Closing Corl Street Elementary School would affect everyone in Centre County.
State College borough surrounds Penn State, the major employer in central Pennsylvania. Half of the borough’s budget supports the police who keep 46,000 students (and often 60,000+ visitors) safe. The rest maintains streets, lighting, sewers and a host of other essential services. If the borough cannot get enough revenue, eventually a deteriorated environment will hurt Penn State and us all.
Could the borough get more revenue? This municipality has only four square miles, and a huge amount of its acreage is tax-exempt, including Penn State main campus, many churches and other nonprofit organizations. The assessed value of taxable real estate can increase only through growth. But nearly all borough acreage already is developed, and nearly all redevelopment is student housing. Borough-earned income taxes are high because a small number of employed taxpayers must support students and retirees. And Pennsylvania law limits other ways that municipalities can generate revenue.
So why do working permanent residents, especially young families with children, choose to live in the borough when the five other State College municipalities have lower taxes? For several neighborhoods the answer is Corl Street school — where more than half of the students walk to school. Even people with no children love the school, for it is the heart of their neighborhood. The school’s departure would lead to a slow exodus of families from the area.
Please support the renovation of Corl Street school. Its closure would affect us all.
Zoe Boniface, State College