Coming This Week: A Special Report On Columbia’s Public Schools

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  I hope folks from the Pottstown School District follow this story.  It’s a smaller version of Pottstown with many of the same issues!

Columbia’s public schools will reopen in late August, reverberating again with the clamor of children.

But overshadowing the back-to-school routine will be difficult questions.

Columbia is a tiny, high-poverty school district struggling to prepare kids for our fast-changing, technology-driven world.

The single-municipality district has the weakest tax base in Lancaster County and the second-highest proportion of needy children. Its taxes are the county’s highest and salaries the lowest. It has too many dropouts. Test scores are abysmal.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/coming-this-week-a-special-report-on-columbia-s-public/article_a2e62f5a-faf3-11e3-83c4-001a4bcf6878.html

Data Shows 44% Of Luzerne County Spans Are Deficient Or Obsolete

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In advance of a press conference set for this afternoon in Scranton, U.S. Sen. Robert Casey, D-Scranton, released a county by county list of bridges deemed structurally deficient or functionally obsolete throughout Pennsylvania, and while Luzerne County isn’t the worst of the bunch, it’s deep in the bottom half.

The list shows Luzerne County has 441 bridges, with 121 of them structurally deficient and another 75 functionally obsolete. Combined, that means 44 percent of all bridges are sub par.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1368282/Data-shows-44–of-Luzerne-County-spans-are-deficient-or-obsolete

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Berks County Faces 10 Year Backlog Of Maintenance Projects

Some cheery news from Berks County this morning involving the economy.  Berks County does not have the financial resources to make the necessary repairs on roads and bridges etc… due to a lack of funds.  They need money from the state but we all know that Pennsylvania has a $1 billion dollar shortfall of revenue, year to date.  The recent defeat to make Interstate 80 a toll road has dashed hopes for funding.

I think we are taxed enough.  The part of Pennsylvania Interstate 80 runs through is already economically depressed so adding a further burden on those folks to pay for Berks County highways is not the answer.

Berks County has 107 structurally deficient bridges and 402 miles of roadway that need repaired.  At current funding levels these projects will take 10 years to complete.

Suggestions range from fees for video lottery to public-private partnerships to raise the needed money.