Letter to the editor: Franklin Regional’s, Penn Hills’ poor choices
A recent Trib editorial suggests, “DeLuca plan too late for Penn Hills, not for other districts” (April 19, TribLIVE). So where have Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, and Sen. Jay Costa, D-Forest Hills, been over the last decade?
In 2009, I spoke at a Penn Hills School Board meeting and cited the Department of Education statistic that student enrollment had declined in eight of the last 10 years. Collectively, it dropped by 28.55%. School boards ignoring statistics on enrollment is as problematic as ignoring the will of the taxpayers. Two new schools were built anyway, and the “I told you so” does not provide us with consolation.
Costa responded by securing a $2 million grant to help bail out the school district’s poor choices at the expense of the Pennsylvania taxpayers.
DeLuca authors reactionary legislation to prevent boondoggles from being built again. Yet, former Rep. Jeffrey Habay crafted similar legislation to prevent the extravagant construction of the Taj Mahals and sports coliseums from being built years ago. That legislation has faded into history.
With no end to rising school taxes, I left Penn Hills last year. The grand jury report suggests it was a good decision, with compounded tax hikes that lead to devaluing property values.
In 2019, the Franklin Regional School District is seeking a similar path for school construction despite DOE statistics pointing to a decline in enrollment by 8%. This trend follows the latest census report illustrating Westmoreland County’s population decrease is the largest in Pennsylvania.
So will DeLuca’s legislation prevent Franklin Regional School District from doing the same or will history repeat itself?
Gary J. English