Delays In Rupert Elementary School Construction Frustrate Pottstown School Board

POTTSTOWN — As recently as Aug. 14, Pottstown School Board members were assured by district administrators and construction consultants that renovation and expansion of Rupert Elementary School was on schedule for the opening of school on Sept. 2.

But just four days later, the administration announced that the school would not be ready on timeand students and staff would begin school in the former Edgewood Elementary School at 920 Morris St.

Three days after that announcement, frustrated school board members levied criticism at both the planning and execution of the project.

“To say I am disappointed in the efforts of the contractor is an understatement,” board member Ron Williams said.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140822/delays-in-rupert-elementary-school-construction-frustrate-pottstown-school-board

Moon Schools Eager To Talk Merger With Cornell

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United ...

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When the Moon Area School board voted recently to reach out to its much smaller neighbor, the Cornell School District, to discuss a possible merger, it resurrected an issue that had been explored at least twice before.

In 1992 and 1998, the districts studied the idea of a merger or of Cornell students attending Moon on a tuition basis. It died both times because of opposition in the communities and the lack of state financial incentives, but the voluntary merger of the Center Area and Monaca districts, to form Central Valley School District, in recent years has some Moon board members taking a new look at the prospect of sharing resources.

The Central Valley merger, initiated with board votes in 2007 and finalized in 2010, was the first since the court-ordered formation of the Woodland Hills School District in 1981 and the only district in Pennsylvania to be formed through a voluntary merger.

“I just think it’s something we should take a look at,” said Moon school director Laura Schisler, who raised the idea at a May 25 board meeting to vote on the closing of an elementary school.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2014/07/07/Moon-schools-eager-to-talk-merger-with-Cornell/stories/201407070045#ixzz36o7qTuSO

Wilkes-Barre Area Expands Study Of Buildings, Approves New Administrator Compensation Plan

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Proposals from companies willing to do a feasibility study of Wilkes-Barre Area’s three high schools haven’t even been submitted yet, but the School Board voted Monday to expand the study to cover all district buildings.

The board also approved a new agreement granting most administrators annual raises between $800 and $1,400 through the 2015-16 school year, an offer Board Member Christine Katsock criticized. She noted the preliminary budget, sure to change before final passage later this month, had a $3.7 million shortfall despite a proposed 2.9 percent property tax increase.

Fear of falling debris from loose facades prompted emergency fencing and entrance closures at Coughlin and Meyers high schools last month, and the board voted to put out requests for proposals for a feasibility study on either repairs of those buildings and GAR High School, or construction of a new high school.

A “pre-proposal meeting” with prospective contractors is scheduled for this morning.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1453620/W-B-Area-expands-study-of-buildings

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Pottstown School Board To Vote On $125K Electrical Outlet Upgrade

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN, PA — The Pottstown School Board’s facilities committee will ask the full board to spend about $125,000 to install an additional 263 outlets in classrooms at Barth Elementary School, the renovation of which was just completed in September.

The much-debated change-order will also replace seven “1950s-era” electrical panels with three modern ones, said Facilities Director Robert Kripplebauer, who made the recommendation.

The outlet changes were requested by teachers, who do not believe the older outlets in the building are adequate or in the right locations. Further, they are not comparable with the more modern outlets that will be in the renovated rooms at Lincoln, Rupert and Franklin elementary schools.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140415/pottstown-school-board-to-vote-on-125k-electrical-outlet-upgrade

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Connellsville Area School Board Hears Option To Consolidation

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Fayette County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Fayette County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Connellsville Area School Board members heard a new option Monday night concerning possible consolidation of the district’s schools.

During the board’s agenda meeting, representatives from Eckles Construction presented what they considered a final draft of the feasibility study, which details eight options that include renovations, school closings and student relocations.

Previously, the directors were presented seven options.

“It’s more of a dramatic study,” said Mark E. Scheller, project architect with Eckles Construction. “And that’s for realigning the district’s grade levels.”

