Central Cambria school district is looking to cut costs after an appraisal on the taxable real estate at the Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) Fairview power plant in Jackson Township was estimated five times too high.
The district collected taxes from the power plant based on the high estimate, and that led to the district owing the power plant about $3.7 million over the next three years officials said.
Superintendent at Central Cambria Jason Moore said Jackson is one of their elementary schools, and a feasibility study is being done to see if combining Jackson Elementary with Cambria Elementary is best for the district.
“They’re going to give multiple suggestions most likely to the board and we don’t know the time frame yet, so any discussion of any building closure is very much premature.”
Moore said in the district’s two elementary schools combined there are about 650 students this year. According to Department of Education projections, the district is estimated to have about 500 total elementary five years from now. Moore said that could play a factor in the future decision of the school board.
He also adds that Central Cambria is one of only two districts in Cambria County with more than one elementary school.
Thursday night the Jackson Township Board of Supervisors had its monthly meeting, the main topic being to educate the public about the possibility of Jackson Elementary’s future. They also past a resolution and encouraged members of the public that came to the meeting to sign a petition opposing shutting the school down.
“It would be huge. It would be devastating to the community, Jackson Elementary is a vital part of our community. It’s what brings our young couples in.”
Baker said income tax from residents is the second highest money earner for the township, and he believes that would go down without the school. He said income tax is only behind the taxes the township is able to collect from CPV because unlike the school district and county, the township did not challenge the tax assessment for the powerplant’s property.
Dozens of community members showed up to the meeting Thursday night.
“I think you see the support tonight because people really do care about our school and about our kids and our education for our kids, I hope that the school makes the right decision and keep Jackson Elementary open.”
Central Cambria’s next school board meeting is Monday, December 4 at 7 p.m. at the high school.