Daniel Boone Board Shuts School; Makes Little Budget Progress

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

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

The Daniel Boone School Board didn’t waste time in deciding Monday to shutter Amity Primary Center, but spent more than an hour discussing other budget-related moves with little progress.

Several residents expressed frustration about the slow-moving budget discussion, noting that the same cuts have been on the table since December.

“It just seems like we don’t make decisions,” resident Rich Martino said.  “We push it off meeting after meeting and now we’re up against a deadline and I don’t know if we’re going to make the right decision.”

The board will vote on a tentative $52.45 million budget next week.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=477022

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

Shake-Up: Reading School Board President Leaves Post

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

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

The Reading School Board faced two surprising changes Monday night, as one board member resigned and the board president gave up his leadership role.

In a letter read by board President Robert F. Heebner Jr., member Frank B. Denbowski announced he would give up his seat effective midnight Wednesday, following that night’s board meeting.

Denbowski, who did not attend Monday’s meeting, cited his responsibilities as Reading’s recycling and solid waste division manager as his reason for leaving.  Denbowski was in the second year of a four-year term.

After reading Denbowski’s letter, Heebner announced that he is relinquishing the presidency immediately but will remain on the board as a member.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=463377

Pottstown School Board Eyes Administrator Raises

POTTSTOWN — The school board is set to vote Monday on proposed 2 percent raises for mid-level administrators and support staff.

If approved by the board, it will be the first raise in two years for some.

The matter was on the agenda for discussion at Thursday night’s meeting, but none of the school board members had any comment.  The package was recommended by the school board’s personnel committee.

If approved, the raises would be effective April 1, said Business Manager Linda Adams.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130324/NEWS01/130329671/pottstown-school-board-eyes-administrator-raises#full_story

ACLU Defends Brownsville High ‘Harlem Shake’ Video

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Fayette County

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

A version of the Harlem Shake performed by students at Brownsville High School last month continues to reverberate.

Thirteen students at the Fayette County high school were given two-day suspensions in February for their involvement in filming a 29-second Harlem Shake video and posting it online, part of a popular song-and-dance craze that has swept through the Internet in recent weeks.

Today, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and the National Coalition Against Censorship emailed a letter to Philip J. Savini Jr., Brownsville Area School District superintendent and Rocky Brashear, school board president, urging the district to revoke the suspensions and expunge the students’ records.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/region/aclu-defends-brownsville-high-harlem-shake-video-678338/#ixzz2MtMmBTIL

Pottsgrove School District Mulls $61 Million Budget With 3.3% Tax Hike

Location of Lower Pottsgrove Township in Montg...

Location of Lower Pottsgrove Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

LOWER POTTSGROVE TOWNSHIP— Facing a potential budget shortfall of $1.9 million, the Pottsgrove School Board voted unanimously Tuesday to advertise a proposed $60.9 million budget for the 2013-14 school year that would raise taxes by $155 for the average district homeowner.

However, those figures are unlikely to remain unchanged until June, when all final school budgets must be adopted.

The district is working under the constraints of Act 1, which requires a district to either declare it will not raise taxes above a state set index — as Pottstown did last month in committing to keep any tax increase at or below 2.4 percent — or advertise a preliminary budget.

The Pottsgrove board chose the second option, voting to advertise a preliminary budget presented publicly for the first time Tuesday night by Business Manager David Nester.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130125/NEWS01/130129618/pottsgrove-mulls-61-million-budget-with-3-3-tax-hike#full_story

Foundation For Pottstown Education Outlines 2013 Goals

POTTSTOWN — As 2012 wound down to a close, the Pottstown School Board got a glimpse of what 2013 may look like — at least in terms of the plans being made by the Foundation for Pottstown Education.

Executive Director Myra Forrest outlined for the board the eight major goals the foundation has set for itself in the coming year.

Here is a brief look at those goals.

• PEAK: The foundation wants to ensure continued funding for PEAK, which stands for Pottstown Early Action for Kindergarten readiness is Pottstown’s signature early education program. It partners with pre-schools and childcare providers to get youngsters read for school.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130105/NEWS01/130109773/foundation-for-pottstown-education-outlines-2013-goals#full_story

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

Pottsgrove Taps Feola As New Superintendent

LOWER POTTSGROVE — The Pottsgrove School Board announced its intention Friday to appoint Acting Superintendent Shellie Feola to the post permanently.

The vote is scheduled to occur at a special meeting Tuesday, 6:30 p.m., at the district office.

Feola, who has been the district’s assistant superintendent for more than five years, was appointed acting superintendent on Oct. 8 after her predecessor, Bradley Landis left the district to take a post at the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit.

The board has decided to grant her a nearly five-year contract that ends June 30, 2017 which will carry a “pro-rated salary of $169,500,” retroactive to Oct. 8 when she assumed the post, according to a release issued Friday by the district.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20121207/NEWS01/121209532/pottsgrove-taps-feola-as-new-superintendent#full_story

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

Scranton School District Faces $2.8 Million Deficit

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

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

The Scranton School Board approved a preliminary budget Monday that leaves the district with an anticipated $2.8 million deficit for 2013.