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/fayette/5903323-74/elementary-district-connellsville#ixzz2yKX18buj
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Reading School Board Member Karen McCree Says She’ll Resign

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Following a tumultuous reorganization meeting earlier in the week, longtime Reading School Board member Karen H. McCree has resigned from her position.
McCree said she submitted her resignation to board president Rebecca Acosta Wednesday. The school board released a statement about McCree’s resignation Friday.

Acosta and McCree have butted heads at recent public meetings. The tussle escalated to a heated shouting match at Monday’s reorganization meeting, when Acosta was named president.

McCree just began her 15th year as a member of the school board. Her last board meeting will be Dec. 18 and her resignation will take effect Jan. 3.

“I’ve been thinking about it for a while and there have been some other reasons that I’ve decided that now is the time,” McCree said of her decision Friday.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article/20131207/NEWS/312079964/1052#.UqNbcPSgnuI

Gov. Mifflin School Board Censures Member

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gov. Mifflin School Board member Elaine K. Fiant has been using her position to harass one of the district’s vendors and has repeatedly flooded school administrators with requests for information, her colleagues said Monday night.

On Monday, the board voted 8-1 to censure Fiant, with Fiant voting against the measure.

Board member Jill Koestel read the resolution aloud and said the move came after Fiant recently used her authority on the board “to intimidate and harass” one of the district’s vendors.

“It’s just unfathomable to me,” Koestel said. “It’s so wrong. It’s so inappropriate and so outside your scope as a school board member.”

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=519591

Daniel Boone SD Looks At Drastic Measures – Again

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There were no shocked gasps or yelling this time when Dr. Gary L. Otto, Daniel Boone School District superintendent, went through the proposed cuts to balance the 2014-15 budget.

In fact, when it came time for public comment during Wednesday’s school board finance committee meeting, only three residents from the crowd of 50 asked questions, none of which was specifically about the list of cuts.

That’s because the big reveal was nothing new.

The list of potential cuts is almost a carbon copy of what the board discussed during the budget process last year.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=519157

Reading School District Running Deficit Of Nearly $1 Million

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Four months into the 2013-14 fiscal year, the Reading School District is already running at a nearly $1 million deficit, the school board learned Monday night.

Robert Peters, chief financial officer, presented the board with a status update on the 2013-14 budget at a committee of the whole meeting.

He said unexpected increases in expenses and decreases in revenues have the district facing a $952,000 deficit.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=517608

Shouts And Accusations At Coatesville Area Board Meeting

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CALN — Members of the Coatesville Area School Board continued to bear the brunt of public outrage Tuesday as calls for the removal of the district’s acting superintendent and solicitor dominated a public meeting held over a month after the controversial departure of two former administrators.

At Tuesday night’s regularly scheduled school board committees meeting in the district’s 9/10 Center auditorium, community members again criticized the school board’s handling of the resignations of former Superintendent Richard Como and former Director of Athletics and Activities Jim Donato.

The highlight of the meeting came when Acting Assistant Superintendent Teresa Powell, one of two whistleblowers who uncovered the racist and sexist text messages exchanged on Como and Donato’s district-issued cell phones, took the podium and accused acting Superintendent Angelo Romaniello of exchanging insensitive text messages about her with his predecessor.

According to Powell, the text message transcripts at the center of the district’s ongoing controversy contained exchanges that referenced her by name, and that the now acting superintendent was a key participant in those conversations.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20131009/shouts-and-accusations-at-coatesville-area-board-meeting

Lawyer Alleges Two Harassed In Coatesville

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since exposing racist and sexist texts between the former Coatesville Area School District superintendent and former high school athletic director, two district employees have been subjected to continuing harassment from administrators, including the acting superintendent, a lawyer for the two has alleged.

In an e-mail to the school board Sunday, Sam Stretton also called on acting superintendent Angelo Romaniello to step down.

In response, school board president Neil Campbell issued a statement on behalf of the district, calling Stretton’s claim of harassment “ridiculous.” The district was simply following policy regarding litigation it believed was possibly forthcoming on behalf of the two employees, technology director Abdallah Hawa and Teresa Powell, the acting assistant superintendent, Campbell said.

