City approves 5-mill increase
SCRANTON—Scranton City Council member Randy Ming expressed discontent at recent movement of students between buildings in the USD 434 Santa Fe Trail school district.
The district recently moved elementary students from the Scranton Attendance Center to the buildings in Carbondale and Overbrook. The USD 434 Board of Education moved its administrative offices from Santa Fe Trail High School and opened a district-wide pre-school program, both of which are housed at SAC.
“Does the city have the ability to vote itself out of a school district into another district that would be in favor of accepting them?” asked Ming. “I think it’s about time the citizens of Scranton demonstrate a little bit of power of whether or not they are really included in this district or not. If the present district is going to keep treating this community’s citizens like trash, then I think it’s time we find a district that is going to treat us more respectable and favorable for our kids. Sometimes, I wonder if we are still in the United States of America. We do not have any say where our kids can and cannot go to school.”
Todd Luckman, city attorney, responded to Ming’s concerns.
“There are a couple of statues that refer to the closing of school buildings that relates to change of district boundaries,” Ming said. “I would have to research this more for you.”
“Is this something I can do myself,” said Ming. “I can call the state board of education, is that where you would start as a private citizen to get some answers?”
“I’m going off limited experience here,” said Luckman, “My thinking is the boundaries that have been created have been made by the state, which means the cities do not necessarily have the power on their own to monitor or make decisions on boundaries for school districts.”
“I understand, but this governing body here doesn’t have a say in what determines boundaries for our school district,” Ming said. “I would think the citizens would have some kind of recourse to vote themselves as what they believe constitutes right for their children as far as a school district. As American citizens, we should have the right to say what district their community can be in.”
“And again, the answer…,” Luckman said, interrupted by Ming.
“I’m not going to like the answer,” Ming said.
“The answer would be that your state representative needs to know your concerns and they have the power to make changes for you,” Luckman said. “You just have to let them be aware of situations you are or are not in favor of. When you are talking about modifying districts, you need to start with your legislators.”
The council opened the meeting with a budget hearing for the 2017 budget, which includes a 5-mill increase. The $1,555,330 budget passed unanimously.
In other business, the council:
• approved the maintenance department to purchase two batteries for the maintainer at $213.95 each. The council also approved the department to purchase a back window for the backhoe for $221.70. The window was broken from a tree limb.
• approved Ordinance 655 for increase of monthly water and sewer rates for city residents. Base rates are now $40 for the first 1,000 in city and $45 outside the city; and sewer rates have increase to $45 for the first 1,000 gallons for commercial and residential users.
• heard from Tim Nedeau, council member, about the baseball marathon. Nadeau reported a terrific event and that things ran very smoothly.
• considered amending city ordinance pertaining to sediment traps at businesses. Carl Wall, business owner in Scranton, requested a revision on the ordinance for his business. Luckman said he would examine the ordinance.
• was informed by Rella Morgan, Scranton resident, that the light for the flag was not functioning. She requested it to be fixed.