MANSFIELD - The Southern Tioga School Board voted Monday to create a consolidated high school as "expeditiously" as possible.
The board voted unanimously to make the creation of a centralized school a goal, but did not say where such a school would be located or when it might happen.
Kyle Lefheloc, chairman of the long range planning committee which made the recommendation to the board to have the centralized high school, said the board "needs to have a plan."
With that in mind, Jackson Township resident Harry Gerrish said if the board goes ahead with its plans to make Liberty High School an elementary school, it "could wind up being a waste of time because now there might be two K-8s and one high school."
Others in attendance, including Sean Bartlett, of Richmond Township, and Steve Guilliaume, said the board needs to "figure out how we are getting there" if they plan to create a centralized high school.
Guilliaume also suggest not "getting rid of the locker rooms" at Liberty High School if they plan on making the school a junior high school a few years down the road.
John Ritter, of Sullivan Township, told the board that if the plan is to create a centralized high school "it makes zero sense to spend capital on new buildings until you have that long range plan in place," speaking about the ongoing North Penn building project and potential plans to close Blossburg Elementary School in the fall.
Blossburg parents and grandparents expressed concern about closing the elementary school, as did Liberty High School history and political science teacher Mike Munford who told the board the elementary school should be kept open, and North Penn High School should be temporarily closed.
"I am really concerned, students are talking charter school, a lot of kids are going to cyber-school. That is going to cost the district a lot of money," he said.
Liberty Township resident Jim Kreger asked the board along those lines what they plan on doing "when Liberty pulls out?"
District Superintendent Keith Yarger responded "when that happens we will have to close down more buildings."
Kreger replied "I wouldn't go tearing apart a high school building when you don't know if you will be needing it. Spend the money on Blossburg Elementary School when the kids aren't there this summer instead."
The board also agreed in a straw poll to put off rebranding until after input can be received from Mansfield High School students.
A special board meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. April 29 for review and action on a food service management company proposal from Nutrition Inc.
A special board meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. May 6 just prior to the board's regular work session at North Penn High School auditorium to vote on the closure of Blossburg Elementary School.
For information on meetings and agendas, visit the district's website at www.southerntioga.org.