There is new concern among parents in the Susquehanna Township School District about enrollment statistics for the 2013-2014 school year.
Last month, superintendent Dr. Susan Kegerise publicly presented the school board with turnover numbers as compared to the 2012-2013 school year, stating the class of 2017 lost only 12 students over the summer.
But since that meeting, several parents of students who have transferred out of the district have reached out to abc27 News, stating their children are still listed as "enrolled" via the parent portal. At least four sets of parents have provided documentation to back up those claims.
"There was way more than 10 students who left the class of 2017," said mother Cindy Hartman. "When I pulled into the McDevitt parking lot, I knew eight of the cars. So if only ten people left and I knew eight, come on!"
Many are now concerned district administrators and the school board are not being transparent when it comes to enrollment, and said they believe the numbers are "much higher" than presented.
"I believe there is deception of all levels in the district -- I really do," said Danielle Leibig, who's two sons are still listed on the portal.
Another parent, who wished to remain anonymous, provided abc27 with a Right-to-Know request made to the district requesting official enrollment numbers comparing 5th through 10th grade in 2012-2013 to 6th through 11th grade in 2013-2014. She received a letter back from business manager Mike Frentz that stated a final response is not anticipated until November 6, "due to the volume of information being requested and district staffing limitations."
The district has come under fire over the last three weeks after hundreds of parents attended a community action meeting and spoke out about what they describe as a "downward spiral in education" over the last two to three years. Many said there is a total lack of discipline inside school walls, and teachers who question new curriculums and methods are often reassigned as punishment. That, they say, has forced dozens of veteran faculty members, and students, to leave the district altogether.
The group was also concerned about a push by the school board to renew contracts for two assistant superintendents two years before they were set to expire. Kegerise removed that agenda item in response to those concerns, saying she would readdress those contracts after a new school board is elected on November 5.
This all comes on the heels of an investigation by the Dauphin County District Attorney's Office into what top administrators may have known last school year about an assistant high school principal and an alleged sexual relationship he had with a 16-year-old student. Shawn Sharkey, 45, of Philadelphia turned himself in to Susquehanna Township police late last month and is currently out on bail.
According to Police Chief Rob Martin, the school district internally investigated rumors about the relationship in May, but his department was not made aware of any allegations until a school resource officer made a report in September.
Parents held a second community action meeting Monday night, discussing solutions to some of these issues. They are also holding a school board candidates forum next Wednesday night at Ridgeway Community Church off Progress Avenue.