In a brief phone call Sunday, Romaniello said he “extremely, vehemently disagrees” with Stretton’s allegations. He would not comment further.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/education/20130930_In_Coatesville_schools_scandal__harassment_alleged.html#RruM1UXmkte57k0f.99

Daniel Boone Schools Eye Potential $3.6M Budget Shortfall

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BIRDSBORO, PA — Kindergarten, sports and other large expenditure items will likely be recommended once again for cuts in the Daniel Boone Area School District, the school board president warns.

Board President Andrew Basile, who also serves as chairman of the board’s finance committee, said reduction or elimination of those programs would be one option for the board to reduce an anticipated $3.6 million budget deficit for the 2014-15 school year.

The district avoided steep cuts in programs and activities this year by dipping into its budget reserves.

Dennis Younkin, the district’s interim business manager, provided the finance committee with an updated Act 1 Timeline for 2014-15, a five-year budget analysis, and a 2014-15 proposed budget.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/social-affairs/20130926/daniel-boone-schools-eye-potential-36m-budget-shortfall

Votes Of 2 Coatesville Area School District Board Members Remain Unknown After Stormy Meeting

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

More than 24 hours after the Coatesville Area School Board voted to accept the retirement of its superintendent and the resignation of its athletic and activities director, the votes of two of its board members are still unknown.

The school board on Tuesday night hastily voted 6-to-1 to accept the retirement of former CASD superintendent Richard Como and resignation of former high school Athletic and Activities Director Jim Donato, after both men were found exchanging racially-charged text messages about students and staff using district-issued phones.

School board members Joe Dunn, James Fox, Bill Sweigart, Paul Johnson, Laurie Knecht, and school board President Neil Campbell voted to approve all items on the agenda. Dr. Tanya Thames Taylor was the lone board member who voted against.

According to Campbell, board member Diane Brownfield and board Vice President Rick Ritter were unable to attend the meeting. He said Brownfield recently broke her leg, while Ritter was away in Seattle on business. He said that both members were conferenced into the three-hour meeting.

Read more: http://www.dailylocal.com/social-affairs/20130926/votes-of-2-casd-board-members-remain-unknown-after-stormy-meeting

Coatsville Area School District In Crisis After Racially-Charged Rext Messages Surface

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The abrupt departure of the Coatesville Area School District superintendent and another senior administrator came two weeks after numerous exchanges of inappropriate and racially-charged text messages were discovered on their district-issued cell phones, and multiple sources have indicated that school board officials were not only aware of the exchanges, but were prepared to allow the pair to remain in their positions until the conduct prompted a criminal investigation, the Daily Local News has learned.

The Coatesville Area School Board is expected to formally vote to approve the resignations of former Superintendent Richard Como and former Director of Athletics and Activities Jim Donato at Tuesday’s public meeting.  Como announced his “retirement” through a letter posted on the district’s website on August 29. Reports of Donato’s resignation surfaced several days later.  Both came unexpectedly during the first week of the school year.

Text messages exchanged from school-issued cell phone numbers between Como and Donato contained repeated use of a commonly known derogatory phrase referring to African American or black individuals.  In one instance, the term was used 14 times in one conversation.

The school district has not commented on the resignations, but two sources with knowledge of the situation said the departures were the direct result of discoveries found on Donato’s cell phone. More disturbingly, the sources said the school board was made aware of the text messages and was prepared to allow Como and Donato to remain in their positions until the transcripts were leaked to the Chester County District Attorney’s Office, prompting a criminal investigation.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/social-affairs/20130923/coatsville-area-school-district-in-crisis-after-racially-charged-text-messages-surface

OJR School Board Settles Lawsuit By Ex-Superintendent Myra Forrest

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SOUTH COVENTRY TOWNSHIP, PA—The Owen J. Roberts School Board has closed a lengthy legal chapter by approving a settlement agreement with former Superintendent Myra Forrest.

