Con­sol­i­da­tion is a very bad idea

The Citizens' Voice - - EDITORIAL -

Ed­i­tor: In a flurry of fluff jour­nal­ism, we all learned the col­ors and nick­name of the non-ex­is­tent Wilkes-barre Area High School which pur­port­edly will bind stu­dent com­peti­tors in the next aca­demic year.

I use the term aca­demic to re­mind all that res­i­dents, stu­dents and the district lead­er­ship should be act­ing in an aca­demics-first man­ner. The ap­petite for 6A foot­ball is black and blue cam­ou­flage for the aca­demic de­te­ri­o­ra­tion and in­creased op­er­at­ing costs that al­most uni­formly fol­low con­sol­i­da­tion. That’s why con­sol­i­da­tion has not been sug­gested in a ma­jor ar­ti­cle in 40 years. The district lead­er­ship thinks if we are all di­verted with col­ors and mas­cots they will have won tacit ac­cep­tance of their stum­bling and waste­ful path to aca­demic con­sol­i­da­tion.

While all of that may seem like tired old (but deadly ac­cu­rate) claims against an un­stop­pable march, what about the build­ing site? For­get for a sec­ond the bus­ing, lack of in­fra­struc­ture and ac­cess road. For­get the ex­or­bi­tant land price the district will pay Pag­notti En­ter­prises. For­get noise pol­lu­tion from the Cross Val­ley, a big bill from PENNDOT and aban­doned Wilkes-barre neigh­bor­hoods.

Why in the name of heaven, though, would you build on a site re­tain­ing coal ash and where the soil is con­tam­i­nated by ar­senic and cad­mium? Our il­lus­tri­ous school board ma­jor­ity loves to say they must merge to avoid kick­ing the fa­cil­ity can down the road. Well, they have po­ten­tially kicked the stu­dents down a road to learn­ing dis­or­ders, kid­ney disease, asthma, and can­cer among oth­ers. While no such dis­or­der is a cer­tainty, this site has that po­ten­tial, enough so that a num­ber of states have banned school con­struc­tion with these toxin lev­els. Our com­mu­nity must in­sist on the same level of safety. This is an ap­palling pub­lic health haz­ard com­pound­ing a patho­logic aca­demic de­ci­sion. Mark Schiowitz, MD Wilkes-barre

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.