Mechanicsburg plan to address school overcrowding on hold

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Cumberland County is one of the fastest growing areas in Pennsylvania. School districts are starting to feel the pinch, including Mechanicsburg.

Last month, the school board considered a proposal that would have the district go from five elementary schools to four. Tuesday night, the board voted 4-4 on the proposal, and the deciding vote was not cast by phone because members in attendance felt it was unfair to vote without hearing arguments and concerns in person.

Broad Street, North Side and Upper Allen would be home to grades one through three, and all fourth and fifth graders would attend Elmwood. These recommendations followed a study to help the district deal with the increase in student enrollment.

Supporters say the move would allow for a better learning environment and equal class sizes.

John Anthony said he would like the board to hold off on voting until they take a more in-depth look at the impact the proposal will have in the borough.

“We already have traffic problems,” Anthony said. “There are concerns about transportation costs, so the taxes are going to go up because the cost in busing is going to to up, and people who bought homes thinking their kids would be able to walk to school for the five years, that will be gone.”

Superintendent Dr. Mark Leidy says he understands the concerns, but he says the district can no longer continue to kick the can down the road.

“It is a big undertaking and we have involved the community along the way,” Leidy said. “We have a good plan on the table and hopefully at next month’s meeting we get an up or down vote on it.”

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