Kefer Named New Pottstown School Board VP

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN — The school board elected Andrew Kefer as its new vice president Monday night, filling the post left vacant by the Aug. 19 death of Dennis Wausnock .

But Kefer’s election did not happen without some objections.

Hylton argued Monday, “Since we knew we would need a vice president, it would have been appropriate to bring this up for discussion Thursday since (Ron) Williams had already indicated he would not be at tonight’s meeting.”

Hylton proposed tabling the motion, noting that solicitor Stephen Kalis had confirmed there is no legal requirement that a vice president be appointed immediately.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140826/kefer-named-new-pottstown-school-board-vp

Pottstown School Board Will Keep Property Tax Hike To 2.4% State Limit

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN — The Pottstown School Board will limit a property tax increase for the 2013-14 school year to 2.4 percent.

Each year about this time, under the state’s Act 1 legislation, school boards must decide whether to have the administration prepare a preliminary budget for examination, or pledge simply to keep beneath the state-determined index or “cap” for any property tax increases required as part of the budget that gets adopted in June.

The law requires that decision to be made 111 days prior to the spring primary.

That’s because if the board decides it wants to adopt a budget with a tax hike higher than the index allows, it must be approved by voters in that election.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130104/NEWS01/130109843/pottstown-school-board-will-keep-property-tax-hike-to-2-4-state-limit#full_story

Pottstown Chooses Sparagana As New Schools Chief

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN, PA — The school district’s acting superintendent became its official superintendent Thursday night when the school board unanimously approved a three-year contract for Jeff Sparagana worth more than $173,000 a year.

The vote came almost three months to the day after Reed Lindley abruptly resigned as Pottstown Superintendent.

In a vote that appeared nowhere on the night’s school board agenda, Sparagana was provided with a contract that ends on June 30, 2016.

His term begins immediately.   Sparagana’s “aggregate annual salary” will be $173,624, according to the terms of the contract, explained after the vote by School District Solicitor Stephen Kalis.

Pottstown School Board Rejects Second Look At School Project Plans

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN — With a 7-3 vote Thursday night, the school board rejected a proposal to suspend work on designing additions to three elementary schools to allow the potential to save as much as $6.5 million to be explored.

The proposal, made by school board member Thomas Hylton, sought to take advantage of a recent change in long-standing state policy that was made with the passage of the most recent budget in Harrisburg.

Throughout the many years of discussion on the elementary school project, it has been state policy that it will not provide reimbursement to any school construction project that does not eliminate the use of modular classrooms.

The need to meet this requirement is among those driving the decision to add between 12 to 14 classrooms in additions to Rupert, Lincoln and Franklin elementary schools, which is where the $24 million project now stands.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20120803/NEWS01/120809803/pottstown-school-board-rejects-second-look-at-school-project-plans&pager=full_story

Montco Commissioners Tell Pottstown The Era Of The “Big Check” Is Over

Editor’s note:  What else is new.  The county is over involved in Pottstown‘s affairs and has helped to create a great deal of the problems Pottstown and Norristown both face by making them the dumping group for Section 8 Housing and social services.  Now we just wash our hands and say “see ya”.  Typical!

POTTSTOWN, Pa. — Say goodbye to the big, giant check.

That was one of several messages Montgomery County Commissioners Josh Shapiro and Leslie Richards had for Pottstown officials last week during a rare joint meeting of borough council, school board and members of the board of Pottstown Area Industrial Development, or PAID.

Officially, the joint meeting was also the required annual meeting of PAID at which the executive director, Steve Bamford, is required to give a report on the activities of the year before.

But since Bamford was not hired until November, there was not much to tell.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20120529/NEWS01/120529365/montco-commissioners-tell-pottstown-era-of-the-big-check-is-over-(video)

Pottstown School Board Reorganization Holds Promise Of Positive Change

Last night the Friends of Pottstown Public Education candidates Judyth Zahora, Mary-Beth Lydon and Andrew Kefer took their places as members of the Pottstown School Board.  The three candidates were able to win school director seats in the November election, despite Mr. Hylton’s attempts to sway the voting public with his high-gloss, smear-tactic postcards.  Pottstown voters were not taken in a second time by the eleventh hour negative campaigning waged by Tartan Tom’s political action committee, Citizens For Responsible Government.  Citizens For Responsible Government is run out of Mr. Hylton’s Chestnut Street home aka Mount Olympus.

