Build the school where?

| 28 Sep 2011 | 03:01

    MILFORD - Pike is growing and school officials say they need to know where. Look at Pike County from the heights of Route I-84 and you’ll see green hills seemingly rolling on forever, but look at Geographical Information Systems (GIS) maps on the county website and you’ll see a string of dense development covering much of the eastern and southern borders of the county. Population forecasts say the population of 56,000 could grow to 90,000 to more than 130,000 in the next 20 years. Officials say that the Delaware Valley School District has tried to keep pace with accelerating growth with newer construction in Dingman and Shohola. But the question is what’s next, so district officials have agreed to engage a demographer to help predict where that growth will come. Following some debate at their last meeting, the school board agreed to an $8,500 contract obligation for Demographer, Paul Abramson of Stanton Leggett & Associates. The move came despite the opposition of board member-elect Robert Goldsack, who argued that the district should make use of county data being generated for Pike’s new comprehensive plan. But outgoing member Jim Mooney said he was “not too impressed,” with the county’s demographic work. Board member Bell Hodges Smith said debating the fee was penny-wise and pound foolish. “Different readings and inputs are an investment that will save a lot of time and effort later.” Following the vote board President Sue Casey said the district has been examining a variety of building alternatives and listening to a variety of opinions “Mr. Goldsack is concerned that we’re jumping the gun and building without the county’s planning.” Casey says that while some say the growth spurt may not be so severe, “Realtors are saying the opposite...They’re looking at lots of families with little kids.” The state’s figures predict almost a 20 percent student population increase by 2014, without any reference to new construction. The district is trying to remain flexible and the demographer is part of the formula. “We don’t want to build and wind up busing 30 miles,” she said.