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School Board Approves Elementary School Sale, Tables Bell Schedule

District board members and administrators received strong feedback from parents regarding the two issues.

Two topics that recently attracted much attention over the last few weeks were addressed by the Centennial School Board Monday night.

A high turnout of parents watched as the school directors unanimously approved both the sale agreement of the Leary, Longstreth and Stackpole properties to County Builders and the tabling of the altered elementary bell schedule while administration re-analyzed the situation.

The sale of the three buildings now moves into a 60-day due diligence phase, followed by a 30-day waiting period until the closing date. County Builders is purchasing the properties for a grand total of $1.33 million ($480,000 for Stackpole, $450,000 for Leary and Longstreth).

Centennial Superintendent Dr. Jenny Cressman addressed many of the concerns voiced by district residents through e-mails and on Patch about the sale price. She echoed points she originally made in a blog post on the Centennial website, including:

  • The money reflects the state of the current reale state market.
  • To keep the properties under the district's care while waiting for a better offer would require the district to pay for their upkeep, including securing the sites from vandals and loiterers, mowing the lawns, regular inspections for water damage, etc., at an estimated cost of $50,000 per building.
  • The properties are being sold "as is, where is," meaning the County Builders will be responsible for the demolition of the buildings, including asbestos abatement.
  • Other bid offers that were higher had too many contingencies that risked the possibility of the potential buyer backing out and placing the district back at square one with empty buildings to manage.
  • Pending legislation that would make it easier for a charter school to take over the buildings with little or no financial restitution to the district.

"This has been discussed extensively at our committee meetings," said Dr. Cressman. "This is not a decision made lightly. We have received 30 to 40 e-mails on this, and we do hear you."

The sale of the buildings is a part of the overall school consolidation plan. Students from Leary have been moved to Willow Dale, Stackpole students will join Davis students at the new Region 1 school and Longstreth students will move to McDonald Elementary in September. The Longstreth and McDonald students will then move to the new Region 2 school in March 2013.

The closing of the neighborhood schools means that there will be fewer students walking to school, requiring a new busing plan by the transportation department.

Director Wayne Robinson presented a to the elementary committee that he said would ensure that students are picked up in a timely manner. As configured, the schedule would look like the following:

  •  will begin classes at 8:30 a.m. and end at 3:15 p.m.
  • Davis Elementary and  will begin at 9:00 a.m. and dismiss at 3:45 p.m.

The later end times elicited a strong reaction from parents who feared that their children would have less time for extra-curricular activities. 

"I have received an unbelievable amont of feedback, mostly from the parents at Willow Dale," said school board member Jane Schrader Lynch, who also chairs the education committee. "They do not want this. It changes their whole life."

School Director Michael Hartline moved to table the issue and allow administration an opportunity to re-analyze the schedule, a motion that was unanimously approved. The operations committee will take a look at any new alterations at its May 7 meeting.

It was made clear that in order for all of the schools to dismiss at the same time, the district would need to purchase 10 to 12 additional buses, costing approximately $1.2 million, plus the cost of hiring more drivers. If that is the route the district chooses, the finance committee will also need to review the matter at its May 21 meeting.

Robinson also mentioned that altering the middle school and high school schedules will also have to be considered in order to keep the elementary dismissal times earlier.

Dumb and Dumber April 24, 2012 at 11:25 PM
Logistical Transportation Advice for Wayne 1. Start from scratch and recreate all your routes to make only Right turns whenever possible. This saves time, money and gas. Think about it. 2. Consolidate any bus stops that are relatively close 3. No waiting for anyone. If there not waiting for the bus they missed it. 4. Every bus 100% full. 5. Stagger start times of drivers. 6. Hire part-time drivers to fill the missing pieces. 7. Always constantly look to improve effectiveness of the routes and schedules.
WDC April 25, 2012 at 02:04 AM
Love the comment!! You might want to copy and paste that to Mr. Robinson himself, his email is robiwa@centennialsd.org..Also everyone PLEASE sent your comments and concerns to the school board, they need to hear us!!!!!!!!!! Dr. Cressman-cresje@centennialsd.org Dr. Pollock-pollan@centennialsd.org Mrs. Betty Huf-hufbet@centennialsd.org Mrs. Kati Driban-dribka@centennialsd.ord Mr. Steven Adams-adamst@centennialsd.org Mr Michael Hartline-hartmi@centennialsd.org Mr Charles Kleinschmidt-kleich@centennialsd.org Mrs. Jane Lynch-lyncja@centennialsd.org Mr. David Shaftner-shafda@centennialsd.org Mr Mark Miller-millmb@centennialsd.org
Joe Meditz April 25, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Joe Meditz, We live across the street from Longstreth School and there is a sidewalk that was built around 1968 and it runs between our homes, it is short cut for the children to go to school, from Hilltop Road to Roberts Road. This sidewalk and property belongs to the school district. Who is now going to maintain it?
WDC April 26, 2012 at 04:22 PM
To everyone who is concerned over all of these issues we all must attend the Operations Meeting on Monday May 7th at 7pm!!! Look at what we were able to accomplish with the approximately 25 parents who were able to attend the school board meeting. Imagine what we could do if 50 or more concerned citizens came. We need to show up proud and strong! If you do not want to speak that is fine, you just need to be there for everyone who does speak. We are done with the disappointment and devastation that this board has put us through. PLEASE help us stand united and say that we are a strong community and we are tired of being told that there is nothing more that this administration can do for us! We are Warminster and we are not going to take it anymore!!!!!!!!
concerned123 May 06, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Just another example of Centennials school board showing a lack of respect to the residents and taxpayers of this disctrict. Would have been nice to see this much interest last year when Dr. Pollack and the other four board members including Lynch and Huff who supported the new teachers contract which put us in further debt. One year later they tell us their is no money to pay for it. And now have to layoff teachers .Totally irresponsible move in this ecomonic climate. The sale of three properties for such a low amount is almost laughable. This is prime real estate they just gave away. Its time to see if there is any connection to Dr. Pollack or any other board members with County Builders. The whole things smells funny. I am sure County Builders are going to try and build as many townhomes they can and increase the strain even more on our schools with increased population . Dr. Pollack answer will just be to build another school to cover the increase. This school board has had no financial responsiblity to this disctrict. In the past few years they have put us in a horrible financial position for the furture.

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