An attempt to move Porter Township from East Stroudsburg North back to Wallenpaupack Area School District is moving to the next step, according to an update provided to the WASD School Board.


An attempt to move Porter Township from East Stroudsburg North back to Wallenpaupack Area School District is moving to the next step, according to an update provided to the WASD School Board.

At the October meeting, Superintendent Michael Silsby reported the group organizing the attempt to change districts has gathered over 1,000 signatures and has filed a petition in the Pike County Court of Common Pleas to form the Porter Township School District. Silsby said the District was not taking sides on the issue, but said how the debt is distributed would be a concern to Wallenpaupack.

Depending on how the debt is divided in the process will make a difference on the costs to WASD taxpayers.

He added there are only 48 students living in Porter Twp. A large number of them live in Hemlock Farms, a private community where  the majority of students already attend Wallenpaupack.

He said Wallenpaupack would have to see what happens in the Court as the process moves on.

Organizers of the movement said in July when they distributed the petitions, they wanted to change schools because Wallenpaupack has better test scores compared to ES and lower taxes.

Porter Township was in Wallenpaupack prior to the mandated school jointures in the late 1960s when it was changed to East Stroudsburg.

Porter has 58.6 square miles but the total population according to 2008 US Census Bureau estimates is only 442. One of the main reasons is 61.1 percent of Porter is part of the Delaware State Forest. There are 1,108 taxpayers in Porter. The 2000 Census counted 926 housing units with only 168 considered occupied. Of the 758 remaining units, 725 were listed as seasonal, recreational or occasional use.

This is not the first time residents and parents of Porter have raised the issue. Both school districts recall discussions were held in the past, but nothing came of those discussions.

According to the PA Department of Education, the group must collect a petition with more than 50 percent of the Township “taxable inhabitants” seeking to become an independent school district. Once collected the group must file the petition before the Pike County Court of Common Pleas in Milford.

Pike Court will then decide whether the petition is valid and then forward the request to the Secretary of Education whom reviews it. The Secretary generally sets up a procedure for the Court to follow and all sides are asked to fill out a questionnaire and the Court either holds a hearing or asks the sides to file written responses.

Then the Office of Chief Counsel conducts a final review and advises the Secretary as to the educational merit of the transfer. The Secretary then forwards the answer to the Court.

If the Secretary finds the transfer lacks educational merit, the Court must deny it.

If the Secretary finds it has merit, the Court may establish the independent district. The Court will then prorate the district’s debts and subsidies.

The State Board of Education must then approve the transfer of the territory to another district. The State Board usually holds hearings.

Since the mid-1990’s there have been two requests according to PDE. One was approved by the State Board and one was denied.