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.

10 comments on “Pottstown School Board Reorganization Holds Promise Of Positive Change

  1. Roy, I’m also glad that sanity has been restored to the school board. Judy is an excellent leader, and I’m confident she and the others will do a fine job. However, I believe Mr. Hylton’s and Ms. Harris’ terms are up next year. And, I think, 5 seats will be up for reelection next year. So it’s not too early to form a plan and find the right candidates to continue this board’s work. For what it’s worth, the public is tired of all the changes, right or wrong, that have gone on over the past years with regards to the elementary schools. I would hate to have this school board work on a financially responsible plan, only to have it derailed next November.

  2. I’m sure the advertorials from Mr. Hylton will start up again. Seems when he doesn’t get his way, they appear regularly in the paper.

  3. Roy, Roy, Roy….your blogs are ALWAYS a delightful read. Judyth Zahora is one sharp cookie, so relived she was elected president.

    We anticipate, along with the declaration that the SD and the Borough will be working more closely together, that these two major entities will “team up” to stop rental property investors from reassessing the tax on multiple real estate holdings, and work with the Borough to implement Pa Act 90 to recapture the costs of blighted properties. BUT with regard for the everyday struggling homeowner who might be in a position that reassessing enables them to keep their home. Jason Bobst has already stepped up to the plate to say that the Borough will help with the costs of doing so but the SD is exclusively empowered to have a presence at these assessments and should do so, in our opinion.

    The problems with rogue rental investors that drain our resources requires an impenetrable force that can make all the difference between elevating our quality of life, reducing costs and inviting conscientious homeowners/investors who have the communities best interests at heart AND create a stable tax base. Tom Hylton, for all of his meddling, has done nothing to address the problems in the core neighborhoods, problems that we see creeping into other previously stable residential areas. A changing of the guard, just in the nick-o-time!!

  4. I for one will remain vigilant and do whatever I can to dispell any misinformation spewing forth from Mount Olympus. I know there are others who will also rise to the occasion as needed. He’s not going away just yet. If we continue the stragetic poundings eventually we’ll enlighten enough people. You can only cry wolf (or Rupert) so many times. Maybe the “Fishwrap” will continue to “enable” but we will always shine the light of truth.

    Power to the enlightened Pottstown People!!!

  5. You are on target Mike and Roy. We have been working, from every angle, to have our message heard. Evan Brandt has stepped up in a big way, on his own and on behalf of the Mercury. There appears to be a necessary re-evaluation of the role the Mercury has in the community. Happy to see it and encouraged too!! We have registered to comment on the Merc now, when the need arises, to quell misinformation set forth by one “goodmom”, in particular, and occasionally “maryjames”, (among others), who have appointed themselves as the unofficial spokespersons for the landlords of Pottstown. Not that anyone puts much credence in those comments, but mainly we signed up to make others aware that we are here and we stand firmly on the principals of reducing, then eliminating negative investing in Pottstown.

    Also, we would like others to join voices with us and work to hold our leaders accountable and to support them in numbers, too big to ignore, while they devise a plan to hold the slumlords, meaningfully, gainfully, “once and for all” accountable for the excessive costs and destruction of hosting them in our community.

  6. Happy to see this change offical!

    I do, IN A BIG WAY, agree that the advertorials are about to begin on a regular cycle to “enlighten” the readership of The Mercury. Now, I hope, with this insightful look into the commenting on that site the reevaluation process will include the role of the paper with regard to one-sided opinion – see PCRFG head honcho, Mr. Hylton.

    The knee-jerk reaction of not getting things completely the way you envision them is not a call to the writer’s desk followed by a call to the editor of the paper.

    How about this, instead – write a blog like everybody else! What, you say, you can’t reach some people with that media, buy space on a billboard or dig into the PAC pocket and circulate material (not an unfamiliar tact). Just stop piggy-backing on the local paper to press your opinion. I’ve never seen another elected offical use these types of tactics to rile people, that is the goal, right? Rile people through media so that you don’t need to have actual conversations and spread opinion by word-of-mouth?

    Saves time, not money. I guess I can respect that but for the fact that I don’t have that kind of cash to throw around to have my ideas heard. I wonder if many of the people of Pottstown have considered that fact. Would they consider that method of “speaking” so suitable, if they did/do?

    Roy you are a ray of light – keep faning the flame!!

    Mike – SB elections are in 2 yrs. That election cycle will be for 4 seats. The members of the SB up for reelection, should they desire to seek it are: Tom Hylton, Valerie Harris, Bob Hartman & Polly Weand. FYI.

    • Thank you Steph. I don’t know how others feel, but I would like to see 3 year terms, with 3 seats up for election each year. We might get more continuity this way.

      • I have been saying that for a while, myself. Other areas have this system in place and since they are by regions then it requires representation from specific geographic areas. How people feel about it, in practice, I’m not sure but it looks good “on paper” to me!!!

        Not only is there continuity but “power shift” is harder to produce and, IMHO, this takes politics away from an area I feel should be free of politics – for the most part. I think school boards need to take a step back from the parties that might get them there and focus more on keeping their SD competitive and financially solvent.

  7. Mr. Hylton and Ms. Harris have 2 more years in their obstructionist terms. Let’s hope they change their ways and work together with the new Director’s.

  8. Thanks for all the great input everybody. Jeff, love the “obstructionist terms” verbiage! So true!

    Let us hope things continue to move forward and that people have had enough “political action committee rhetoric”. It’s about ALL of the kids in the Pottstown School District, not just “some” of the kids, depending on which school they are in! Like the borough we need to stop fighting, come up with a unified vision and move forward with it. That vision needs to be something we can afford and that actually benefits education. Window dressing and band-aids are not going to help our students learn and prepare them for higher education or employment, Mr. Hylton!

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