It would seem Pottstown is getting tired of Mr. Hylton’s meddling in our affairs.  The borough was the first group to untangle themselves from Mr. Hylton’s death-grip involvement by making the Shade Tree Commission obsolete and taking control of Pottstown’s shade trees.  Mr. Hylton also lost his support and was not returned to the Planning Commission after twelve disastrous years which brought us revolutionary concepts like back-in angle parking.

Now it would seem Mr. Hylton’s grip on the school board has been pried loose by the election of the Friends of Pottstown Public Education block of candidates.  Last night, Judyth Zahora was elected President of the Pottstown School Board.  Mrs. Zahora is not unfamiliar with this role as she was President before.  Robert Hartman was sworn in as Vice-President.  While Mr. Hartman was not a Friends of Pottstown Public Education candidate, his actions show he is very much like-minded.

Now that sanity has been restored to the school board and Mr. Hylton has been neutralized, we can look forward to fiscally responsible decisions being made.  We can also look forward to transparency and accountability being returned with the dissolving of the Neighborhood Schools Committee, Mr. Hylton being removed as sole “liaison” on the $15 million renovation project and the mandatory use of school district email to conduct business!  No more “secret” conversations between select school board members or the board being controlled by one person.  We elect nine people for a reason! The job is too large for any one person, even if they are a god-like being of superior intelligence, with a penchant for plaid.

We congratulate Mrs. Zahora and Mr. Hartman.  We wish them much success, along with the other new members of the school board.  The task is daunting, but we voted you into these positions because we have faith and confidence you will make the best decisions for the education of our children and the fiscal health of our school district and borough.

Friends Of Pottstown Public Education Candidates Win School Director Seats

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Image via Wikipedia

We would like to extend our most sincere congratulations to Judyth Zahora, Andrew Kefer and Mary-Beth Lydon for each winning a seat on the Pottstown School Board!  The Friends of Pottstown Public Education candidates ran as a block and they will help return the voice of reason to the Pottstown School Board.  

Judy, Mary-Beth and Andrew will join Robert Hartman and Polly Weand in keeping Mr. Hylton’s ego and spending in check!  Had Mr. Hylton’s hand-picked candidates won, it would have given Mr. Hylton carte blanche on the renovations, which Pottstown taxpayers cannot afford!

Many thanks to the Pottstown voters who turned out today and exercised their right to vote in a free election, as guaranteed by our constitution.

Pottstown School Board Director Election Results

It appears congratulations are in order for Mary-Beth Lydon, Andrew Kefer and Judyth Zahora for winning spots on the November Democratic Ballot for Pottstown School Director.  Sadly, Amy Francis and Michele Pargeon will not be joining their running mates from the Friends Of Pottstown Public Education.  Code Blue will now have two candidates on the November ballot.

Voter turn out was pathetically low.  I suppose people do not think Primary Elections are important and make no effort to vote.  However, by not voting in the Primary Election you are allowing others to dictate your choices in November.  This is how good candidates are removed from voter consideration while others creep in by default.

Glossy smear-tactic postcards evidently did the trick for the five candidates Mr. Hylton supported via his Pottstown Citizens For Responsible Government political action committee.  Hopefully in November voters will turn out in greater numbers and do more research before voting.  Otherwise the Pottstown School Board will become a one-way voting block.

In other election news, Roy’s Rants congratulates Sixth Ward Councilor and “man of the people” Jody Rhoads for his re-election victory.  Jody handily defeated his opponent and will be running unopposed in November!  “Fight When You’re Right”

We thank everyone who voted today and exercised their constitutional right to take part in a free election.  Your vote does make a difference.

Power to the Pottstown People!

Pennsylvania Primary Election, Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Image via Wikipedia

Tomorrow’s election is crucial to the progress of Pottstown.  Everyone needs to get out and vote!

The Pottstown School Board race will decide how well the school district and the borough continue to work together.  If we are going to move forward as a community, cooperation between these two bodies is essential.  We can continue to work together or go back to infighting and agendas, which have gotten us exactly nowhere.   The choice is yours, but at least make a choice and vote!

If you truly want “citizens for responsible government” running Pottstown, then Friends of Pottstown Public Education and Sixth Ward Councilor Jody Rhoads need your vote tomorrow and NOT the people on the glossy postcards from 222 Chestnut Street (that have flooded our mailboxes in the last several days).

