Boyertown School Board Hires Superintendent

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

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

The Boyertown School Board has hired a new superintendent whose experience with building projects should help the district as it prepares to renovate and expand the high school, officials said Thursday.

Dr. Richard Faidley, 44, who has spent the last two years as superintendent of the Derry Township School District in Dauphin County, was hired by an 8-0 vote on Tuesday.  His salary was set at $165,000.

The board chose Faidley partly because he’s a strong leader and has construction knowledge, said board President Gwen W. Semmens.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=495561

Last-Minute Budget Proposal Includes 2 Cuts

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

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

Dr. Carlinda Purcell waited until the very last minute – literally.

At 4:59 p.m., just moments before a 5 p.m. deadline, the Reading School District superintendent sent an email to school board members with a proposal to close a gap in the district’s 2013-14 budget.

The deadline was set at a meeting Tuesday night after Purcell told the board the $213.6 million budget that was passed June 28 had a $180,000 hole.  The announcement drew criticism from board members frustrated by the budget process and a demand that the administration fix the problem by the end of the business day Wednesday.

James Washington II, board vice president, confirmed he received an email from Purcell at 4:59 p.m.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=493735

Reading School Budget Would Raise Taxes

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

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

The group of about 25 spectators gathered inside the Reading School District‘s board room Monday, made up mostly of district employees, waited patiently.

They waited as the board discussed an administrative job chart.  Waited through detailed questions about a bond.  Waited through a two-hour executive session where the board discussed personnel.

They waited.  And waited.  And waited some more.

“They’re trying to get us to leave,” a member of the crowd remarked.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=487166

For At Least 20 Years, Interlocking Problems Have Plagued Wilkinsburg Schools

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United ...

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

In the Wilkinsburg School District, almost half of students don’t graduate.

A third of students have been involved in incidents that threatened school safety.  On state tests, 86.4 percent of 11th graders aren’t proficient in math and 68.3 percent aren’t proficient in reading.

The district is hemorrhaging students to charter schools.  It borrowed $3 million for general operating expenses and has furloughed about 80 teachers in the past three years.

Some residents are taken aback when asked for their assessment of the district, seeing it as self-evident that the district has already fallen off the cliff.

“Honestly, it’s too far gone,” said Wilkinsburg resident Stephanie Shea.  “Code blue happened a while ago.  At this point, it needs to be totally dismantled.”

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/news/education/for-at-least-20-years-interlocking-problems-have-plagued-wilkinsburg-schools-691087/#ixzz2VpYDUujs

11th-Hour Withdrawal Restarts Boyertown’s Superintendent Search

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

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

The Boyertown School Board was so close.

After a monthslong superintendent search, the board had selected a candidate and agreed on a contract.

The last step was his appointment, which at one point was expected to take place Tuesday.

But to begin Tuesday’s meeting, board President Gwen W. Semmens made this announcement instead:

“We had a potential candidate who withdrew at the very last moment.  We’ll be looking for new candidates.”

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=477464

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

Governor Mifflin Administrator Pushes For Maximum Tax Hike

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

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

The $1.88 million shortfall in the Gov. Mifflin School District’s 2013-14 budget draft could turn into a surplus if the board continues with a proposal to raise taxes the most state law will allow, administrators said Monday.

The district had thought the nearly 5 percent tax hike would fall short of balancing the $64.67 million preliminary budget the school board approved last month.  But Business Manager Mark R. Naylon told the board Monday that the district would be able to save more money than expected.

Even with the rosier financial outlook, Naylon urged the board to continue making budget cuts where it can and to still consider the maximum increase, which would raise the tax rate by 1.186 mills.

“When you have something available, you have to take advantage of it,” he said.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=463406

Berks School Boards Face More Tough Choices In 2013-14 Budget Process

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

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

It’s looking like another tough budget season for school districts across Berks County.

Of the 13 local districts that have prepared preliminary budgets, all but one spending plan included significant shortfalls, ranging from about $400,000 to $2.2 million.

