District’s enrollment numbers go down

BLOSSBURG – Updated enrollment numbers were presented to the Southern Tioga School District board of directors during a work session Monday night.

As of Monday, Superintendent Keith Yarger announced that the district has 1,816 students, – down from the last numbers available, third day enrollment figures of 1,822.

According to Yarger, Blossburg Elementary School has 312, Liberty Elementary School has 202, Miller Elementary School has 462, Liberty High School has 208, Mansfield High School has 389 and North Penn High School, 243.

Yarger also reported in response to a question from Liberty resident Harry Gerrish about why more than 100 students left the district this year and about 50 percent said they were unhappy with the district’s school consolidation plans.

“We found that most of the students who left in Mansfield or Blossburg left to follow jobs. In Liberty, there are some who left for that reason and also about 50 percent who were unhappy with consolidation considerations,” Yarger said.

The board also heard that a drug awareness presentation will be held Thursday night at Mansfield High School starting at 6:30 p.m., and the community was urged to attend in light of what one board member called a “real drug problem in Tioga County.”

High school Principal William David coordinated with County Detective Scott Henry to organize the event, which will include a panel of criminal justice, law enforcement and drug counseling professionals who will discuss the current state of affairs in the county regarding drug abuse.

David told the Southern Tioga School District board of directors the idea is to get updated information out there on the ever changing array of drugs coming into the county and the hands of youth, through presentations by Judge Robert E, Dalton Jr., District Attorney George Wheeler, two state troopers, Mansfield borough police and a drug and alcohol counselor from Harbor Counseling.

Jacqueline Smith, of Blossburg, applauded the district for organizing the event.

“They have now taken a candy that looks and tastes like Pop Rocks and made it into a drug,” she said.

Drug use has increased in Tioga County and the I-99 corridor is now a major drug run from Philadelphia to Rochester, N.Y., she added.

In other business, the board heard from Yarger about reducing the number of community service hours required to complete a graduation project from 80 to 40 to bring the district more in line with other districts, some of which only require 20.

Gerrish asked why the district has to “bring itself down” to the level of other districts, when the hours were helping community members who might not get help otherwise.

Jim Kreger, of Morris Township, said, as president of the Morris Fire Department, that several large fundraisers are held each year and help is needed, so there would be no problem getting those hours in for students needing hours.

The board also:

Discussed its nepotism policy in hiring practices in a second reading of the policy.

Heard from Yarger that the project to secure all entrances to the district’s school buildings has hit a bit of a snag in that no bonded bids came in due to the “small size of the project,” so architect Sam Scarantino was checking with the state Department of Education to see if he can legally reach out to contractors for bids.

Heard that there was a changeover in the online school meal payment system recently that not all parents heard about.

Heard about Core Six, a collaborative effort between several district teachers and the Endless Mountain Writing Project, who attended a summer program based around the textbook, Core 6, which teaches districts how to incorporate the new PA Common Core standards.

The next meeting of the board will be a public hearing to close a school at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at North Penn High School auditorium.