W-B Area superintendent invites public to share a coffee, ask questions

By Mark Guydish - [email protected]
Wilkes-Barre Area School District Superintendent Brian Costello leads a tour of Mackin School after one of four town hall meetings held last year. He is trying something different Wednesday, inviting anyone to stop by from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Wednesday at the Administration building for “coffee with the superintendent.” - Times Leader file photo

WILKES-BARRE — Having seen the number of people taking advantage of previous “town hall” meetings dwindle to zero, Wilkes-Barre Area School District Superintendent Brian Costello is trying a new approach he’s calling “coffee with the superintendent.”

Costello has invited the public to stop by the administration building at 730 South Main St. this Wednesday morning from 7 to 9 a.m. to ask any questions. It is a variation on an idea he launched in August 2017, when he scheduled three “town hall meetings” on three consecutive days, one at each of the district’s three high schools.

Those meetings were generally lightly attended but did draw people to a format where Costello fielded any questions and comments, stressed there was no time limit, and offered a quick tour of the building. He followed them with a similar meeting at the Mackin building last November, a previously-closed elementary school renovated and now housing two grades from Coughlin High School.

Costello resumed the town hall meeting idea last month with one at Solomon/Plains Education Complex on Sept. 4 and another at GAR Memorial High School Sept. 5, but no one showed up for the GAR meeting. After that he decided to try a morning meeting at the administration building.

The goal, he has repeatedly said, is to give the public a chance to ask questions without the constraints imposed at school board meetings, where board policy limits public comments to five minutes per person.

Wilkes-Barre Area School District Superintendent Brian Costello leads a tour of Mackin School after one of four town hall meetings held last year. He is trying something different Wednesday, inviting anyone to stop by from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Wednesday at the Administration building for “coffee with the superintendent.”
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/web1_Mackin1.cmyk_-1.jpgWilkes-Barre Area School District Superintendent Brian Costello leads a tour of Mackin School after one of four town hall meetings held last year. He is trying something different Wednesday, inviting anyone to stop by from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Wednesday at the Administration building for “coffee with the superintendent.” Times Leader file photo
Event is 7 to 9 a.m. Wednesday

By Mark Guydish

[email protected]

Reach Mark Guydish at 570-991-6112 or on Twitter @TLMarkGuydish

Reach Mark Guydish at 570-991-6112 or on Twitter @TLMarkGuydish