Stonycreek township addresses concerns after commissioners meeting
STONYCREEK- Stonycreek township commissioners addressed concerns Wednesday about students in its township moving to a new school district.
During a meeting Tuesday night, commissioners pitched the idea of sending Stonycreek township students to Richland Area School District instead of Johnstown.
Commission President Donald Hanak said it started when some residents in the township asked the board if it would be a possibility.
Hanak said they wanted to open the topic up during the meeting with the intent of answering residents questions.
"We are only the in the information gathering stage here," said Hanak.
Hanak told 6 News some residents believe changing districts would lower taxes, increase property values and possibly even give them a better education.
Hanak said there's still a lot of different moving pieces to consider and has no idea if the change would even be possible.
"We have no more room for students," said Arnold Nadonely, Richland School District superintendent.
Nadonely said the district's elementary school is at full capacity, with enrollment expected to go up by 2022, according to projections by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Nadonely said it's projected to go up by 125 students between 2022-2025.
"When you move your students to a different district, then let's say in the fall, you're in the district and it would happen to raise millage. Are they going to move back?" said Nadonely. "You can't have it both ways and you can't keep moving around because you'll never be able to manage a district that way. I don't think the Legislature would allow such things and I think they've looked at this in other parts of the state, so we have to be realistic here."
Greater Johnstown School District also released a statement about the commission meeting.
"A number of the issues brought up by the township commissioner in the Tribune Democrat article are
societal issues and challenges which the entire area face. As a public school, we accept all students and
we are proud of our area leaders who are working to improve the community for all citizens. A stronger
community will equate to stronger schools."
The district also commented on the discussion about property taxes and values.
"The township commissioner made erroneous remarks about the District millage rate. For nearly two
decades, the District has not increased the millage rate and have kept that a high value. Last year was
the first time the District slightly increased the millage rate. In fact, they are slightly lower than the
Richland School District."
You can read the full statement here.
Both districts said they're open to discuss things further with Stonycreek township.