Start of School Delayed at Mid Valley

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THROOP -- Parents and students in the Mid Valley School District in Lackawanna County found out this week that they'll have another week of summer vacation.

The school year was already delayed because of a construction project at the elementary school.

Now, the kids are being kept out of class til mid-September.

Construction crews have been working on renovations and an addition to the Mid Valley Elementary Center in Throop all summer. School officials said the projects gone much slower than expected.

Therefore, the start of school's been pushed back now a second time for not just elementary students, but all 2,000 or so students in the district.

Less than a week away from what would typically be the first day of school in the Mid Valley School District, the new addition on the elementary center in still without windows and a few other things that are needed to open the building to students.

School officials said they've decided to delay the start of school until September 17, and since they said it would be too expensive to bus only half the students, the whole district will get off to a late start.

"You really feel bad for the kids and the parents. You're asking parents to continuously change their lives," said Mid Valley school board president Gerald Luchansky.

Luchansky showed Newswatch 16 the "punch list" of jobs that still need to be finished at the elementary center. A longer list than he had hoped for this time in the summer.

"We have just been told different information all the time. We start off with we're told that we can have the place ready by Labor Day, that never happened. Then we're told by the 10th, that never happened," added Luchansky.

Despite all the construction, there aren't too many changes to the school year schedule. Schedules are available to parents on the district web site. All the holiday breaks are intact, but students won't get out of school until the third week of June next year.

Some after school programs in the Mid Valley are already underway, even though school is not.

The Dickson City Civic Center runs an after school program for Mid Valley students. This time of the year, the civic center is usually taking students before school and for three hours after school. Because of the delay, the civic center changed it's schedule to help out working parents.

"We've redone lesson plans, we've extended our summer camp program so we can accommodate the kids all day long instead of just before and after school," said director Rebecca Flannery.

"I don't think it really affects the older kids as much as the younger kids. The younger kids get itchy to get back, the older kids I think they enjoy the extra week off," added parent Lori Walsh.

School officials said they are very happy about the quality of work at the elementary center, just disappointed with the timing.

Superintendent Randy Parry said he was able to keep holidays in the schedule by cutting out some snow days and teacher in-service days.