As a lifelong practitioner of local government in Pennsylvania, I can tell you that what passes for a “normal” relationship between a school district and the municipality is not a good one. It’s either non-existent or confrontational. They disagree about taxes. They disagree about facility access. They disagree about traffic. And the list goes on.
However, that is not the case between Cranberry Township and Seneca Valley. Both of us fully recognize our dependence on one another. Both of us are committed to excellence. And neither of us takes success for granted.
Cranberry, as you probably know, has developed a reputation across the Commonwealth for its obsession with planning and managing the life cycle of its community. And it’s well-deserved. We carefully study the life cycles of communities all around the nation and meticulously examine those factors that cause communities to fall into economic decline. Then we work equally hard to make sure we avoid those factors.
Usually when a municipality is experiencing decline, that decline is mirrored in its school district. Symptoms of a declining municipality include loss of population, increased average age, decreasing average income, declining property values, and the exodus of quality employers.
In a public school system, decline is often reflected in furloughing teachers, closing schools and eliminating programs such as art, music, languages and, if things get really bad, even athletics.
Whichever symptoms of decline come first is a matter of debate. But in our case, the governing bodies of both entities as well as their respective administrations, fully understand the reliance we have upon each other. We both believe that “great communities need great schools and great schools need great communities.”
So I am very proud of our strong collaboration – a relationship which is only possible because of the personal commitments of leaders in both entities.
On a more personal level, I am exceptionally proud that my children have elected to build their lives and raise their own families in Cranberry and in the Seneca Valley School District. I am delighted that my grandchildren will be taking advantage of the world-class programs our school district offers. I am also so pleased about the commitment Seneca Valley is making to public education. That way I know Cranberry Township will continue to be one Pennsylvania’s most desirable communities in which to live, work and play, well into the future.
To see what I mean, the Seneca Valley School District recently released three videos that demonstrate their commitment to excellence. If you haven’t seen them yet, click on these links:
Seneca Valley Student Rigor
Seneca Valley Student Wellness
Seneca Valley Staff Excellence
I would love to hear your thoughts about our Township-School District connection. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org