A small but vocal group of Washington Township residents is pursuing transferring students living in the township out of Dover Area School District and into a neighboring district.
The nonprofit Washington Township Education Coalition formed over the summer to spearhead the effort.
Now the group of several dozen residents said they will gather signatures on petitions in January around the municipality.
Their goal is to get students living in Washington Township switched from Dover to Northern York School District.
The process would involve, at the least, getting township taxpayer support with a petition, getting the state to approve the creation of a temporary independent school district and then getting Northern, a neighboring district, to approve merging the township into Northern.
It's a lengthy, legal-heavy process that will take years, but supporters said it's worthwhile if it means they will pay lower taxes and get a better education for township children.
"I want the best possible advantage for any child," said supporter Ralph McGregor.
The spark: The catalyst for the movement came in the summer when Dover school board members approved the closure of 110-student, 60-year-old Kralltown Elementary.
Those students now attend North Salem Elementary, a more modern building that's farther away.
Kralltown is on the fringes of the Dover district, and some Washington Township residents believe they'd be better served by sending students to closer Northern.
Northern Assistant Superintendent Jason Beals said the district is aware of the idea, but at this point, "it's an issue between Washington Township and Dover Area School District."
The idea of Washington Township leaving Dover seemed dead a few months ago after a task force formed by the township planning commission disbanded.
McGregor, a member of the commission, said they decided it wasn't in the commission's jurisdiction to get involved, but private citizens could do so.
Better education, lower taxes: Sharon Baumgardner sent five children through Kralltown and would be sending her granddaughter there for kindergarten if it weren't for the closure.
Instead, her granddaughter likely will go to North Salem, and Baumgardner worries the bus ride will take more than an hour.
"That's absolutely ridiculous," she said.
The group is also upset the board cited renovation cost as the reason to close Kralltown when Weigelstown and Dover elementaries were renovated and the district also renovated the high school stadium.
"Where are the priorities, and who asked for this?" the group's website, www.wtecsite.org, states.
State test scores are often better in Northern than Dover, the site points out. According to the state, about 82 percent of Northern students met state standards in math and reading last year, slightly higher than Dover in both subjects.
Baumgardner, like other association members, said they believe their property taxes would be lower as well. Dover's property tax rate for the 2011-12 school year is 20.53 mills, while Northern's is 14.61.
Reaction: Dover Superintendent Robert Krantz said those supporters aren't looking at an apples-to-apples comparison.
Northern homes have a higher average assessment than homes in Dover, he said, which means Northern doesn't have to raise taxes as much to make the same revenue as Dover.
-- Reach Andrew Shaw at 505-5431 or email@example.com, or on Twitter @ydblogwork.com.