TAYLOR – The Riverside school board voted to file a petition with the state Department of Education for a change of vocational education venue during its monthly meeting on Monday, Sept. 10.
If approved, the decision would formally allow students to attend class at a Career Technology Center campus (CTC) in Wilkes Barre.
Riverside students had been attending CTC in Lackawanna County prior to this year. The school district filed a lawsuit on Aug. 22 against the CTC of Lackawanna County to cut ties with CTC, seeking a judgment that it has the right to pull out under terms of the 1968 agreement that state the pact ends "when there are no capital expenditures outstanding."
The lawsuit came as a result of Riverside's concerns over the cost of a planned CTC renovation project, with Riverside's suit contending that the district "does not agree with the majority of the participating (CTC) members … that it is appropriate to incur debt of $18.1 million in order to reconstruct or rehabilitate the building housing the center."
As a result, Riverside vocational students are currently attending classes at the CTC campus in Wilkes Barre.
Earlier in the year the board passed a budget which includes a line item to fund the CTC renovation project, Scranton Superintendent William King told Go Lackawanna September 7 regarding the lawsuit.
Forest City's school board announced at its meeting on Sept. 10 that it would support the $18.1 million CTC renovation project with or without Riverside's support.
Superintendent John Kopicki said that it is uncertain what the financial impact of Riverside's case will be until a court decision is reached.
"If Riverside is in or out; we're committed to it," he said.
Efforts to contact an education department spokesman were unsuccessful.
In other news, parent Joe Mickavicz expressed concern about the impact teacher furloughs have made on Riverside's foreign language department: increased competition for course offerings and a reliance on virtual classes to make up the difference.
Superintendent David Woods said that while the district continues to offer both Spanish and German courses as world languages, elective courses not offered by staff would be available as online classes.
The classes would cost a student's family $232.50 per semester or $465 a year depending on the course and the funding available for reimbursement. Woods said reimbursement is not guaranteed for all courses.
"If you want our students, to be in a foreign language for four years, like most decent schools like to see on a college transcript, this is something not all parents will be able to do," Mickavicz said.