Thursday, 02 January 2020 20:50

What happened to Barrett Elementary School? (updated)

What happened to Barrett Elementary School? (updated)

Update 1/7/2020 @ 10am

I am posting the remainder of the email thread between myself and Karl Stearns that didn't make it into the comments area:

 

Karl:
1/7/2020 @ 8:45am

My reference to you not understanding correctly was that you stated the Supervisors owned Barrett Elementary School and that is not correct.  The school was owned by the Pocono Mountain School District until it was sold supposedly for “senior housing”—which never materialized.

The whole history of the building of this school and the school in Tobyhanna is convoluted.  We were told back then that the old buildings were no longer “compliant” with laws regulating access by handicapped people.  Mostly because they were multistory buildings with no elevators.  The teachers were propagandizing the issue because the whole drive was to have new schools—nothing else.  Kids were going home armed with talking points to their parents and anyone who would listen about all the poor handicapped children who couldn’t attend school because the buildings were “old”.  I witnessed one young girl it total meltdown with tears and hysterical rambling as she tried to explain it to a group of adults. Amazingly, after the old buildings were vacated, they were eventually used again by the school district for classrooms. 

The quality of the schools in the PMSD became a selling feature that helped fuel the explosion in home sales in Monroe County.  City families were seeing ads touting the “advanced” Pocono Mountain School District with computer labs, new schools, sports stadiums….hell, yeah….let’s move to the Poconos.  Oh, and the “train to New York” was “just around the corner”—like it has been for almost 40 years.  A pipe dream that has been maintained by a close knit band of politicians because it is a financial boondoggle and has provided cushy jobs and big paychecks to a bunch of hacks.  You want to investigate things?  Look into that—and look into the history of the PMSD.

So, when the BEC and TEC were closed because of declining enrollment in the PMSD—due mostly to the financial implosion of 2009, the decision was made to put them up for sale.  Naturally, the taxpayers anticipated a reduction in school taxes since our money was extracted from us to pay for these expensive schools.  “Nope” said the School Board.  “State law prohibits us from refunding money.  We are required to SPEND the money.”  So, as is usual, suddenly we had an enormous need to have the children attending the Pocono Mountain West High School obtain a sports stadium.  The reason?  Well, they needed to have “school spirit” since it was demoralizing to the poor children to have to go to the “old” high school to play their football games.  So, millions of dollars was allocated to build a facility for them—funded by the sale of the school buildings.  Then of course the “old” high school needed an expensive upgrade to the turf on their playing field…again funded by the sale of the school buildings.

The history of this, along with the supposed “train service to New York” are just a couple of examples of the corruption and lack of care for the taxpayers—and the lack of common sense often exhibited by elected officials.  You can probably research the entire PMSD thing in the Pocono Record archives because it was all written up there.  There is a railway board that oversees the “train to New York”….they even built train stations in Mt. Pocono and Delaware Water Gap.  It’s a joke.

Karl


Nate:
1/7/20 @ 8:51am

Are you saying that BEC was *always* part of PMSD? 

I was under the impression that it was a standalone / separate school that was formerly owned by Barrett Township. 

Somewhere between 1989 (when the school was built) and 2009 (when I moved into town) the school district took it over, no?

Your write-up below is really good, can I post it...? 


Karl:
1/7/20 @ 9:15am

It was always owned by PMSD.  The old Barrett Elementary School was owned by the township like 50 years ago, but when they formed the PMSD, the property was turned over to the PMSD, and they build the BEC on the land behind the old school.    Sure, you can post my reply.  I’m hoping some others of the people who have been here for a long time will have similar recollections.  That’s one of the handy things for politicians—when no one remembers past history so they don’t raise any issues.  People need to know, or be reminded, of how this all developed and it should affect decisions for the future.


[Original Post Below]

Editor's Note:  

If I understand correctly, at one point, Barrett Elementary School was owned by the Township of Barrett. It was later 'given' to Pocono Mountain School District? 

Now it's for sale a second time. 

Why wasn't it returned to the people of Barrett after it closed down in 2013?  

 

Recent History:

  • 2013 - PMSD closes school due to declining enrollment
  • 2015 - April - Barrett Supervisors issue "the following conditions" to Shepherds of Monroe County (see pdf Supervisor Meeting Minutes, April 8, 2015 (29 KB) ; page 2) which include the "construction of an emergency access road north of the existing building, such that fire trucks could access that side of the building without getting stuck."  How much would these regulatory burdens have added to the developers' costs?  
  • 2015 - June - PMSD sells property & building to Barrett Senior Housing LP (sale price - $1.6 million)
  • 2020 - For Sale - $2.1 million
Last modified on Tuesday, 07 January 2020 15:38
Comments   
0 #2 Nate Covington 2020-01-07 12:51
Thanks for your explanation - I don't think I published any incorrect "facts" on my article - I was merely asking questions.

I asked over half a dozen people in town what happened to the school and they all told me "good question" - nobody seemed to know about this or understand what happened. Can you tell me which law the school cited to justify keeping the school / money?
Quote
0 #1 Karl Stearns 2020-01-07 10:17
No, you do not understand it correctly. Should have checked the facts before you published this. The Pocono Mountain School District owned the property and when the School Board was challenged about "returning it to the people" via selling and refunding money to taxpayers we were told the law didn't allow them to do that. So, the money was spent building an unnecessary sports stadium at the Pocono Mountain West High School. What you published is simply the minutes of the Supervisors meeting regarding a conditional use permit. Your efforts should be to question why the law "forced" the School Board to keep the money and not return it to the taxpayers who paid for this school. If you want to go way, way back....before you were born perhaps, the construction of the school in Barrett and the one in Tobyhanna were very controversial at the time. Taxes were raised to pay for them, and when the school district population imploded many years later the schools were put up for sale.
Quote
Add comment


Submitted By:

Nate

Nate

Disclaimer: The ideas expressed below are the personal thoughts and opinions of Nate Covington and do not necessarily reflect the position of Barrett Township or the Board of Auditors.

Latest Comments

Call for Donations

We rely on donations to keep this site ad-free. Will you give today?

Are you ready?

ready-logo
ready.gov

Prepare for a disaster in 3 easy steps:
In an emergency, knowing what to do is your best defense. Start now by learning the risks, making an emergency plan and getting involved to help others.
[Read More at ReadyPA.org]

You may also be interested in joining our Local Community Watch


Are you drinking clean water?
If you're not sure, get your water tested by a local, accredited lab.

 

Featured

  • COVID-19 Coronavirus Updates
    COVID-19 Coronavirus Updates Developing Story - Check back for updates I also wanted to share this poem - in case you didn't see it: An Imagined Letter from…

Support Local Businesses!

Latest