Owen J Robert SD Loses $2 Million A Year Under Lowered Coventry Mall Tax Assessment

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 unanimously approved a real estate tax appeal settlement with Coventry Retail, LP, that lowers the assessed value of the Coventry Mall from $98 million in 2012 to $23.2 million in 2014.

The reassessment will equate to a loss of about $2 million a year in property tax revenues to the district.

In addition to the revenue loss, the agreement is retroactive to 2012, so the district will have to repay mall owners $1,619,799 of taxes paid in 2012, 2013 and 2014. In accordance with the agreement, $650,000 of that will be paid in cash within 60 days, according to attorney David L. Allebach Jr., who represented the board on this matter. The remaining funds will be credited to the mall against future taxes,

District officials had anticipated that cost and have reserved the full $1.6 million, according to district Chief Financial Officer Jaclin Krumrine. Therefore, the district has the $650,000 on hand to pay back the mall owner. The remaining nearly $1 million will help balance the 2014-15 budget to make up for the tax credit the mall will receive during that fiscal year.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/social-affairs/20140129/ojr-loses-2m-a-year-under-lowered-coventry-mall-tax-assessment

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Tri-County High School Art Exhibit At MCCC West Campus In Pottstown

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

High school students from Montgomery, Chester and Berks counties will showcase their artwork at Montgomery County Community College’s first Tri-County High School Art Exhibition and Competition at its Fine Arts Gallery, North Hall, 16 High Street, Pottstown.

The exhibition opens Monday, Jan. 13, and will continue through Friday, Feb. 21. The artists’ reception will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 29, from 5-7 p.m. with the awards presentation at 6 p.m. Both the exhibit and the reception are free and open to the community.

Students from approximately 20 public, parochial and private schools were invited to participate in the exhibition. The artwork features a variety of subjects and styles in an array of media. College art faculty members will be judging the artwork.

More details: http://calendar.mc3.edu/EventList.aspx?view=EventDetails&eventidn=1772&information_id=2563&type=&syndicate=syndicate

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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

September Hearing Is First Step In $38M Renovation At Owen J. Roberts

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 unanimously set Sept. 26 as the date for the public hearing on its $19 million renovation and expansion plan for East Vincent Elementary School.

Business Administrator Jaclin Krumrine said the hearing, which is required by law and is the primary opportunity for the public to comment on the first phase of the proposal, will be held at 7 p.m. the school itself, which is located at 340 Ridge Road.

Following the hearing, the district hopes to put the full project out for bid in “late November, early December,” she said.

The renovations at East Vincent are part of a three phase project that will take several years and cost taxpayers about $38 million.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130829/NEWS01/130829428/september-hearing-is-first-step-in-38m-renovation-at-owen-j-roberts

Stalled Owen J Roberts Contract Talks Lead To Teacher Slowdown

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

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

SOUTH COVENTRY — The stalled contract negotiations between the Owen J. Roberts School District and its teachers union has gone public.

The teachers have been working without a contract since June 30 and the two sides have been negotiating, quietly for the most part, for 15 months.

However the failure to reach an agreement about wages has raised the stakes and the rhetoric in the matter and the teachers union have instructed their members to work only to the specific language of the expired contract and cease all extra and voluntary activities.

School Board President Douglas K. Hughes reacted by issuing a letter to the district Tuesday, which was also   posted on the district web site, announcing that the teachers union had decided to “work to contract,” explaining they would “work only to the contractually obligated hours” and informing residents and taxpayers the union had asked their members “not to participate in any unpaid activities.”

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130328/NEWS01/130329308/stalled-ojr-contract-talks-lead-to-teacher-slowdown#full_story

OJR School Enrollments Predicted Down Over Next 10 Years

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

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

SOUTH COVENTRY — Enrollments in the Owen J. Roberts School District are expected to remain flat or even decrease over the next ten years, according to new enrollment projections presented to the board at a recent committee of the whole meeting.

Projections show the overall student population rising slightly through 2016, from the current 5,121 students to 5,240. If the projections prove true, the numbers will begin dropping in 2017, when 5,233 students are expected to be registered, rising and falling in some years, but hitting 5,218 students in 2022.

Those predictions, presented by Director of Pupil Services Holly W. Acosta, are based on a new study by Decision Insite, an enrollment impact firm which looks at kindergarten enrollments, planned residential developments, and student cohorts through each grade level.

The numbers are a far cry from the steady growth the district had been experiencing in the past, with district wide enrollments climbing by over 1,000 students in 10 years, from 4,050 in 2002 to 5,121 in 2012.  That’s a reflection of the economy and the dip in the housing market which has put a number of large scale development projects on hold, according to Superintendent Michael Christian.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130118/NEWS01/130119426/ojr-school-enrollments-predicted-down-over-next-10-years-#full_story

FOOTBALL: Mohler’s Memorable Moments Spark Pottstown

BUCKTOWN — Some folks look at Pottstown’s Dayon Mohler and see a ballhawking safety.

Others fancy the Trojans’ junior as an effective running back.

Pottstown coach Brett Myers, however, has an even more succinct way of describing the 5-foot-11, 157-pound Mohler.

“I’d classify him as a good football player,” Myers said.

So would the majority of the folks who witnessed Thursday’s annual Thanksgiving Day Pioneer Athletic Conference showdown between the Trojans and Owen J. Roberts at Wildcat Stadium.

Mohler saw more action than a retail store parking lot on Black Friday in helping the Trojans overall close out their first non-losing season in 10 years with a 26-21 victory over the Wildcats.

Read more:

http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20121122/SPORTS01/121129765/football-mohler-s-memorable-moments-spark-pottstown#full_story

Owen J. Roberts Media Circus Back In Town

Looks like the rumor mill is running full-tilt at the Fishwrap online over the new OJR Superintendent of Schools leaving.  The OJR School Board rushed to hire a replacement for wrongfully terminated Myra Forrest and less than two years later the new guy resigns.  All the details are “confidential”??  Smells like day-old fish guts to me.

Despite all the “drama” this has caused and the pall it has cast over the Owen J. Roberts School District, the students suffer when there are too many turnovers.  It seems more than coincidental that this guy is “outta here” already.  If it is just “bad timing” then more of an explanation is due OJR taxpayers without violating anyone’s “confidentiality”.

The board owes it to OJR taxpayers and students to do a better job of selecting a candidate who is “in it for the long haul”.  Continuity is important and we are talking about educating our children – not hiring someone to run the fryer at Mickey D’s.  You had a perfectly good superintendent, who was totally committed to the district, and you fired her for no good reason!

Two thumbs down for more drama!