Muhlenberg’s budget doesn’t have a gap, but it currently includes a property tax increase larger than the state permits.

Budget gaps among districts can be somewhat hard to compare, because some include tax increases or major cuts in their preliminary budgets while others don’t.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=454915

Reading School District Short Millions; Lawmakers Want Audit

Officials in the Reading School District announced the discovery of an accounting error that has left the district short more than $15 million.

Board President Robert F. Heebner Jr. said revenues for the 2010-11 school year were overstated by about $15.6 million. Heebner said it is still unclear which revenues were misstated.

That number could change, he said, as the district is still working on digging up all the facts about the incident.

The mistake was missed in audits of the district last year but popped onto the radar during an audit of the 2011-12 school year, which is taking place now.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=441680

Scranton School Board Passes Budget With No Tax Increase

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

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

Scranton residents will see one tax bill stay the same for 2013.

The Scranton School Board on Thursday night unanimously approved a $120.4 million budget that calls for no tax increase.

With a city tax increase of about 25 percent and a 4 percent increase in Lackawanna County taxes, Scranton school directors said they wanted to give residents a break.

Directors had been looking at a tax increase of 1.35 percent, but with interest rates for tax anticipation notes coming in lower than expected, finding additional health care savings and using $1.18 million in capital improvement money to pay down debt, officials balanced the budget.

Read more:  http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/scranton-school-board-passes-budget-with-no-tax-increase-1.1422154

Daniel Boone School Board Proposes Cutting All Programs, Laying Off 40 To Balance Budget

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

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

BIRDSBORO — For the first time in the recent history of the Daniel Boone School District, the following year’s budget is balanced in December.

District administration achieved that zero deficit with the maximum tax increase allowed with the use of two exceptions through Act 1 of 2006, eliminating kindergarten and all student activities including sports and band, and furloughing 40 professional staff.

The board hasn’t approved the budget, though, nor any of those revenue and expenditure measures.

Board President Andrew Basile said in a budget meeting last night that it won’t do that until next June unless concessions can be reached through its contractual partners, or unless there would be additional state revenue.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20121207/NEWS01/121209541/daniel-boone-board-proposes-cutting-all-programs-laying-off-40-to-balance-budget

Twin Valley Considers Shorter School Day

Faced with a projected shortfall of $1.2 million for 2013-14, Twin Valley School District officials met with residents Wednesday to explore trimming costs in ways that students wouldn’t notice.

But administrators acknowledged there was one exception to that goal: a compacted school day.

“This is why you’re all here,” acknowledged Dr. Robert F. Pleis, superintendent.

More than 50 district residents attended the town hall-style meeting at Twin Valley Elementary Center, where a team of administrators detailed cost-cutting options that emerged from focus groups earlier this year.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=432046

$52 Million To Fix Worst Building Problems In Reading School District

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

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

Years of neglect have left the Reading School District with a host of buildings in desperate need of repairs.

Upgrades are needed to heating systems, windows, fire safety systems, roofs and a number of other areas.

Reading has about $56 million available in bond funds for construction, and officials are in the process of figuring out how to spend it.

Michael Kautter of Kautter & Kelley Architects, who was hired to do a feasibility study, recently updated the school board on the status of the enormous project. In all, the feasibility study found nearly $83 million in needed repairs throughout the district.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=413023

Reading School District Debt Called Near Its Limit

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

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

The financial picture for the Reading School District isn’t pretty.

That news should come as no surprise as the district is fresh off a rough budget process that saw dozens of employees laid off and five schools closed.

But exactly where the district stands may not have been crystal clear.

That’s why the business office put together a special presentation this week to fill the Reading School Board in on the district’s financial trends.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=412937

A Promise To End Bus Mix-Ups In Reading School District

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

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

Editor’s note:  I am not filled with confidence after reading this.

In the wake of a week of busing mix-ups that left parents searching for their children, Reading School District officials are working on a new plan to make sure students get safely to where they’re supposed to be.

