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Wed, Oct 07, 2015

Could a WA & PA merger be on the horizon?

Could a WA & PA merger be on the horizon?

Yorina & Sciandra
“This is a big ship and you have to go into deep waters.”
   Those were then candidate, now sitting board member, Charlie Sciandra’s words on the campaign trail.
   With that, come big ideas and deep waters.
   Those “deep waters” just might be crossing the Susquehanna River.
   As both sides of the river know too well, Wyoming and Pittston Area School Districts are facing huge budget shortfalls.
   With a shrinking tax base coupled with a teachers’ contract staring both boards down, drastic times need drastic measures.
   One of those measures Sciandra has mentioned in passing is the possibility of merging Wyoming and Pittston Area to make one school district.
   This absolutely makes sense for so many reasons – logistically, financially, contracts, support staff, duplicative services, busing, facilities ,,, the list goes on and on.
   Before you get yourself in a tizzy about sports, no need to worry, just look at what Wilkes Barre does.  They have three separate entities to separate this - GAR, Coughlin and Myers.
   This could be the same model.  Pittston Area would continue to have their own football, softball, baseball….programs as would Wyoming Area.
   The biggest stumbling block in deep waters like this is egos, power and politics.  
   Will either side of the river be willing to share the power?  Good question.
   This needs to be explored.  Obviously they did years ago with the two mergers.
   My thought is to form a study commission of 12.  Have one appointed member of each board along with ten elected – five from each side of the river.
   Two people come to mind from the districts are Charlie Sciandra and Carl Yorina.
   Sciandra knows how to put big deals together considering his business background. .  And, Yorina clearly is the only one who understands the logistics of a move like this - from buildings and grounds to transportation.
   Of course, both superintendents should be on the board.  Neither should have a vote though.
   Let's hear your thoughts below.

Member Opinions:
By: Jay on 1/28/12
Is this what our former Gov. wanted when he wanted to reduce the school districts??????????

By: BibleB on 1/28/12
Charlie Sciandra has hit the nail on the head. I stated on WILK TALK RADIO there are over 500 School Districts in the state of Pennsylvania snd should be consolidated to One School District in a County--something like in the state of Virginia. Fiscal integrity is of extreme important. School Teachers and Maintainence Staffs would not be affected--only Administrators. I believe I have brought this up at a Pittston Area School Board Meeting. Kudos for Charlie Sciandra. Good Education--Honesty Integrity and Fiscal Integrity should be the objective--(Proverbs 11:14) states, Where there is no guidance a people falls. Remember that positive attitudes determine one altitude. Charlie Sciandra wants to fly with the eagles, not walk with the turkeys.

By: koboyle1 on 1/28/12
Very interesting in concept - choose to reduce support services and overhead spend rather than cut into the core of the operations by reducing teachers and increasing classroom sizes. Seems like an obvious, common sense solution.

Large public companies do it all the time - small non-profits and educational institutions don't fair so well...

By: ExeterTownship on 1/28/12
Why it does make sense, it is driven out of necessity because we had "politicians" not business minded board members running things wayyyyyyy tooooooo long. When are they going to realize that sometimes mergers or consolidations don't work for the benefit of those in need, the students. If you look at the main reason, it is to reduce debt! Why didn't the board members realize this 10 years ago and begin to make changes then? Everyone knows why, the going was way too good and the excess cash flow was flowing. And by the way, maybe someone will be able to get their hands on the preliminary study of closing the Sarah J. Dymond School, or are they trying to dodge the real issue again?

By: LilyODavalley on 1/29/12
Certainly the lure of potential savings is strong. The reality, however, is that the jointure will end up being a financially strapped mega-district with one superintendent, one central office, and 5,000 students. Why? Because the tough decisions - salaries, benefits, class size, pensions - still won't be made locally or in Harrisburg. And Joe, I wouldn't be too quick to use WB Area as an example. They have three high schools but all are old, half empty, not meeting AYP, and their taxpayers have high taxes with nothing to show for it. Pittston and WA can succeed individually the egos, politics, and patronage is set aside. After all, didn't all these board members campaign "for the children"?

By: 4HonestGov on 1/29/12
Great idea! The problem will certainly be the politics. As long you can keep the political egos off that "big ship" this could work. Otherwise, its doomed like the Titanic.

By: Eye-in-the-sky on 1/30/12
Anyone who thinks this move would save money and cut down on the bureaucracy was probably in favor of Home Rule in Luzerne County. The only thing that this will do is create a huge political quagmire that will result in out of control politics and will add a dozen administrative positions. When will people learn that big when it comes to government is never a good thing?

By: FrankShab on 1/30/12
My opinion? This talk of an across the river merger is sleight of hand to keep the public's eye off the $50 million plus Pittston Area debt.
People don't be preoccupied with this distraction. The PA debt is not going away. The board needs constant prodding not to lose focus on the debt nor should we stiffs who are ultimately paying the bills lose focus.
The board wants to keep any and all attention off this $50 million debt.
Taxpayers strap on your seat-belts.
Why? Contract(s) are coming up this fiscal year.
Yeah (apologies to Bible Buck) I guess I turned into a one-trick pony too.
My one trick is the PA debt.

Frank Shab
since 1951

By: PrideofWA on 1/30/12
...and the moon is made of cheese!!!!

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