Prior to moving here, I thought that my kids' school was pretty good. Now I realize how much they were lacking. Kunkel is not a nicer facility but they devote much more attention to teaching these kids. Also, the district feels much more accessible and accountable than the previous school district. No huge bureaucracy, just teachers and administrators ready to help.
Both of my children have attended Kunkel Elementary and we were residents of Lower Swatara Township. The taxes are absolutely astronomical. Based on property values, a far greater burden is placed on the residents of LST, so it is unfortunate that ours is the most dilapidated facility of them all. Getting in for any kind of school event is a nightmare. Parking is always a problem. Assemblies are particularly uncomfortable as all they provide are shoulder-to-shoulder steel folding chairs in a dingy gymnasium. For the money, we should have modern facilities that are well-kept. I won't even touch on the bathrooms... blech. Toilet seats are much cheaper than iPads, guys - I'm sure you can fit upgrades into the budget.
Beyond the concerns with the facilities, the staff is typically first rate. We always felt that our concerns were attended to, and the administration was always quick to make themselves available as issues came up. Curriculum is by-and-large in line with what I've come to expect from Pennsylvania schools. There is at least a strong push to try to meet and exceed state standards and the staff goes out of their way to make PSSA time as stress-free for the kids as it can be.
With all that said, I'm surprised there hasn't been some kind of uprising from the citizens of LST. The taxes are crushing property values and this area isn't all that desirable to begin with, being within a stone's throw of TMI and some ratty urban areas. We sold our home at a loss to be free of it - and I know we're not alone. I hope for my friends and neighbors that something is done about it in the coming years.
If you're searching for a home in this area, I would strongly recommend you pay attention to estimates property/school taxes.
Kunkle elementary is still a decent school. The other elementary schools are lacking. The district itself has gone downhill for years. The high school is not the quality school it was when I went there. I will be selling my home and moving out of LST. The taxes are too high for the return.
This school district has been falling for years. After graduating and watching taxes rise for years with worsening results we uprooted our family and sought a new community. Do your research and you will find the real Middletown area and school district. You can find better school districts for less tax money.
My boy attended kindergarten and is now in first grade at Kunkel. I am very please so far. I have not yet sat in on a class, but the teacher is keeping pretty much on schedule so I know they are not wasting time. They do a lot of work in reading and math, thank goodness - and just the right amount of the arts to open their minds. We keep busy studying and doing homework which is good. So, five stars for Kunkel.