About 130 attended tonight’s (March 19) final town hall concerning the fate of Springfield High School. The event was held in the high school auditorium.
Four proposals are on the table: maintain the existing school on Leamy Avenue for an estimated cost of $100.39 million; build a new one behind Saint Francis Church on Saxer Avenue for $131 million; renovate the existing school for $133.8 million; and build a school on Leamy Avenue alongside the existing one for $136.4 million.
The crowd seemed overwhelming in favor of the least expensive route. We counted 19 audience comments that either supported the “maintenance plan” or were an exhortation not to raise taxes — including one fellow who suggested a cyber school. Well, that would be less than $136.4 million.
Four persons spoke in favor of a new school and five asked generally neutral questions.
The number and passion were on the side of the low taxes.
“If one person was forced out of home, how could you sleep at night,” one man told the school district’s representatives — school directors Chris DeSantis and Bruce Lord, and Donald Mooney, the district’s Director of Operations.
Another said that 30 percent of Springfield is over the age of 60. Another expressed skepticism of the district’s figures claiming that recent renovations of Haverford and Marple Newtown high schools were less than two-thirds that of what is being estimated for maintenance of SHS.
More than one person expressed fear of being forced from his or her home because of taxes.
Bruce Lord presented a timeline of what comes next to start the meeting. He said the board and facilities will meet; the committee will present the Town Hall findings to the board, and then the board will begin project implementation. which means the board begins discussions with the township, which must approve all construction, then get a building designed then submit bids for construction. He said the process will take years, not months.
Mooney squelched a few rumors flying around the community. He said the district is not going to acquire the Saint Francis property and that there will be no teacher layoffs to help fund the school.
Springfield Cyber School?