WILKES-BARRE — A group is working to organize an “anti-consolidation march and protest” on Aug. 30, starting at each of Wilkes-Barre Area School District’s three high schools and ending at the district administration building shortly before the next school board meeting there.
Lois Grimm said the idea of a protest was discussed in July by several people who support the cause of Save Our Schools, an organization formed in response to the consolidation plan first approved in 2015. The group has pushed the district to retain three neighborhood high schools, though members have stressed that doesn’t necessarily mean keeping all three aging buildings.
“We had talked about a first-day-of-school protest, but we didn’t want the kids to get in trouble,” Grimm said. “I saw the next school board meeting is Thursday (Aug. 30), and that seemed like a good compromise and a good chance to get in front of the board.”
Grimm created an “Anti-Consolidation March and Protest” page on Facebook and urged those interested to gather at one of the three high schools — Coughlin, Meyers and GAR Memorial — at 4:30 Aug. 30. The plan is to then walk to the administration building at 730 S. Main St. in time to be there before the monthly board meeting starts. The board is scheduled to hold a work session at 5:30 and the regular meeting at 6:30.
“I realize (4:30) is an inconvenient time, but we have to start early enough to get there for the meeting,” Grimm said. The Facebook page lists distances from the schools to the administration building: 1.6 miles from Coughlin on North Washington Street, 1.4 miles from GAR on Lehigh Street, and 0.6 miles from Meyers on Carey Avenue.
Both the conference room where the meeting is usually held and the lobby immediately outside are relatively small and could be overwhelmed if enough people show up. The board could opt to move the meeting in light of the planned protest, but Grimm said she has considered that and the protest would adjust accordingly.
“If they move it to one of the schools in the city, we’ll march to it,” she said. If the meeting is moved to the Solomon/Plains Education Complex in Plains Township, she added, they would drive to the meeting to hold a protest.
Reach Mark Guydish at 570-991-6112 or on Twitter @TLMarkGuydish