EDITORIAL: Let this be a lesson on district shopping

York Dispatch

There is a process for effecting change across a local school district. That process involves attending school board meetings and getting involved.

But if you are going to do so, it's important to know that with any democratic process comes compromise and sometimes sacrifice for the good of all — those basic concepts that many of our state and federal politicians seem so averse to these days.

On a local level, we can't afford such thinking.

Such is the case with the Washington Township petition to transfer from Dover Area schools to the Northern York School District.

In mid-September, the state Board of Education voted to disapprove of that petition, which is at the center of a division going back three years.

We agree with that decision.

Three years ago, the Washington Township Education Coalition began circulating a petition shortly after the closing of Kralltown Elementary School, the only Dover school within Washington Township's borders.

The closing was intended to save money at a time when districts were (and they still are, of course) struggling with myriad financial challenges. But it angered residents who held the school dear. That's understandable. However, there is a real danger to allowing residents to secede from their district for emotional or selfish financial reasons.

The Board of Education compiled a report that outlines its reasons for not recommending a transfer. And although the Education Coalition claims its reason for wanting the move is purely academic, the state BOE didn't see a huge disparity in that area. Further, the BOE said, it appears Washington Township's main motivation is really Northern York's lower property taxes.

We have long advocated for denial of the request because we don't believe the move is in the students' best interests. An opposing group, Keep Us In Dover Schools (KIDS), has argued that the children would not benefit from a transfer that appears to have more to do with property taxes than with academics, as the Education Coalition claims.

If the BOE is correct in its assessment, we are sorry to see that the group would potentially put money over the academic well-being of its youngest residents, while claiming their motives are the quality of the children's education.

Let this be a lesson: You can't district shop.