The Palmyra-Eagle Area School District will live on.
That’s after a state panel rejected an order from the Palmyra-Eagle Area School Board to dissolve the district.
The School District Boundary Appeal Board, a panel made up of school board members from around the state and the state superintendent’s designee, voted 6-1 to deny the dissolution at its meeting Thursday afternoon at the Palmyra-Eagle Middle School gymnasium.
The dissolution process officially started April 8, 2019, when the Palmyra-Eagle Area School Board approved a resolution to consider dissolution of the school district.
But the wheels started turning six days earlier when 61% of district voters rejected a four-year, $11.5 million operational referendum that district officials said was needed to keep the cash-strapped district running.
On July 1, the school board took the next step, ordering the district’s dissolution.
A non-binding advisory referendum on the dissolution, triggered by a community-led petition drive, was held Nov. 5, with 53% of voters saying they wanted to see the district dissolve.
This is another example of the arrogance of those in government. The people of the district voted down a referendum with the clear understanding that doing so meant that they would have to dissolve the district. Then the people voted in an advisory referendum to dissolve the district. The school board – elected by the people in the district – voted to dissolve the school district. In a brazen act of self-governance, the people could not have been more clear.
And yet, after all that, an unelected state board comprised of people who do not live in the district vote to keep the school district open.
We are going to see this again and again. Enrollment across the state is declining and it is sensible to consolidate school districts to adapt to those trends. But the push against it is coming from entrenched government bureaucracy that is more interested in maintaining the status quo than in managing taxpayer resources to provide the best education for the most kids.