Comments from Mechanicsburg Area School District officials in a recent media report gave an incorrect impression that the Township wanted to end its relationship with the Mechanicsburg Area Parks & Recreation Department. The Commissioners have informed the School District, which runs the department, that they want to renegotiate the Township’s level of support. Below is a statement from the Commissioners on the issue:
We know that many of our residents participate and enjoy the activities offered by the Mechanicsburg Area Parks & Recreation Department, and we want to see it continue. Our board has made this clear to the Mechanicsburg Area School District, which controls the program.
Even though the current agreement expired on June 30, 2019, Upper Allen will continue supporting the program at the current level through June 30, 2020. We hope to negotiate a new agreement before June 30, 2020 that better reflects the services our township’s residents receive.
When the agreement was created almost 50 years ago between the school district, Upper Allen and Shiremanstown and Mechanicsburg boroughs, the program did more than run activities. It coordinated the use of our Township park facilities and recreational equipment. For at least the past 10 years, however, we have managed our fields in-house.
Additionally, while Upper Allen this year will contribute $57,451, we have no say in the kinds of activities offered, how the program runs, or the way the participation fees our residents pay are determined. Though the agreement states all parties should be involved in decisions that affect the programs, we have not always been included.
Moving forward, we believe it is appropriate to recognize that this is the school district’s program and support it as we do with other community organizations, such as the Simpson Library or Meals on Wheels. We envision negotiating a fair level of support based on our township’s population and the services we receive.
This board looks forward to discussing the matter further with the school district and reaching an agreement that ensures no disruption to the classes and activities the program provides to our citizens.