The agreement puts an end to a legal battle that spanned four years, following Forrest’s 2009 termination.  Forrest had filed a suit with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, seeking damages, although an amount was never made public.  Defendants in the case were the Owen J. Roberts School District, the school board and five former board members.

The matter had been scheduled to go to trial several times, but was postponed each time.  A settlement agreement was reached in June and the case was formally dismissed by the court last month.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement and release, Forrest was given $315,000, to be paid by the district’s insurance company.  That money is intended to cover losses and damages “related to the lawsuit, the superintendent’s contract and/or the employment relationship, or (Forrest’s) separation from her employment and affiliation with defendants,” the language of the agreement states.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20130917/ojr-school-board-settles-lawsuit-by-ex-superintendent-myra-forrest

Scranton School Board Wants Metal Detectors After Ross Township Shooting

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The next time the Scranton School Board meets, members of the public will have to pass through a metal detector.

Just 18 hours after three people were killed at the Ross Township municipal meeting when a gunman opened fire, members of the Scranton School Board on Tuesday authorized the superintendent to have a walk-through metal detector placed at the entrance to the Administration Building.

“I think it’s a wake-up call,” Director Bob Sheridan, a retired police officer, said.  “Any municipal building should have metal detectors at all times.”

Directors were conducting their monthly meeting Monday night when Sheridan received a news alert on his cellphone, alerting him of the shooting.  Sheridan then called for a moment of silence.

Read more: http://www.poconorecord.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130808/NEWS90/308080312

North Schuylkill Distances Itself From Gilberton Police Chief Over YouTube Videos

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Schuylkill County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Schuylkill County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The North Schuylkill Board of Education issued a statement late Thursday it does not “condone or agree” with the YouTube video of board member and Gilberton Police Chief Mark Kessler shooting restricted guns in a profanity-laced tirade.

“His thoughts and feelings portrayed in the content of the videos are not shared by any other member of this Board, the North Schuylkill School District, its administration and faculty and are his and his alone,” the statement said.

The one-paragraph statement, emailed by Board President Charles Hepler, indicated the board or district will not make any more comments and referred questions to Kessler and his attorney.

Kessler could not be reached for comment.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-gilberton-police-chief-north-schuylkill-respons-20130726,0,6158934.story

Reading School Board Makes Budget Progress

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Slowly toiling away, looking at proposed cuts from every angle imaginable, the Reading School Board inched closer and closer to its members’ goal: a balanced budget they can live with.

Following the board’s voting meeting Wednesday night, members stuck around to pick through the administration’s latest proposed 2013-14 spending plan.

They reviewed a list of 18 cuts one by one, taking straw polls to find out which ones have support and which ones don’t.

And, with two days before they plan to vote on a final budget, they appeared to have finally made some big decisions.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=487596

Daniel Boone Board Shuts School; Makes Little Budget Progress

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Daniel Boone School Board didn’t waste time in deciding Monday to shutter Amity Primary Center, but spent more than an hour discussing other budget-related moves with little progress.

Several residents expressed frustration about the slow-moving budget discussion, noting that the same cuts have been on the table since December.

“It just seems like we don’t make decisions,” resident Rich Martino said.  “We push it off meeting after meeting and now we’re up against a deadline and I don’t know if we’re going to make the right decision.”

The board will vote on a tentative $52.45 million budget next week.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=477022

Manheim Township Schools Ban Parents From Eating Lunch With Their Children

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  What a sad reality.

The Manheim Township School District has notified parents that they will no longer be allowed to visit schools to have lunch with their children, a move it says is designed to “ensure a safe learning environment.”

The new policy was approved by the school board on March 21 and is effective May 1.

The policy was described in a letter to parents dated March 22 and signed by the district’s elementary-, intermediate-, middle- and high-school principals.

The letter stated that an exception can be made by each school’s principal if they choose to participate in a celebration such as National Lunch Week.  The new policy would not allow parents to bring “restaurant food from outside sources” during such celebrations, however.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/831066_Manheim-Township-schools-ban-parents-from-eating-lunch-with-their-children.html#ixzz2OqRwcTCx