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Unintended consequences

CARLA McELWAIN

Loganton

I am writing this letter as the president of the Sugar Valley Concerned Citizens, but also because of my long concern for education in the Sugar Valley area.

SVCC owns the property and has constructed buildings and other facilities for the Sugar Valley Rural Charter School. SVRCS leases the property from SVCC at a monthly square foot rental rate of half the average rate of warehouse space in Clinton and Lycoming counties.

Nearly every dollar received in rent is plowed back into construction of new facilities for the Charter School. SVCC can do this because we are an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to educational purposes and community support.

SVCC recently sent a letter to both Tracie Kennedy, CEO of the Sugar Valley Rural Charter School, and to Jacquelyn Martin, superintendent of KCSD, asking that the two entities set up an Ad-Hoc Committee to discuss SVRCS renewal issues, to seek common ground and to make recommendations on how the KCSD Board of Directors can agree to renew the charter achool and help to make it better.

I hope it is well known that a negative vote that would result in closing the Charter School would put more than 100 people out of work and would disrupt the lives of 490 children and their parents or guardians. How would this affect the tax base in Clinton County? Who would pay unemployment compensation to those employees if the charter achool no longer exists?

Does the KCSD Board of Directors want to AGAIN take a school away from Sugar Valley? In the late 1970s, Sugar Valley residents were forced to sue KCSD in federal court to keep a school in our community. After taxpayers’ funds were wasted, a federal judge ordered KCSD to pay the balance of our attorney fees and to keep the school open. This decision lasted until 1995 when Keystone Central closed the secondary portion of the old Sugar Valley Area School.

This is why SVCC has requested that KCSD and SVRCS agree to set up an Ad Hoc committee to work on agreements, compromises and recommendations so that taxpayers are not AGAIN charged with the burden of months of hearings, attorney fees and more. Working together cannot only build communication between Keystone Central and SVRCS but would improve both entities.

SVRCS is a good school, but obviously needs to be better.

Please, Keystone Central, work to improve this necessary part of Sugar Valley. Let’s not wipe out a public school that has had a 500% increase in student numbers since opening its doors 20 years ago.

I personally have been fighting for a school in Sugar Valley for 43 years AND I’M TIRED OF IT.

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