good fit,” he said.
Without a new school, Crestwood Superintendent Joseph Gorham said there’s no room for more students in Rice Elementary School, Fairview Elementary has a single room available and Crestwood High School has very few rooms.
Gorham also said the transfer process is arduous, and he is aware of school districts that tried, but failed, to complete it.
Meanwhile, an effort by other residents to leave the Hazleton Area School District remains alive.
Berwick Area School District Superintendent Wayne Brookhart said he continues to hear from people who would like to transfer to his district from Sugarloaf and Black Creek townships and Conyngham.
Although the process outlined by state code is difficult to complete, Brookhart said the districts of Berwick, Crestwood and Hazleton Area might work out a deal. The bottom line, he said, is Hazleton Area has too many students while Berwick and Crestwood have space.
At Crestwood, walls have been built during the summer to cordon off restrooms in the elementary schools from the front entrances as a security measure. Now people can’t reach a restroom in either school without going through two doors with controlled access.
For the new school year that starts Aug. 27, the district hired a security chief for the high school and middle school complex. Guards from a private firm will patrol the elementary schools. Last year, municipal police provided security.
Getting emergency vehicles and school buses between Crestwood and White Haven could take longer if Blue Mountain Reading and Northern Railroad rebuilds a crossing at a hiking trail on Middleburg Road.
Gorham hopes the railroad will wait until next summer to do the work because buses would have to take a detour through the Francis E. Walter Dam or Baby Road. The railroad hasn’t said when it will start work.
Bob Lamson, a White Haven councilman, told the board the Walter Dam road might be difficult for buses to drive and impassible for buses during snow.
After the meeting, Lamson said the detour would add about 17 minutes to a trip.
The work would inconvenience all drivers but is especially a concern for police and fire vehicles, he said.
Field house impact
Construction work at the site for field house at Crestwood High School, will require drivers to follow a different route when dropping off and picking students. A map and a video showing the route will be on the district’s website starting today.
John Gorham was hired by the board to serve as principal at Rice Elementary. His annual salary will be $86,500.
Superintendent Gorham said they might be distantly related but they never spoke before the interview process.
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