The board voted unanimously to approve the $121,198,093 budget, but said the district was still awaiting word from Berkheimer Tax Administrator Inc. regarding funding due from Centax Group and confirmation regarding special education funding.

Kathleen McGuigan, chairwoman of the budget and finance committee, said it is unknown how much money the district will get back from Centax or when the money will come, and she wants to rely only on “solid numbers” and definite funding while considering the 2013 budget.

Read more:  http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/scranton-school-district-faces-2-8-million-deficit-1.1408838

Thomas Hylton Mentioned In Morning Call Article About Bethlehem School District Building Project

Editor’s note:  This is priceless!!! 

…By sticking to Roy’s timeline, the district will not invite a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and historic preservation advocate, Thomas Hylton, to tour Nitschmann as south Bethlehem resident Stephen Antalics had requested.

Board President Michael Faccinetto said Hylton, who had argued in a recent Morning Call editorial for the cheapest possible renovation of Nitschmann, could present his views at a public meeting.  But Faccinetto said the district would not allow Hylton a private tour of Nitschmann as he had gotten at Broughal before the building was torn down to make room for the new school and its athletic fields.

“The last time he came here, he billed the district $5,000 for his services,” Faccinetto said.

On Nov. 20, Hylton, a member of the Pottstown School Board and president of the nonprofit group Save Our Land, Save Our Towns, said he never offered to tour Nitschmann.  He said he did not know his name was being bantered around the district.

“All I ever did was write the piece in the op-ed,” Hylton said…

Read the whole story here:  http://www.mcall.com/news/local/bethlehem/mc-bethlehem-nitschmann-broughal-20121126,0,5200349.story

Pottstown School District: Barth Project Costs Higher Due To Borough Consultant

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

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

Editor’s Note:  This is priceless.  So the borough turns around and hires the same people to review Codes for $33,000.00.  Is somebody related to these people or what???  Is Evan Brandt the only person in Pottstown who researches anything? Wasn’t Barth already behind schedule when the borough hired the same outfit for the Codes study?  Does the right hand not know what the left hand is doing?

POTTSTOWN, PA — The Conshohocken engineering firm hired by the borough to suggest ways to make the codes department more efficient has caused delays and may cost borough taxpayers “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in cost overruns at the Barth Elementary School construction project, school officials said last week.

A call to Remington, Vernick and Beach Engineers seeking comment Monday was not returned before press time.

During the past several school board meetings, the district’s architect, construction managers and administration officials have made references to delays in getting the Barth Elementary School renovation project started.

Those delays, they said, have been due to requests and requirements made by Remington, Vernick & Beach.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20121023/NEWS01/121029818/pottstown-schools-barth-project-costs-higher-due-to-borough-consultant-&pager=full_story

Superintendent’s Resignation Stuns Pottstown School Board

Editor’s note:  I am unfortunately not surprised by this.  I am guessing this is just another person who is tired of banging his/her head against “the proverbial wall” trying to make things better for Pottstown.  The assembly flap might have been the last straw but there is more to this than just one incident. 

Maybe it’s the constant barrage of criticism being lobbed by the Fishwrap at community leaders that helps push them out of town.  People like Jason Bobst and Reed Lindley always have other options.  After a while, no matter how good someone’s intentions are, people reach a saturation point and “walk away” to save what’s left of their sanity.

It’s a vicious cycle in Pottstown.  My condolences to the new Borough Manager and Superintendent of Schools.

POTTSTOWN, PA — Reed Lindley stunned the school board and the community Thursday night by resigning as superintendent, effective immediately.

Lindley, who was not present for the regular board meeting, submitted his letter of resignation to the board, citing only “personal reasons” for his decision.

Following a 30-minute, closed-door executive session at the opening of the meeting, a somber-faced school board returned to the meeting room and unanimously accepted his resignation.

The resignation comes on the heels of community outrage over a three-hour assembly at Pottstown High School in which a speaker extolling the virtues of entrepreneurship also challenged students to sell coffee to compete for an iPad.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20120921/NEWS01/120929898/reed-lindley-resigns-as-pottstown-schools-superintendent&pager=full_story

$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

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

Enrollment Increase Projected In Boyertown School District

Anticipating steep enrollment growth in coming years, the Boyertown School Board received an assessment Monday of the district’s ability to accommodate new waves of students in schools that are nearing, if not above, capacity.

In a presentation before six board members, representatives from the Harrisburg-based architecture and engineering firm EI Associates shared their finding that the district’s elementary schools were ill-suited for projected enrollment growth.

Their feasibility study, authorized in May, found that the Colebrookdale and Gilbertsville elementary schools were over capacity by 16 and 83 students, respectively.

Across its seven elementary schools, the district is at 96 percent capacity, with 3,761 students enrolled and a capacity of 3,900.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=402183

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