Dr. Carlinda Purcell, superintendent, said Friday that the district believes talks with the Berks County Intermediate Unit, which the district contracts with for busing, have resulted in a new plan that will fix the district’s transportation woes. Purcell said she hopes the plan will make the second week of the school year run smoother than the first.

“By the end of next week, all these issues will be resolved,” she said.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=412577

6-Year-Old Missing For Hours After Bus Mix-Up

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

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

Editor’s note:  As the grandparent of a six-year-old granddaughter, this would send me about over the edge!  Many thanks to Reading Police Office Chevron Salata for finding Adriann.

For more than four terrifying hours, Brenda McMullen and her family were left to imagine the worst.

McMullen’s 6-year-old grandson, Adriann Flemming Jr., was missing on Wednesday.  And those who love the little boy had no idea where to find him.

The ordeal was the result of yet another Reading School District busing mistake, a problem that has plagued the district during the opening week of school.

In this instance, Adriann was put on the wrong bus after school at 16th & Haak Elementary School and taken to the wrong day care center.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=412488

Fired Administrators Sue Reading School District For More Than $150,000 In Damages

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

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

A group of administrators suddenly fired in April by the Reading School District has filed a lawsuit seeking more than $150,000 in damages.

The administrators claim the district violated the terms of their employment contracts by not providing 30 days’ notice before terminating the contracts.

After a series of retirements and resignations of several top administrators following the 2010-11 school year, the district found itself in need of a leadership team.  The district turned to a group of retired administrators who had been working with the district through the state’s Distinguished Educator Program.

The district hired several administrators, including acting superintendent J. Drue Miles, on a temporary basis.  They were asked to lead the district for up to a year, or at least until the district was able to permanently fill the slots.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=412251

Personnel Shifts Reduce Pottstown School District’s Administration

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN, PA — Departures and changes of personnel over the summer have the Pottstown School District scrambling to cover responsibilities and, at the same time, use the opportunity to “do more with less.”

A number of key administrators are retiring, or have found other jobs, it was revealed at Thursday’s school board meeting.

Among those leaving are Rita Cohen, who is supervisor of secondary special education who is retiring, and Jerry Umamarino, assistant high school principal and Lincoln Elementary Principal Loretta Hoch, both of whom have found employment elsewhere.

The sequence of those departures has forced the Pottstown administration to re-configure and re-configure again, who will be responsible for what and how things will change for the coming school year.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20120722/NEWS01/120729777/personnel-shifts-reduce-pottstown-schools-administration

Reading School District Seeks 14 Administrators; Teachers Union Upset

Just two days after passing a 2012-13 budget that laid off more than 200 employees, the Reading School District is looking to hire – and the teachers union isn’t very happy about it.

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

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipediaust two days after passing a 2012-13 budget that laid off more than 200 employees, the Reading School District is looking to hire – and the teachers union isn’t very happy about it.

In an email sent to staff Friday, the district announced that it is looking to fill 14 administrative positions. Some are existing positions currently vacant, while others are new.

But despite appearances, district officials said, the district is not opening up its budget to create new positions.

Calling the job listings a wish list for newly hired superintendent Dr. Carlinda Purcell, school board President Yvonne L. Stroman said only seven or eight of the positions will likely be filled when school begins this fall. Stroman said only positions included in the district’s $220 million budget – such as director of secondary education and director of special education – will be filled.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=396900

Boyertown School District Banking On Ads For Revenue

A year ago, Jim Bozzini came before the Boyertown School Board as a parent and taxpayer to suggest a new way for the cash-strapped district to raise money: advertisements.

Now the board is turning to Bozzini, president of School Media Marketing, Gilbertsville, to deliver on his suggestion and solicit advertisements for the district.

The board has approved a three-year contract with Bozzini, the lone bidder, that will give School Media Marketing a 20 percent commission on advertising proceeds.

Officials have estimated $25,000 in first-year profits for the district and say, based on the experience of other districts, that the number could grow to six figures in future years.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=396640