GAR Joins W-B Area’s Consolidation Plan
PLAINS TWP. — All Wilkes-Barre Area high school students will be under one roof when a consolidated high school is built after a vote by the school board on Tuesday night.
The Wilkes-Barre Area School Board voted 6 to 3 to add GAR High School into its consolidation plan, which is still being challenged by citizens who prefer neighborhood schools. GAR will become a middle school under the plan, expected to be completed in 2022.
Previously, the school district’s plan was to merge Coughlin and Meyers high schools at a new site in Plains Twp. while GAR would remain a high school.
“It’s a wonderful night in the Wilkes-Barre Area School District,” board member Ned Evans said prior to voting yes during the meeting held at Solomon/Plains Junior Senior High School.
Other board members voting yes were Joe Caffrey, Denise Thomas, James Susek, John Quinn and the Rev. Shawn Walker.
Some board members who voted no said that didn’t have enough time to review the idea.
Walker made the motion near the conclusion of the meeting and some board members appeared to be caught off guard.
No votes included Dino Galella, Melissa Patla and James Geiger.
“I didn’t know we were voting on it tonight. I think we as a board should have talked about it more,” Galella said.
Superintendent Brian Costello said the plan to consolidate only Meyers and Coughlin was in place when the site for the new school was going to be at the current Coughlin site in Downtown Wilkes-Barre. After choosing a new site on 88 acres between Maffett and Main streets in Plains Twp., they explored the possibility of merging all three schools. The state has approved plans to add GAR, Costello said.
Evans refuses to resign
Earlier in the meeting, the vice president of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People on Tuesday renewed calls for Evans and Thomas to resign.
Andita Parker Lloyd blasted board member Evans for a crude comment he made on Facebook about a student sex scandal involving a teacher in Arizona.
Parker Lloyd then turned her attention to “alleged” emails written by board member Denise Thomas when she worked as an attendance officer at GAR High School. Repeated comments made in the emails are worse than one crude comment Evans made, she said. The purported emails, dating back six to eight years, denigrate minority and poor students.
Near the end of the meeting, Patla called for Evans to resign, a request the entire board already made in a joint statement.
“I’ll think about it because I respect you so much,” Evans said.
He then blurted out, “No!”
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