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(Harrisburg) — A new program in Lebanon aims to make social and educational services more accessible.

The Lebanon School District and United Way of Lebanon County plan to create two community schools in the city this fall.

“The community school model is about leveraging existing community resources and bringing it to within the boundaries of the school wall,” said United Way CEO Kenny Montijo. 

The community schools will be at Northwest Elementary and Lebanon Middle School.

Depending on need, the services brought in could include things like tutoring, mental health treatment, or financial literacy programs for parents.

Montijo said he sees the model as a way to help low-income students bridge an opportunity gap with better-off peers.

Eighty percent of kids in Lebanon School District qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, and the district’s education attainment levels are low compared to other districts in the county and state.

Sugra Bibi, the United Way’s director of community impact, said to work, the model has to be supported by a district and its board.

“You need that political buy in from the stakeholders and board members of each school for the community schools to be successful,” she said. 

The United Way is working with the district and area nonprofits on final details of the plan.

They expect to hire a program coordinator before the start of the next school year.