Bad boundaries are hampering county school efficiency

If all the students in Warren County attended the closest high school to where they live, Youngsville would be, or close to or be the largest school in the county.

Around 50 years ago the Warren School District had no choice but to change the boundary lines — let’s call the lines walls — to send Youngsville students to another high school because Pittsfield Elementary was maxed out. In the last 50 years Warren County has lost around 50% of its students. Would it be reasonable to evaluate school boundaries every half century considering such a dramatic change in the district numbers? Let’s look at the number and only the numbers of traveling distances boundary line (walls) around Youngsville.

There are students living within 3.5 miles or 4 minutes — of the cut off line wall on Route 62 — of Youngsville that go to Warren High School. Four minutes to Youngsville vs. 21 minutes to Warren HS. YHS to the cut off wall on Route 27 Matthews run is 4.2 miles or seven minutes. Those students are bussed 22 minutes to Eisenhower High School. Seven minutes to Youngsville vs. 22 minutes to Eisenhower.

Let’s go a different direction. YHS to Brown Hill cut off wall is 4.4 miles or eight minutes. From Youngsville, those studnets are bussed 19 minutes the other direction to Eisenhower — eight vs. 19 minutes.

Let’s go another direction? Youngsville to 3 point Wrightsville cut off line wall is 9.2 miles or 14 minutes. Those are bussed 27 minutes to Eisenhower high school — 14 minutes vs. 27 minutes. The first 3 comparisons from Youngsville High School is 3.5, 4.2, 4.4 miles from Youngsville. There are ridiculously close walls around Youngsville going in almost every direction.

Let’s use an equal distance (walls that Youngsville now has) and apply those same walls to other schools for comparisons. Warren High wall 1 would be 4 minutes away from Warren High School so that wall would be at Beaty Middle School. Yes, so any student living beyond Beaty would be going to Youngsville as it is now. Wall 2 would be seven minutes away from WHS to Big Joe’s.

Wall 3 would be, from Warren High School is eight minutes from the downtown Blair store Wall. Wall 4 would be at Pleasant and Linda Lane. Can we imagine every student beyond Beaty school is going to Youngsville? That is what is happening now to Youngsville.

If Eisenhower had walls the equal distance as Youngsville now has, EHS wall 1, 2 and wall 3 would all be around half way between EHS and downtown Sugar Grove. Realizing Sugar Grove is 6.7 miles away from EHS. That is so crazy let’s make sure everyone understands this. If EHS has 3 walls equal to the distances of the now 3 walls YHS has those walls would be around half way between EHS and downtown Sugar Grove. ALL students on the Sugar Grove side of those walls would already be going to Youngsville. That is what is happening now to Youngsville.

It would be extremely unreasonable and uncomfortable to ask members of the Warren County school board to look at just the numbers only considering all nine members live outside the existing Youngsville High School area. We should not put them in that very uncomfortable position. A group needs to be formed from Youngsville to take it directly to Gov. Josh Shapiro’s desk. Someone that can take a look at the numbers only, to make the best recommendation for each student and for Warren County. This is how I would address this.

Forget the WCSD and go to the state. Numbers talk. The state is paying many thousands of dollars to bus students to a farther away school. Those busing dollars would far supersede potential cost savings purposed by the district. We need to do this smart. Pleading our case to the WCSD is a waste of time, we all know what we want and it has nothing to do with savings.

We have students on buses traveling thousands of extra hours and costing taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars every year because students do not even come close to going to their closest high school. Four vs. 21 minutes, 7 vs. 22, 8 vs. 19, 14 vs. 27 — keep in mind those minutes are realized using Map Quest driving distances by auto. If we could use bus traveling times, those time comparisons would be of much greater disparity. If we did what the numbers are dictating we could possibly have to build a bigger school or add on in Youngsville High School. If we were to make the boundaries equal driving distances from Youngsville to other schools, they would be Perkins Restaurant = WHS-YHS, Jackson Valley Country Club area, Buckhaven Taxidermy, YHS-EHS etc. Remember the above is only what the numbers are dictating .. not even considering the thousands of hours students unnecessarily ride the buses. Remember the 4 min. vs. 21 min. above example is auto driving. What is that for buses, maybe six vs. 30 minutes? Just by going over all the numbers it could be a possibility if there is one school in Warren County in Youngsville the total amount of students bussing miles numbers could actually be reduced as they are now. That’s considering Sheffield stays as is.

Let’s realize Youngsville is positioned so perfectly within the county for a one school county. We should never talk about student numbers going down; we have a boundary line problem.

Dave Benedict is a Pittsfield resident.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *


Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today