BLOSSBURG - Though the crowd at North Penn High School wasn't as vocal as it was the first time the Southern Tioga School Board considered closing the school here, a few did speak out during the board's work session Monday.
The release of the governor's budget last month revealed that most school building projects in the state likely will not be funded, and that put a big damper on the planned $20 million renovation/reconstruction project here.
Three district residents spoke out in favor of continuing the project, two against, and one simply warned the board to be ready not to ever reopen if it did decide to close because it wouldn't be financially possible to do so.
Todd Berguson, who coaches basketball at the high school, presented the board with two petitions, one containing signatures of parents who say they will cyberschool their kids if North Penn closes. The other, he said, contained signatures of district residents who say they support the project even though they don't live in Blossburg or have kids in school.
He also suggested that if Liberty schools are the ones to close, as he heard was being considered, that board member Sue Jaquish should abstain from the vote to avoid a conflict of interest, because her husband Francis is the principal there.
One resident, a swim coach who said she wasn't from Tioga County, wondered how many attendees were even aware that there was a swim team in Tioga County. Only a few indicated they did.
Mary Kay Hawn, who identified herself as a Mansfield High School parent, said she came from a private school setting "where if we wanted to go to sports, our parents took us."
She went on to laud the devotion of the parents who come out and support the swim team, which is made up of "kids from all over the county."
"The parents are devoted, and as a volunteer coach I get nothing," she said, instead getting fulfillment from the "quality time" the swim families get from seeing their kids enjoying a sport they love.
"It doesn't matter that we don't know each other. We are looking out for each other's kids. How many of you parents participate and get behind the coach and help him?" she asked, referring to Berguson.
"We not only need the students to have a place, we need parents to be involved, too, and not just everyone standing here complaining," she said.
In building project related business, the board heard from Business Manager Laura Perry that the bids for the project came in at about $300,000 higher than the budget of $16.6 million, which she said was "right on target" for what was expected for construction costs.
Superintendent Keith Yarger told the crowd that a special meeting would be held following the regular school board meeting Monday at North Penn to present "several different scenarios" concerning the future of the schools.