YEMS behavioral struggles brought before boro council

Scott Nelson spoke at Youngsville Borough Council’s meeting Monday to express concerns about rising numbers of behavioral incidents at Youngsville Elementary Middle School (YEMS).

Nelson, who said he represented a group of parents with students at the school, addressed a Warren County School District (WCSD) board of directors’ committee meeting in January concerning the issue and later spoke at a town hall meeting with parents in the YEMS attendance area.

His concerns center around rising numbers of behavioral problems at YEMS, including at least five assaults reported to police, since the WCSD moved all emotional and autistic support students in the district to the school.

“What I’m going to speak about, I know, is a sensitive issue,” Nelson said. “While I know this is a school board issue, I believe in being pro-active.”

While much of what Nelson addressed to council was not new ground, focusing on issues of student safety and borough police resource usage as he did before the school board and town hall meetings, he placed added emphasis on the possible repercussions to the Youngsville community.

“As a borough, it could have economic repercussions,” he said.

Citing things he has heard from parents, Nelson posited that continuing issues could cause parents to move out of the attendance area, thereby adversely impacting tax revenues. He also noted that parents considering moving to the borough could be dissuaded from doing so due to conditions at YEMS.

Finally, Nelson said having the students at YEMS could lower the school’s standardized test scores.

After Nelson spoke, council moved on to its regular business.

Borough Manager Lisa Hagberg reported the borough is looking into two grants that could help fund continuing streetscape improvements on Main Street.

She also reported the borough has settled accounts with M&B Services and checks have been sent out. M&B was contracted as part of streetscape work.

Additionally, in her manager’s report, Hagberg noted the light poles included in the streetscape project will not be delivered until late February or early March. They will be installed during warmer weather.

Council Member Erik Leamon questioned who was responsible for posting the proper entrance and exit to the Tops Market parking lot on Railroad Street. While the matter was not resolved, Hagberg did note that directional markings will be painted in the spring.

The borough’s recreation commission reported a successful sled riding party on Sunday, with approximately 200 attendees.

It was also reported that the commission’s meeting had been rescheduled for Thursday, Feb. 13, due to attendance issues.

During the meeting, Council Member Pam Olewine was also sworn in, as she was absent from the January meeting.

Council Member Troy Clawson was absent from the meeting.

Hagberg did not give a verbal report on what was included in the manager’s report; the report is posted in the borough building and included in council members’ informational packets for the meetings.

According to the report,

4.34 tons of recyclables were collected in January. The borough’s next recycling day is scheduled for Feb. 26.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program began on Feb. 11 at the municipal building. The program is available on Tuesdays and Thursdays by appointment.

Police have increased monitoring on 5th Street due to “drag racing” complaints and are continuing to monitor snowmobilers not staying on designated trails.

The American Legion donated $2,000 towards operation of the Brokenstraw Valley Swimming Pool.

The borough’s annual audit has been started and a completion date of March 31 is estimated for release of a final audit.