Pottstown Schools Eye Eliminating Class Rank

POTTSTOWN, PA — To rank or not to rank?

That may soon be the question.
Class rank has been a staple of high school life, and college admissions, for years beyond count.

But school board member Polly Weand raised the possibility at the Nov. 21 school board meeting that Pottstown may soon opt-out of the practice.

Weand, who chairs the school board’s curriculum and technology, said the discussion is underway at her committee, which presumably will make a recommendation to the full board, perhaps as soon as January.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20131128/pottstown-schools-eye-eliminating-class-rank

Pottstown Council, School Board Want To Work Closer

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

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

Editor’s note:  Two Roy’s Rants thumbs up to Acting Superintendent Jeff Sparagana for being proactive!

POTTSTOWN — When it comes to getting along, it could be said that the borough and school district governments in Pottstown sometimes get along like siblings on a long car trip.

Acting Schools Superintendent Jeff Sparagana is among the first to admit that and did so Wednesday when he told borough council that “it is important to acknowledge and recognize there have been breakdowns in the relationship between the borough and the school district in the past.”

But he was also the first to offer an olive branch in pursuit of a new era of cooperation.

Appearing before council during the Wednesday work session, Sparagana prefaced a presentation of the district’s land development plans for Rupert, Franklin and Lincoln elementary schools with a statement — and an apology.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20121209/NEWS01/121209423/pottstown-council-school-board-want-to-work-closer#full_story

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

He’s Back In The Saddle Again – Thomas Hylton’s Neighborhood Schools Committee Rises From The Ashes

You may remember a while back that Mr. Hylton and his Neighborhood Schools Committee (NSC) were reigned in by the board for operating outside the normal limits of a committee.  They were placed under the Facilities Committee so that decisions would be made that included the entire board, not just “selected members”.

Oh, how times have changed.  Mr. Hylton’s power grab has landed him back in the catbird seat once again.  Mr. Hylton now has a majority of five votes on the board that will predictably go his way.  The NSC is now unfettered and free to act without the pesky interference of those other four trouble makers on the board who disagree with him.

On August 8th, the NSC held an 18 minute meeting to discuss a few issues.  Chairman Dennis Wausnock and Committee members Valerie Harris and Thomas Hylton were in attendance.  Déjà vu anyone.  There were some others in attendance, members of the administration, two other board members, Crabtree and Rohrbaugh folks and a couple of spectators.  Just a cozy little group, the way Mr. Hylton likes it :)

Mr. Thees (a former board member) asked some pointed questions:

  1. Will the cost summary be provided to the public?
  2. Mr. Thees asked about those darned historical windows that keep popping up.
  3. Is four weeks enough time for Crabtree and Rohrbaugh to go through the list?
  4. Why is Mr. Hylton the sole representative on the board for this project?

Mrs. Weand asked Mr. Hylton if the other eight members of the board are not to be involved in the day-to-day decisions.  Mr. Hylton replied that the board decided the Neighborhood Schools Committee has been appointed to oversee the work.  Ms. Harris chimed in that every board member has a say but that Mr. Hylton is the point person for the day-to-day dealings.   (The answer to Mrs. Weand’s question is a resounding NO!).

So Crabtree and Rohrbaugh have four weeks to provide a timeline to the NSC on the completion of renovations to Pottstown’s five elementary schools.  Of course, this motion passed with three yes votes.

Another motion was passed to authorize the preliminary work necessary to issue the $15 million bond ASAP.

Of course, the NSC voted to make Mr. Hylton the sole point of day-to-day contact between the PSD administration, Crabtree and Rohrbaugh, Stephen Kalis and others involved in the upgrade of our five elementary schools.

A motion was made and passed to develop a contingency plan for emergency student housing if the construction takes longer than anticipated.  (We can only imagine what this will entail!)

Eighteen minutes later, Mr. Hylton made the motion to adjourn.

Future meetings will be on an “as needed basis”.  (Sounds like the Shade Tree Commission)

If this doesn’t raise a few eyebrows then I am not sure what will.  Mr. Hylton has made himself Elementary Emperor.  He will be the only board member involved in this process and has effectively shut out the other seven elected school board directors from the day-to-day process of spending $15 million dollars to “band aid” five school buildings.

Does this seem unusual to anyone else?

You know those historical windows will end up in Rupert.  What you don’t know is that those windows will enrich the quality of education in the Pottstown School District tremendously.  Why I bet they will even make test scores in the high school go up to meet the state required levels.  The sense of pride in those historical windows will inspire our students to greatness.

Just another day in Pottstown.

Pottstown School Board/Administration Speak Out Against Thomas Hylton’s Propaganda Blitz

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County
Image via Wikipedia

One can hardly pick up a print edition of the Pottstown Quicksilver these days without seeing some sort of advertorial from Pottstown Citizens For Responsible Government Treasurer and School Board Director Thomas Hylton.  Mr. Hylton has tried to sway public opinion about all things Pottstown School District for some time.

Recently, Mr. Hylton went on the attack against Pottstown Superintendent of Schools Dr. Reed Lindley, current school board directors, school board candidates and the Task Force.  Things came to a head at last Thursday’s school board meeting when Dr. Lindley, Director Polly Weand and Director Robert Hartman called Mr. Hylton on the carpet for his campaign of misinformation directed toward Dr. Lindley, fellow school board members and the Task Force.

Evan Brandt’s coverage of the meeting and the background information leading up to Mr. Hylton’s tongue-lashing by Lindley, Weand and Hartman was well documented and unbiased.  I am glad to see that Mr. Hylton’s monetary contributions to the local print newspaper are not buying him “protection” from scrutiny.  Frankly, I think today’s front page article portrays Mr. Hylton in an unfavorable yet realistic light.  It’s about time!

We still think Mr. Hylton should turn over the money from Trees Inc. to the borough. 

If Mr. Hylton truly cared about Pottstown, he would stop wasting money on ridiculous advertorials, supplements and glossy post cards and use that money for something constructive.  The tens of thousands of dollars wasted could have been used for the Community Land Trust, the PDIDA Main Street Manager program, to fund a downtown ambassador program, the Pottstown Cluster or any number of projects that would benefit the citizens of Pottstown.  Instead, this money was squandered to feed Tom’s massive ego and to advance one man’s agenda.  It was not used to make a positive difference in the community he supposedly cares so much about. 

Maybe voters should think about that when election time rolls around!

New Pottstown School Board Woes

Once again, another group in this town that can not get along.  Problem number one is a certain bossy tree hugger who knows everything.  I am tired of agendas.

Clearly there are more important things to worry about than energy efficient windows and geo-thermal heating for our elementary schools.  If  the district had extra money lying around and could afford to invest in a project this big (like Manheim Central School District in Lancaster County) that would be another story.

Comparing Pottstown SD to Manheim Central SD is apples and oranges.  I lived in Lancaster County for a number of years and am familiar with Manheim Central SD (which is mostly middle and upper middle class residents).

I must agree with Polly Weand.  We have no idea what could be uncovered when we start replacing things.  If we have an asbestos problem where will the extra money come from to pay for that? Also, the district and the town are already cash strapped so where is the extra money to pay for a no interest loan?  Loans require repayment, whether there is interest or not.  What Mr. Hylton should be looking for is GRANTS and other free money that does not cost taxpayers more money aka a TAX HIKE.

The remaining members of the board need to shut Hylton down before he gets us suckered into something else Pottstown can ill afford.

You could always donate your $93,000.00 from the tree fund to help pay for this. Your precious trees do not pay taxes, Tom!