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Letter to the editor: Plan to attend NASD meeting April 4

To the Editor:

By now, every single household in the Northampton Area School District received a notice that a special meeting will be held April 4 to discuss the future of Moore Elementary School. If you are surprised to hear this issue is still up in the air, you are not alone.

During the November 2023 election, every board member, including four longtime incumbents seeking reelection, promised to keep it open. So, what happened?

Five school board members on the current board deceived you. That includes Michael Baird and John Becker, who were reelected, and Ross Makary, Chuck Frantz (recently retired) and current board President Doug Vaughn.

The campaign fliers and signs, Halloween floats and straw votes were a sham. Kim Bretzik and the three newly elected board members Josh Harris, Brian McCulloch and Kristin Lorah-Soldridge are seeking ways to keep Moore Elementary open.

The problem taxpayers are facing is the former board majority was stubbornly in favor of building a 700-student education center on Route 329 and Seemsville Road for a whopping $75 million. They could not justify to the state why we needed to build a Taj Mahal based on enrollment.

“The expert, hired by the district to project future growth, stated that we lost 500 students in the past 10 years and projected we would lose 500 more in the next 10 years.”

Early in the discussion, NASD Superintendent Joe Kovalchik stated we could not afford to pay for the teachers and staff for five elementary schools.

Moore Township, neglected for 20 years, became the sacrificial lamb. Under the 1973 Act 34 Law, the board was required to justify the project. The former board claimed Moore could not remain open because of the state of its condition. That resolution remained in place during the entire time the board was promising voters it would keep Moore open.

At the very last lame duck meeting, just seven days after the election, the former board refused to table the matter for the new board, which would take office in three weeks. Instead, the board majority voted to award the bids for the million-dollar project. Many believe that since they promised to keep Moore open, it’s up to Baird, Becker, Frantz, Makary and Vaughn to keep Moore open.

As a side note, I am pleased to inform you students at Moore, as well as students at Northampton Area Middle School and Northampton Area High School, are now qualified to compete for statewide honors for the highly acclaimed nationwide Odyssey of the Mind competition. The program focuses on students’ use of logic, reasoning and creativity to solve problems.

Out of our four elementary schools, students of Moore have excelled. What an honor for them, the teachers and staff. How disappointing this excellent school is on the chopping block.

I urge you to attend the meeting.

Maggie Kemp

East Allen Township