Wyomissing Schools Chief Downplays Pending Departure

It’s been 39 years, but Wyomissing School District Superintendent David P. Krem can still remember his first day in the classroom as an elementary teacher.

It was 1973.

He was teaching fourth grade.

And there were firecrackers.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=387472

Wyomissing School Board Accepts Krem’s Retirement

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

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

Editor’s note:  That didn’t take long!!!!!!!

The Wyomissing School Board has accepted the resignation of Superintendent David P. Krem and hired his successor.

Krem submitted his resignation for the purpose of retirement Monday night. His final day with the district will be June 29.

Krem will be replaced by Julia R. Vicente, the district’s assistant superintendent/ director of elementary and secondary education.

The magnitude of the moves was belied by the mechanism, a board vote to approve a personnel report that spelled out the administrative changes.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=386236

Pottstown Political Cesspool Claims Another Victim

It is hard to keep good people around Pottstown because eventually they a. get tired of the lack forward momentum or b. they fall out of favor with certain powerful politicos.

The latest casualty is Terri Lampe.  Ms. Lampe was Pottstown’s Economic Development Director until Mr. Hylton decided she was not on his bobble-head hit parade.  If you follow SavePottstown you know all about Mr. Hylton’s feelings toward strong, intelligent women.  Ms. Lampe then took a similar position with the school district (finding money) and from all accounts she was fairly successful. 

So one has to wonder – Why would Ms. Lampe up and leave PSD to go work for the Wyomissing School District in suburban Reading?  I think there are several answers:   

  1. David Krem was well liked here in Pottstown and is now the Superintendent of the Wyomissing School District.  I would suspect David Krem thinks highly of Ms. Lampe.
  2. Wyomissing School District is in better shape than PSD, financially and scholastically (no offense intended at PSD).  Job security!
  3. I would suspect since Mr. Hylton is not on the school board in Wyomissing, the climate is much friendlier.  Ms. Lampe was hired by a unanimous vote, according to the Reading Eagle.  If Mr. Hylton and his “team” win the election in November, then certain PSD staffers are in jeopardy.  Ms. Lampe was not letting any grass grow under her feet waiting for election results.  Who wants to work in a hostile environment?

Sadly, there are others who Mr. Hylton would like to “get out of his way”.  If he gains control of the school board in November it will only be a matter of time until they are gone – on their terms or Mr. Hylton’s terms.

Responsible Tom strikes again (maybe only as a contributing factor, nevertheless I am surmising he factored into that decision).

Best wishes to Ms. Lampe in her new position as Development Director of the Wyomissing School District.

Pottstown School District Superintendent Search

I must agree with the sentiments expressed in today’s Mercury by Pastor Vernon Ross of Bethel A.M.E. Church.  What is the big hurry to hire someone?  The same idea behind the President’s Task Force should be applied to the superintendent search.  This decision affects over 3,000 children in our community!  We need community input!

The three internal candidates are all very qualified people and should be extended every consideration.  However, we owe it to ourselves to find the best qualified person to move PSD forward.  Should we not exhaust a few resources to do so? 

We should open the posting for this position to the outside world!  We are limiting ourselves, as usual, by only looking inward.  There are people on the outside who have an interest but are unable to apply.

Hiring an interim superintendent seems to be a giant waste of money.  We have two Assistant Superintendents already.  They should be able to hold the wheel during the selection process.  The salaries are almost identical. 

I implore the School Board not to make any hasty decisions on hiring the person who will replace Mr. Krem.  We need to look further than our own backyard to ensure we select the most qualified individual.  I am not saying that person may not already be here.  But it is worth taking some extra time (school’s out for the summer) to explore all of our options.

Pottstown School Board Meeting

Last night I attended the Pottstown School Board meeting to bring you the latest news about our school district.  While there were no fireworks like the last meeting, a number of things were brought to light that are worth mentioning.

Tri-County Area Federal Credit Union presented a check to the Pottstown football program.  It’s always gratifying to see local business and industry support our community.  Paying it forward benefits everyone!

The spotlight was on Edgewood Elementary School last night.  We were treated to a very nice 6 minute media presentation featuring students from Edgewood giving us a tour of the building.  We were then treated to the writing award presentations, which are always awesome.  Dr. Tuck was beaming with pride 🙂

Mr. Doug O’Dell and Mr. David Leinbach made a presentation to the board about the new economic development entity being created to facilitate the revitalization of Pottstown.  Pottstown Area Industrial Development Corp. (PAID) is being restructured to become the single point of contact for the outside world.  It is imperative for Pottstown to present a unified vision in order to move forward.  Federal, state and local governments are looking for a strong consensus before handing over money.  This has been sorely lacking where Pottstown has been concerned, until recently.  The model for this new entity is based on what was done in Johnstown, PA and has been very successful.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnstown,_Pennsylvania

The final draft of the memorandum of understanding was handed out to board members last night.  They will have until the next meeting to read over the document and ask questions before voting to accept at the next meeting.  Pottstown Borough Council unanimously voted to adopt the memorandum of understanding and move forward.  There was a good showing of borough officials at the meeting. 