Friends Of Pottstown Public Education Seek Your Vote On May 17th

A group of five dedicated people are seeking your vote in the Pennsylvania Primary Election next Tuesday, May 17th.  Michele Pargeon, Amy Bathurst Francis, Mary-Beth Lydon, Andrew Kefer and Judyth Zahora are running as a team for election to the Pottstown School Board.

Their motto, “A New Perspective Built On Experience” means this group of candidates supports public education aka the Pottstown School District.  Listening, making children the first priority, making sure good teachers are fairly paid, ensuring our schools are safe, ensuring the school district has the tools it needs to get the job done, understanding education and giving taxpayers, parents and children a strong voice are what this group will bring to the table.

These people recognize that the Pottstown School District and the Borough of Pottstown are linked and must work together for economic development and the betterment of our community.  If one sneezes the other caches cold.  The borough and school district must work together if Pottstown is to turn the corner.  This group will ensure that the forward momentum in an era of new found cooperation between the borough and school district continues.

The right team for Pottstown School Board!

A New Perspective Built On Experience: An Interview With Pottstown School Board Candidates

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Image via Wikipedia

I had the pleasure to sit down with four of five Pottstown School Board candidates running as a group.  Their slogan is “A new perspective built on experience.”  We had a spirited discussion about the issues facing Pottstown School District, Pottstown Borough and where we need to head.

Andrew Kefer (Pottstown Planning Commission, Pottstown Community Land Trust)

Amy Francis (former Pottstown School Board member and Code Blue cofounder)

Michele Pargeon (current Pottstown School Board member and a volunteer with many community activities)

Mary-Beth Lydon (Community Land Trust, Code Blue)

Judyth Zahora (former Pottstown School Board member and Pottstown School District Treasurer) are running as a block of concerned citizens who support “public education in Pottstown” and are not looking to “save buildings”.

Our conversation touched on many subjects facing PSD.  The school district’s financial sustainability is a core issue for the group.  Pottstown has long relied on state and federal government funding.  Those days are coming to an end.  PSD needs to find more private funding and be open to new ideas in these trying economic times.  Before these people would take office, if elected, the Task Force will have already made recommendations that will shape the school district’s future.  This group will need to carry out the recommendations of the Task Force.  Finding ways to increase efficiencies and working with the Borough of Pottstown to increase property values are key goals.  Pottstown School District and Pottstown Borough share the same space and are thereby linked together.  If one sneezes, the other catches cold.

Andrew Kefer, Mary-Beth Lydon and Michele Pargeon have lived in Pottstown for between 6 – 10 years.  Amy Francis grew up in Pottstown and graduated from Pottstown High School.  Judyth Zahora was unable to join us due to previously scheduled commitment, but her bio states she has lived in Pottstown for about 25 years and has been very involved with the PSD.  Four of the five candidates have children in PSD.  All are homeowners and have invested in Pottstown.  These candidates want to improve the quality of life and educational opportunities for all residents of Pottstown.

Working for the common good, exploring possibilities and belief in Pottstown are qualities these five people have.  This group wants to build up leaders for tomorrow.  Today’s children are the future and will one day be running Pottstown.  We need to create opportunities to keep our young people here and stop the brain drain.  In order to accomplish this arduous task, people need to “leave their egos and politics at the door” and work for the betterment of the community.   Being respectful, agreeing to disagree, civility, and being open to new ideas and different perspectives is the group’s strength.

A crucial issue is Pottstown’s eroding tax base and the already high taxes.  PSD needs to work hand in hand with the borough to attract middle class residents, business and industry to Pottstown to stabilize neighborhoods, cut taxes and provide gainful employment for residents.  The school district and the borough have started working more closely together and we hope this continues!  These candidates would make sure this new-found cooperation does continue.

The group feels PSD needs to market itself better and emphasis its strengths, like PSD’s nationally recognized PEAK program.  The district’s high transient rate creates extra challenges and cost.  With a more stable population of homeowners, the transient rate would naturally decline.  Economic development, revitalization, blight eradication and a vibrant downtown are needed to stabilize the tax base and the school district.

Many thanks to these candidates for taking time out of their Saturday morning to discuss the issues with Roy’s Rants.  The primary is May 17, 2011.  Educate yourselves on the issues and make sure to vote!

For more information about the candidates and their campaign you can check out their website at http://votefppe.org/