A judge in Harrisburg has approved a petition signed by more than half of Highspire residents who want to switch school districts. "We got over 55 percent of the taxpayers to sign a petition requesting that this matter go to the Department of Education, and that they review it based on educational merit," said the Highspire Education Coalition's lawyer David Deluce.
What they'll review is whether to allow the roughly 200 students who go to Steelton-Highspire schools to switch to the Middletown Area School District. "A lot of the students are friends with Middletown students. Three blocks away from where I live is Middletown School District. So we're actually closer to Middletown School District than we are to Steelton," said the head of the Highspire Education Coalition Kenneth Becker.
Parents want to switch districts because Steelton-Highspire has struggled with debt and has teachers who lack proper credentials. "Friends and neighbors all have had the same frustration, and in January we got together and said what can we do about this," said Becker. If the Department of Education approves the switch then the $1.8 million in taxes that Highspire Borough residents pay for education would instead go to the Middletown Area School District. But it's not happening anytime soon. "Most of these cases go on for a couple years. It's not going to happen overnight," said Deluce.
Ellen Castagneto, the superintendent of the Steelton-Highspire School District, said the district “will continue to focus on building highly effective schools and increasing student achievement for all our students.”