Washington Township Education Coalition 

August 21, 2015      PLEASE DONATE

   -  In light of 172 donors and generous donations received to date, WTEC still has a large legal debt amount of over $25,000.  Yes, such cost would be completely avoidable if we could simply vote by referendum for OUR future.  

   -  These hard costs represent the stacked deck of a community forced into fighting a public school district that we want to transfer from --  the Dover Area School District.  These costs to our families in Washington Township are driven by Dover, K.I.D.S., Dover's representative (Seth Grove) and their good friends from the state teacher's union (PSEA).  All opponents claiming to advocate for us -- using our tax dollars to fight against us, all who argued in a legal hearing to force us to stay in Dover.  Meanwhile, the vast majority, 75% (1,406) of Washington Township's residents, all who want to join Northern, includes the majority of parents with school-aged children.  All of this enabled by the Pa School Code, nonetheless.

    An open letter to all Pennsylvania communities and municipalities:            
BE FOREWARNED:  In the event that the vast majority of your community seeks improved educational outcomes in a much safer school district having far lower in-school crime rates with closer, community schools, to a better-managed and consistently better-performing school district, be ready for the fight of your lives.  You need to know that your current public school district, the state and local teacher's union (PSEA) and state representatives outside of your district will fight you every step of the way -- regardless of the clear educational merit in support of your case.  These parties will use their attorneys, their staff and your school tax dollars to fight against you, in light of clear empirical facts and data showing the educational future of your children will be improved by the transfer, whether your preferred public school district is closer, safer, better-performing or better managed - it does not matter to these forces.  You will need a lot of money, mainly to pay a very good attorney and several educational experts, all experienced in litigation, willing to work for years on end.  Based on our experience, the fight to transfer to a better district will cost you upwards of $50,000 or more.  It has for us, as was the case for Porter Township and the Borough of Riegelsville.  

As made clear in Pennsylvania law, simple voter referendum is illegal.  The control and use of your tax dollars and majority vote of your community are irrelevant and out of your control.  The Department of Education, who holds the ultimate approval authority over your community choice of public education - will not assist you in seeking a better educational future for your children.  The Department is fully empowered to sit on your case for years, standing idly by, while you struggle through the process and your children remain stuck in a failing district.  This is the reality in Pennsylvania.  Whether or not there is clear, undeniable educational merit supporting your case in the transfer of your community to a contiguous public school district, in light of your community having taken exhaustive efforts and has gained the vast majority support on an legal petition reviewed and approved by the President Judge of your county Court of Common Pleas, you are completely on your own in a complicated, community-harassing, legal and bureaucratic nightmare.  Be forewarned. 

       Due to the constraints of the state's legal process, a simple majority vote by referendum is not legal.  This is why Washington Township has negotiated the state's legal process, gaining approval of every legal step since 2011.  Our children are worth the fight.  In a cruel irony, the opposition, while using our own tax dollars against us, has forced us to hire two of the state's top technical educational experts and top-notch legal counsel (ACF). It is our only option if we are to negotiate the state process and the Dover Area School District, state and Dover Representative Seth Grove, our own K.I.D.S. opposition and their buddies at the huge, formidable state teachers union (PSEA).  These very people who claim to have our best interests at heart, responsible for our educational future -- all working against our best educational future, which is clearly with NORTHERN.    

STAY STRONG WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP!  We thank Washington Township residents who did not flinch.  We will not quit in this battle for our children's future.  We thank the 172 donors/families and businesses who have recently donated to pay our legal fees, with several having donated multiple times.  That being said, it is not enough.  In full disclosure and transparency, the total costs of this legal battle will cost us much more.   

                   As of August 21, 2015, our debt remains in excess of $25,000.

Please Donate to WTEC, today!  

                                Make check to:  "W.T.E.C."  and mail to:
                               WTEC, P.O.Box 277, Wellsville, PA 17365        

Thank you! 

-  Join us on Facebook:  Washington Township Education Coalition

In 2011, the vast majority of Washington Township came together in a grass roots effort.  United, we petitioned, and for the past four years we worked through the legal process to transfer for better education, performance and outcomes of the Northern York County School District.      

The Dover Area School District, Dover representative Seth Grove and a few dozen K.I.D.S. residents claim that our entire case is only about getting lower taxes.  Beyond the incredible insult this false claim makes to over 180 parents of school-aged children (the majority, of our 276 children in DASD schools) and the 1,406 grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors of Washington Township, it simply is not true, and WTEC has made its case clear to the state Board of Education.

The vast majority of Washington Township (74%) seek to transfer to Northern because of its superior, consistent, long-term educational performance above and beyond Dover.  Northern is simply a better fit, geographic, cultural, closer travel, better for Washington Township.  Northern will provide closer schools for every single elementary aged child in Washington Township, Northern has far less in-school crime, arrests, truancy; Northern's standardized test scores in the past decade demonstrate higher average scores every single year than Dover's, including the PSSA's, SAT, ACT's, the SPP.  Northern demonstrates rigor, with its challenging, diverse curriculum and ten more honors classes than Dover; Northern has consistently higher graduation rates and college placement rates than Dover as well as a regionally-respected reputation.

      Northern is better managed and is the mid-state model of school district stability. Northern will provide the best educational outcomes and do the most good for the most students of Washington Township.

2/7/15 - Department of Education releases SAT scores:  Northern scores higher SAT's than Dover, for 
at least 15 years in a row, every category of the SAT, every single year.  What parent would not want this for their child?            

