Mon City council meeting evolves into Ringgold building discussion
MONONGAHELA – City council's meeting Wednesday nearly turned into a Ringgold School Board meeting.
City officials implored Ringgold directors to reopen the “community schools” – Monongahela and Donora elementary centers.
However, Ringgold board President Mary Ann Bulko said it's a “done deal” that the district will instead build a middle school on the Carroll Township campus where the high school is located.
School directors Chuck and Bob Smith along with Bulko took turns debating the merits of renovating the two former elementary centers to house grades five through eight as opposed to building a middle school. Director Gene Kennedy also attended, but did not speak.
Councilman Tom Caudill, who served as principal of both elementary buildings at varying times during his long tenure with Ringgold, said city officials want MEC to be reopened.
Chuck Smith described the closing of community schools as the “downfall of the Ringgold School District.” He said the Mt. Lebanon School District's high test scores can be attributed to “environmental factors.”
“The one thing Mt. Lebanon did was keep their community schools,” Chuck Smith said. “We got away from our community schools.”
Chuck Smith called the planned middle school “a big box school.”
Caudill encouraged the school board to renovate existing buildings, saying taxpayers cannot afford for the district to build new structures.
Councilman Ken Kulak said that, culturally, the best solution is to reopen MEC and DEC.
But Bulko said the board has voted, and the issue has been decided.
“The time for this rhetoric and this fight was when they were closed,” Bulko said of the former elementary centers.
Bulko said MEC and DEC have serious issues that would require the structures to be gutted.
“To me, as an architect, at the end of the day you have this wonderful shell,” Kulak said.
Bulko said she attended the Monongahela meeting hoping for support from city officials. She finally invited them to attend the school board's facilities committee meeting Monday night.
“The bottom line is this board voted to build and that's the direction were going in,” Bulko said. “The people said make a decision and do it. They could not stand being in limbo.”
Bulko said district officials are seeking public or private interest in the MEC and DEC buildings as a way to put them back on the tax rolls.
Bob Smith encouraged the board to delay moving forward with construction until after the school board elections are held this year.
Those elections would serve as a referendum on the buildings issue, with the voters having the last say, Bob Smith said.
“This council urges you to reopen MEC and DEC,” Caudill said.
“It's already over,” Bulko replied.
Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 2 charged in Charleroi drug, gun find case
- Convocation center booze battle rages on for California and Cal U
- Ringgold agrees to stay under Pa. tax limit
- West Newton foster father faces child sex charges
- Barking dog gripe leads to historic Charleroi drug stash
- Trio arrested by Monessen police on drug charges
- Trials ordered for 2 charged in Monongahela mugging case
- Rostraver seeks big bucks from gas service co.
- News was plentiful in pre-holiday rush of December 1957
- Monessen OKs 2015 budget with no tax hike
- Washington Township man faces trial in home invasion