ShareThis Page

Amid financial crisis, Highlands must keep public informed

| Tuesday, May 15, 2018, 12:06 p.m.

Can someone please crack open the door at the Highlands School District board meetings?

A financial crisis is looming at Highlands, but taxpayers are inexplicably in the dark as to what exactly is going on.

At a Monday night meeting, we heard ominous predictions about the future. We heard words like bankruptcy, layoffs, consolidation and tax hikes.

What's going on at Highlands?

The district's proposed budget for the 2018-19 school year shows a $6.2 million deficit and, seemingly out of nowhere, school board members voted to borrow up to $11.5 million.

No doubt the district needs to act and act fast.

But must it do so under a veil of secrecy?

Also on Monday, officials revealed a reconfiguration plan that would consolidate elementary school students into one building.

But how did this plan come about? When and where was it discussed? And why were Joe and Mary Taxpayer not informed about it?

Other districts have closed and/or consolidated buildings. Allegheny Valley School District is the most recent. Kiski Area did it a few years ago.

But those districts took steps to keep the taxpayers informed. Studies were done and reported to the public. Meetings were held.

Public input was sought.

What does Highlands have to hide? On what studies are district officials relying for this reconfiguration plan?

The lack of transparency is fueling rumors about school closures, most notably the potential closing of Fawn Primary Center.

Parents have reason to be alarmed.

When Heights Elementary was rumored to be facing closure, the shutdown didn't happen right away. First came the rumors, then the denials. Then the closure.

Could the same fate be in store for Fawn Primary Center?

Taxpayers not only have a right to know, they have a right to be part of the discussion.

So do the right thing and open up your meetings, Highlands.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.

click me