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Consolidation right move for West Leechburg

| Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017, 9:00 p.m.

The Pennsylvania Joint State Government Commission recently completed a 282-page report on school consolidations as required by the state Legislature ( jsg.legis.state.pa.us/ , pages 116-129 and 187-189). It rejected forced mergers and districts based on our 67 counties or intermediate units. Its conclusion was to simply make consolidation voluntary but provide state incentives.

It provided four case studies of school districts considering reorganization, including Leechburg Area School District (LASD), and moving West Leechburg Borough to the Kiski Area School District (KASD).

If West Leechburg dissolves the borough and becomes part of Allegheny Township, the report concludes, its students would attend KASD by default. The millage rate would decrease from 130 mills to 85 mills in KASD — a 35 percent drop in taxes.

If the borough wishes to remain intact, there is a simple five-step process to utilize, beginning with a petition to leave LASD and join KASD. In either case, educational intent must be proven. The report illustrates the wide disparity in test scores in favor of KASD. This, along with several other factors, would make proof easy.

LASD would still receive the same amount of state funding, negating the argument that the move would collapse LASD. For the West Leechburg mayor and council to do nothing, with LASD in September approving a $7.7 million bond issue (some for a track when LASD has no track team and a small walking track exists across the street at West Leechburg Park), is a dereliction of duty.

Tom Tarosky

West Leechburg

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