Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
L-S would keep school building BY CINDY HUMMEL, Correspondent
Residents concerned with the fate of Strasburg Elementary learned recently that Lampeter-Straburg officials will keep the building if they decide to close the school.
The possible closing of the school was the focus of continued discussion on Jan. 22, two weeks after a public hearing that drew about 40 residents.
School board members reflected on comments they heard Jan. 8 and offered additional thoughts on the process, which could lead to a decision as early as April.
School board members said last week if the school closes they could possibly rent it out for an education-related purpose.
They said they did not see the wisdom in redoing the inside of the structure for another purpose. If enrollment begins to rise again, the district wants to be able to re-open the building as a school.
If the school closes, its students would be sent to Lampeter Elementary.
Board member Melissa Herr said speakers at the Jan. 8 hearing seemed more concerned about what would happen to the building at 114 W. Franklin St. than about the school closing.
The earliest a decision could be made, by law, is April 9. The first regular board meeting following that date will be on April 15.
Rising costs, lower revenue and limits on how much taxes could be raised through Act 1 led the board to consider the move to close the school. Also, board chairman James Byrnes said, the school is only at about half capacity.
Byrnes said that if Strasburg Township would ever get public water and sewer service, the district could see an increased enrollment. Keeping the building would give the school district somewhere to place students if enrollment did increase.
Business manager Terry Sweigart said the district would save about $184,447 if the building is closed. About $289,237 could be saved if the district rents the structure.
In other news, the board accepted a tuition student who is already in an L-S special-education classroom. Superintendent Kevin Peart said the student's family, currently residing in the L-S district, planned to move to another district, but would like the student to remain in the class.
The cost will be $16,800, pro-rated, for the portion of the year the family lives in the new district.
The board also approved a letter of intent to continue a wide-area Internet connection service through an Intermediate Unit contract with Comcast. The yearly cost would be $26,000, down slightly from the current annual fee.
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