Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
POTTSTOWN — An ambitious $3 million plan to repair sidewalks and install bike lanes throughout the town as part of an effort to establish “Safe Routes to Schools” was unveiled Monday before borough council.
The idea is to combine state transportation funding and seek funding from the Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation as a match to undertake the upgrades, which would include repairing numerous damaged borough sidewalks at no cost to property owners.
At the same time, said Pottstown School District Superintendent Jeff Sparagana, the district would seek to incorporate the idea of physical fitness into its curriculum and encourage students to walk or ride a bicycle to school and home again.
Sparagana offered up two towns, Naperville, Ill. and Titusville, Pa., where similar efforts were undertaken and have proven successful.
Pottstown isn’t the only school district in Pennsylvania with serious budget problems. Camp Hill, PA (suburban Harrisburg) is facing a possible 9.5% tax increase for the 2010-2011 school year. According to business manager Christine Hakes, there is little room for cost cutting. The budget reflects a 5.1% spending increase.
Like Pottstown SD, Camp Hill SD includes only Camp Hill Borough. The borough of Camp Hill has 7636 residents (2000 census) and the school district has 1150 students (per the district website). The district covers 2 square miles. The geographic area and student population is about 1/3 the size of PSD.
Camp Hill is a more affluent community with a median household income of $50,744 vs. Pottstown’s media household income is $35,785 per Wikipedia.
Over 90% of Camp Hill High School graduates pursue higher education and most residents are college educated according to the school district website.
Things are tough all over, even in communities with better demographics!