Editor, The News: On Sept. 10, the New Castle school district will enter into an agreement with Lawrence County Social Services Inc. for the sale of the Ben Franklin building. At this time, I do not support the sale for the following reasons: 1. It is too important a decision to make without public involvement and use of a consultant. 2. It is a decision that will impact the city forever. 3. We have not looked at the long-term savings of tax dollars. 4. Consolidation could lead to better utilization of our staff. 5. It is a sound structure with historical and architectural value. 6. Selling the building now limits our educational and financial options. Two years ago, Superintendent George Gabriel and the school board were in favor of consolidating grades one, two and three at Ben Franklin and making Kennedy the primary center. Gabriel said, “This provides for more common planning time for our teachers and it also allows us to better control class size ...” Joseph Ambrosini, business manager, is on record as saying the school district would have “substantial savings” with consolidation. Larry Nord, former board member, said “consolidating the elementary schools would mean long-term savings.” These are all good reasons why this decision should not be made without more study. I believe this decision is not in the best interests of the taxpayers. As a taxpayer and board member, I am concerned about our declining enrollment, eroding tax base and huge debt. I ran for the school board because I thought I could help bring about a change in school board politics. There has been some change, but not enough. I hope, with new board members taking office in December, we will see more change. Philip P. Conti member New Castle Area School Board

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