Lakeland Considers Changes to Elementary Schools

SCOTT TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- The Lakeland School District is looking at reconfiguring its school buildings.

The district in Lackawanna County has two elementary schools, one in Mayfield, and one next to the high school near Montdale.

Under this plan, all students would attend both elementary schools at different stages in the educational career.

The Lakeland School Board is mulling over the idea of moving all of the district's youngest students, grades kindergarten through second grade to its Mayfield campus and all of its third grade through sixth grade students to the elementary school in Scott Township.

"It seems like it's worked out really well in other school districts. Our board is really interested in pursuing this," said Lakeland School District Superintendent Bill King.

King says the changes would help teachers coordinate curriculum and would mean students stay together as a class from kindergarten on.

"Socially and emotionally, they'll develop those bonds and relationships and friendships, that will really last for 13 years."

That's why some parents, including John Bohlig of Greenfield Township, support the plan.

"When I went to school, you had the seventh grade orientation, you got to meet everybody. It would have been better if we went the whole way through," said Bohlig.

One of the big unknowns of this plan is the cost. The school district doesn't know if it will save money or cost more. It will all come down to transportation.

"With this new reconfiguration, it looks like everybody is going to be bussed. Well, everyone will have the opportunity to be bussed in this new scenario, so there may possibly be an increase in bussing costs or there may not be. We're still in the early stages of trying to figure that out right now," King said.

The two elementary schools are about five miles apart. Some parents fear that bus rides for some students may be too long.

Lakeland PTA President Amy Gretzula says, so far, the plan is getting mixed reviews.

"Parents see the difference, with all the kindergarten in one school, not two different schools, and keeping the grades up. And other parents are worried about the bus. They're worried about their children being on the bus too long, so it's a split right now," Gretzula said.

Parents are planning to discuss the reconfiguration plan at a school board meeting at Lakeland High School Wednesday night.

Administrators say they're considering all the opinions and likely won't make an official vote until the spring.

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