For now, we are forced to send our students to Dover while year after year after year ... we can only watch as Northern continues to outperform Dover in the SAT, (and the PSSA's, AYP measures, the Keystones, the ACT's, graduation rates, college placement rates, with Northern having seven times lower in-school crime, lower truancy, lower dropout rates and closer schools for all elementary children).
  Another year, another Northern milestone... meanwhile over 180 WTEC parents are denied their choice to send their children to NORTHERN.  The people of Washington Township await the final decision of the state Board of Education so that soon our children can receive the education they deserve.  


Below, see Northern's position statements to the State Board of Education regarding Washington Township 

From:   Resolution of the Board of School Directors of the Northern York County School District, approved 1/15/15

 These statements are from Northern's official, adopted Resolution, verbatim:
Page 3, #2.   "The financial ramifications of the proposed transfer of Washington Township, if approved, are that the combination of additional anticipated tax revenues from Washington Township and increased basic education subsidy revenues from the Commonwealth are likely to exceed anticipated expenditures for addition personnel and facilities directly related to the influx of additional students from Washington Township."
(The NYCSD clearly states that revenues gained from Washington Township are likely to exceed expenditures.  Recognize that after exhaustive fiscal review, this statement from the professionals of Northern soundly refutes the fear-based statements of state Representative Seth Grove, K.I.D.S. and the YDR.  Grove, K.I.D.S. have repeatedly claimed that this transfer will force Northern raise to taxes, which has been proven to be false.  Northern has verified otherwise, further undermining the credibility of any such claim.  As maintained by WTEC since 2011, Washington Township will more than pay for all student and facilities costs of this transfer.   Northern's firm statement is the final word on the subject.

Page 3, #4.  "The proposed transfer of Washington Township, if approved, will not affect the ability of the Northern York County School District to deliver a quality education to all of its students, including the students affected by the proposed transfer.  The School District's guiding principle has always been to serve the best interests of the education of its students.  This principle will not change when the State Board defines who those students are."

Page 4, #1.  The Northern York County School District shall maintain a neutral stance on this issue.  It neither supports nor opposes the proposed transfer of the Washington Township Independent School District to the Northern York County School District.

Page 4, #2.  The Northern York County School District supports the concept of local control, which allows the community to have a voice in educational, financial, and political issues that directly impact them.  The Northern York County School District supports the self-determination of the residents of Washington Township in this matter and supports the process established by the Public School Code, which authorizes the State Board of Education to make the final determination on the proposed transfer."        
- Northern is under no obligation to make this statement as part of its official resolution.  That being said, by its statement, Northern again shows its top-notch, quality educational leadership.  Having the foresight, knowledge and fortitude to make this statement illustrates the depth of the leaders and vision of Northern.  Accordingly, we the vast majority of Washington Township truly thank you and offer our deepest appreciation, as Northern recognizes of the commitment of everyday citizens efforts in a grassroots struggle seeking improved educational outcomes.  The people of Washington Township are forever indebted to the leadership of Northern's Board and Superintendent.  Regardless of the final decision taken by the state Board of Education, Northern's written support for local self-determinism and value of local control in educational, financial and political issues speaks volumes of its educational philosophy and vision (the polar opposite of Dover).

 Northern's leadership displayed during this effort only reinforces Washington Township's intense desire to join Northern and to only trust its children in your hands.  Northern shows a unique understanding of its the role in the service of public education, the administration's role in relation to common people as well as the Department.  This is but one of the many reasons that over 180 parents and 1,406 people of Washington Township seek to join the Northern York County School district. 
Page 5, #5.  "Because the proposed transfer, if approved, will have ramifications for students residing in Washington Township and presently attending the Dover Area School District, the Northern York County School District requests that the State Board of Education, as a condition of the proposed transfer, require both the Northern York County School District and the Dover Area School District to prepare a joint plan of transition to ensure that appropriate consideration is provide(d) to the educational needs and desires of the affected students and their families."

One word:  LEADERSHIP!  This statement demonstrates that Northern's leadership is of the highest order.  All parties involved in our case as well as the state Board of Education should recognize its value.  Northern continues take a key leadership role and WTEC fully supports this (above) request.

- WTEC's direction to its attorneys aligns with Northern to work out the best compromise for both districts in anticipation of the best transition possible.  This includes WTEC's standing request to allow Washington Township high school students to finish their high school educations in the school district of their choice.  We ask the state Board of Education to support this student choice as well.  WTEC has funded and encouraged these legal negotiations, starting last summer, to allow for school choice for high school students, and we see no reason that both districts and the state Board can not support this option.  Going above and beyond and assuming responsibility during a situation it did not ask for, Northern looks ahead, has led discussions, negotiations and innovative planning to make the best transition for all students


 A picture (or map) says a thousand words.  This map illustrates the even distribution of people who signed the legal petition and want to become part of the Northern district.  The map shows no lopsided favoring of any particular section of Washington Township.  To the outsider, this map may appear to be somewhat underwhelming.  Yet, considering that Washington Township has the second highest number of large, open space parcels of all townships in York County, the reality of this map begins to set in.  Due to decades of wise land use practices, Washington township has a large number of huge open spaces, big farms and many wide open properties.  Thus, looking at this map illustrates the support of vast majority of our people, where their residences are located (indicated by red dots) representing residents who signed the petition. 

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