Not a single member of the community spoke in front of four members of the East Allen County Schools board Monday evening during a meeting to hear from residents of Adams Township, or the New Haven and Harding attendance areas, about why they voted against a recent referendum.
The district proposed an $89 million referendum that voters disapproved in the May primary election. The amount included a renovated New Haven Intermediate School at the current site of Park Hill Learning Center, additions at New Haven High School to accommodate seventh- and eighth-graders and renovations at the former Harding High School to create East Allen University.
The changes were a portion of the district's redesign plan that consolidated schools and created five feeder systems in the distrit's five communities. The Woodlan and Heritage K-12 projects are moving forward. Both those projects were under $12 million, so they didn't require a referendum vote, but were approved through a remonstrance process.
Green said the district's goal is to speak with as many people as possible over the next few months. Monday was the first of three community meetings to hear input from residents about what they would pay for in the area.
But most of those that attended the meeting were EACS employees or school board candidates.
Green said the district needs to find new avenues to connect with people.
"Somehow we've got to get interest in what we're doing," she said.
Most of the referendum was for required maintenance the district can't afford to perform because of cuts to its capital projects fund, the fund that pays for building maintenance and upkeep.
Doug Roemer, EACS director of facilities, said with or without community support of grade configurations at the schools or new construction, "we have serious issues that need to be addressed soon," he said.
The most critical upgrades are needed at New Haven High School, Paul Harding Junior High, Park Hill Learning Center and what the district calls building 64, another building that used to be connected to New Haven Middle School that is still in use.
All of the buildings require upgrades for handicap accessibility and mechanical and electrical system improvements. Masonry, roof replacements and fire alarm system upgrades are other needed upgrades.
The next meetings will be at 7 p.m. on Oct. 1 at New Haven High School and at noon on Oct. 6 at Paul Harding Junior High School. Tours of the facilities will be available an hour prior to the meeting time.