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Jersey Shore School Board discusses 2 debt alleviating options

JERSEY SHORE — Two options that have been researched by the administration of the Jersey Shore Area School District to help chip away at some of the persistent budget issues that has followed it from the last school year were introduced at the board meeting Monday night.

Jill Wenrich, district superintendent, detailed a possible solution that would be achieved by selling the administration building and moving the offices housed there to various buildings in the district. She cautioned that it would mean a decentralization of the materials in the building and the need to construct a pole building for materials currently stored in a warehouse.

She introduced the possible solution because she wanted school board input on whether to proceed.

“I wanted to report to the board what we have found as we have begun our research on the selling of the administration building and I’m going to need some direction,” she said.

It was reported that the operational costs for the administration building were about $54,000 and by selling the building, it would be returned to the tax rolls where it was estimated if the building was sold for $1 million, the tax assessed would be $17,000.

Following a discussion of the feasibility of this plan, the board members each stated where they stood, with four in favor and four against moving the plan forward.

Board member Merrill Switzer, who was against the plan, said, “I wish we would stop talking about moving out of this building. It’s the perfect set-up as far as I am concerned.”

Assistant Superintendent Ken Dady Jr. offered another solution, titled “Consolidation of Buildings Movement Plan,” which involved closing two schools and reconfiguring the remaining schools. Under this plan, kindergarten through third grade would be in the elementary school, fourth through seventh grades would be in the middle school and eighth through twelfth would be in the high school.

The two outlying schools, at Avis and Salladasburg would be closed and sold. The timeline set out would have the plan completed by the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year. Board member Mary Thomas urged the board to stop and think a little before moving forward with any plan.

“I think we need to think a little more and think outside the box,” she said. “I feel we’re not being fair to our students or fair to our taxpayers to make premature decisions without looking at the overall picture of what the future of this district should be.”

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