Reading School District addresses elementary school concerns

READING, Pa. - Despite some recent setbacks with two elementary schools, the Reading School District expects to see progress in the near future.

During the school board meeting Wednesday night, Assistant Superintendent Chris Celmer updated the board regarding the construction plans for 10th & Green Elementary School.

Celmer appeared Tuesday night in front of the Reading Planning Commission to clear up previous confusion over blueprints for a proposed modular.

As five modular buildings have been removed from the site, the plan is to have one, larger modular take their place. On Tuesday, the commission granted a waiver to allow the district to skip remaining approvals that a typical building would need.

Celmer said he hopes to have the facility up and running by Thanksgiving.

Calling the Wednesday closure of 10th and Penn Elementary School due to excessive heat a "tough decision," Celmer said the building has windows that do not open and an underperforming HVAC unit.

That unit, however, was declared operational Wednesday and he said he is hopeful that, between its status and predicted cooler temperatures, temperatures inside the school will be better. He will be opening contractor bids for window and HVAC upgrades at the school to occur in the near future.

During his comments, Superintendent Khalid Mumin said the district is anticipating an influx in student enrollment due to the recent devastation caused by an earthquake in Mexico and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

Adding that the district will be working with parents and new students on obtaining correct vaccines, the protocol for "students that will be arriving from Puerto Rico will be handled like a homeless student."

Despite being voted down by a narrow 5-4 vote at last month’s meeting, the reproductive health center proposed for Reading High School came up once again. Board member Robin Costenbader-Jacobson addressed the board during public comment, expressing her displeasure in how the vote went last month.

She called the suggestion of other board members that district students could electively visit the Planned Parenthood location at Fourth and Franklin streets to seek education, "unbelievable," adding, "There are those [on the board] that may not be concerned for their safety... that concerns me."

Board member Eddie Moran was absent from the meeting.

The Reading School Board will meet again on October 18 for a committee of the whole meeting.

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