Mr. O’Dell pointed out that this entity is not trying to usurp authority from borough council; the school board etc… but will act as a clearing house to vet projects.  Each participating group will have representation.  The representatives will carry information to and from their respective groups.  Each group will decide if they will support any proposed projects.

A search for the new Executive Director will focus on candidates with regional or national credentials from outside the Pottstown area.  This person will not be entrenched in local politics and hopefully bring new “outside the box” ideas which are desperately needed.  PAID has $400,000 which will be used as seed money to pay the new director and cover any other associated start-up costs.  PAID was chosen because it has a special tax status 501C3, which is not being given out anymore.  This status enables PAID to collect public and private funds at the same time.  This is extremely advantageous in raising money.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/501(c)

The target date to have a new Executive Director in place is 2011.  This allows the remainder of 2010 to be used for the hiring process and further planning and development.

It is beyond obvious what Pottstown’s problems are.  We need economic development yesterday.  Politics will be put aside so that PAID can focus on large (regional) and small (local) projects.  One example of a regional project is the restoration of passenger rail service to Pottstown.  Mr. O’Dell feels this is still attainable and could be a reality by 2013/2014.

Editor’s note:  I can not emphasize enough the importance of everyone getting onboard.  Pottstown’s future hangs in the balance.  We can not continue to operate with the “business as usual” mentality that has landed us in the mess we find ourselves.  Things must change.  If that means for the greater good some people may gain or lose power, so be it.  What we have been doing is not working.  Unless we come together now, put agendas and politics aside and do what is right for Pottstown, the future is abysmal!

Patrons were then allowed to make comments to the board.

Phil Thees cautioned the board to be very careful in regards to PAID.  He is concerned that the board may lose their authority to run the school district.  Editor’s note: see above paragraph!  Mr. Thees also commented on the pension debacle and suggested that school districts ban together with a class action lawsuit against Harrisburg.

Jeff Leflar made a very good point about uncollected property taxes.  For the years 2004-2008 there are still $1.3 million dollars worth of uncollected property tax.  Basically a handful of absentee landlords are not paying their taxes on rental properties.  He asked about property tax foreclosure as a means of collection.

Rob Morgan spoke about uncontested property reassessment and that the board should be more active in trying to put a halt to this practice. 

Linda Adams stated she recently met with the borough and they are working jointly on these property tax issues.

Mrs. Zahora asked about the Superintendent search.  Mr. Huss informed her that the board was going into Executive session right after the meeting to discuss this issue.

A discussion followed about property taxes.  Mr. Hartman asked Mr. Kalis if we could pick and choose who to go after regarding unpaid property taxes i.e. not targeting people with legitimate problems but working on collecting taxes from the handful of absentee landlords.  Mr. Kalis stated we can not pick and choose who to go after.  Portnoff Law Associates has a 94% collection rate.  80% of the taxes are paid during the discount period.  Portnoff Assoc. could provide more specific information as to what means they are taking to collect from the absentee landlords.  It was suggested possibly looking at occupancy permits as a means of collection.  If the taxes are not paid, a dwelling could not be rented.  Evidently the school district does not have the power to enforce these means of collection.  Mrs. Pargeon asked who has the power.  The borough, the county etc…

Mr. Huss revealed his choice to head to Task Force.  Mr. James Bush, retired Business Manager of the Pottstown School District has accepted “the call” from Mr. Huss.  This choice seemed to please many as Mr. Bush is a highly regarded member of the Pottstown community and is considered to be impartial. 

Dr. Sparagana revealed that Mr. Krem’s resignation is now official.

Mrs. Adams revealed that the pension crisis in Harrisburg will cost Pottstown taxpayers an additional $6 million dollars, at the current level, by the 2014/2015 school year.  Mrs. Adams stated the financial audit results were received and PSD had a clean audit.  There were no findings.  PSD received a grant for 21st Century for $135,000.

Many people thanked Mr. Krem for his service to the Pottstown School District and wished him well in Wyomissing.

Pottstown School District Superintendent Search

With David Krem announcing his departure as Superintendent of Schools, the top job is open again.

I have noticed a number of people have called into Sound Off and mentioned Myra Forrest as a possible contender for this position.  Certainly she should be seriously considered.

Food for thought….any comments?