How Many Elementary Schools Does Pottstown Need? School Board To Vote On Thursday!

If you have followed events over the last year, you know that a crucial vote is coming up this Thursday.  The Pottstown School Board will be voting on which Task Force option to go with.  Mr. Hylton of course favors the five school plan because he mistakenly thinks that people are moving to Pottstown because we have “walkable” elementary schools.  In fact, people don’t move to Pottstown because of the school system.

The Task Force labored for a year to come up with a plan.  Naturally, Mr. Hylton is against their recommendations because Mr. Hylton’s brain contains more intelligence than the sum total of the other 22,376 residents of Pottstown combined.  If you don’t believe me, just ask him.  This vast reservoir of knowledge brought us back-in angle parking on High Street  This bone-headed concept has had a negative impact on our central business district.  If you don’t think so, drive down High Street aka Desolation Boulevard.  Many people refuse to park on High Street because of the back-in parking.  It is very unpopular (much like the purple lights),

I received permission to repost the comment below from the author. The writer explains why Mr. Hylton’s “logic” on keeping five elementary schools is a negative and in the long run far more costly than reducing to three elementary schools, as recommended by the Task Force.  The comment was in response to this SavePottstown!! post.  I urge you to read and carefully consider this information!

Without further adieu I give you Even Keel’s words of wisdom:

Even Keel

It amazes me that some school board members will make this decision based on buildings. Buildings! Not tax savings, not a better educational product, not improved efficiency, but buildings.

IMHO, the two biggest questions to ask and base a decision from are:

1) What are the future costs to the town in tax dollars? What plan saves us the most future tax dollars?

2) What plan provides for the most efficient, effective educational product for the children?

So I’ll take a stab at your question, readytomove, because my belief is that the recommended 3 school, PK – 5 plan accomplishes the best long-term savings.

While the 3 school plan is 33 million, there is a significant PDE reimbursement so that 33 quickly becomes 24. Let’s figure in a more than generous cost overrun, just for arguments sake, and make it 26 mil for total construction costs of the 3 school plan.

The 5 school maintenance plan has been estimated (estimated, because there are still some figures which aren’t known) as a 13-15 million dollar plan. There is no PDE reimbursement with this (and quite possibly a higher cost of financing.) Let’s add in that same cost overrun and put it at 17 mil for the upgrade costs of the 5 school maintenance plan.

That leaves a high estimate of an upfront 9 million dollar difference between the two plans.

Now, let’s look at the savings. With the 3 school plan, the savings in staff reductions is $750,000 in the first year. That cost was generated using this current year’s salary/benefit numbers. This savings would actually increase each consecutive year (compounding) as teacher salaries/benefits costs are always increasing, which we’re all painfully aware of.

Operating and utility cost savings for the 3 school plan would equal $135,000 the first year. (This figure does not take into account the efficiency savings of improved lighting, newer efficient HVAC systems, etc.) Again, this was calculated using this year’s utility and operating costs and as they also go up every year, this savings would increase each consecutive year.

So, in the first year alone the 3 school plan saves $885,000 in staff, operating and utility reductions and that number actually increases in every consecutive future year. But wait, there’s more! The Plan-Con financing for the 3 school plan may yield a much better rate of financing. With current cap rates, it is very feasible it could be as much as 2% or more. There is a small savings to be had there.

All totaled, the per annual savings of the 3 school plan would be very close to a million dollars. It would therefore take approx. less than 9 years to make up the savings of expending the additional 9 million dollars up front, right now for the 3 school plan. (Coincidentally, 9 years from now is when the highest debt burden of the PERS fiasco will be upon us. Seems to me we would want to be saving the most money possibly come that point in time to keep the tax burden lower than it needs to be.)

To be fair, the 5 school maintenance plan does provide savings, but nowhere near to these levels. The utility savings for the geo-thermal payoff alone are longer than 9 years. And I’ll throw it out there – Mr. Hylton loves to say that his plan would keep these buildings open for 20+ more years but not Crabtree Rohrbaugh or any structural engineer has yet to professionally opine that sentiment.

Look at all the improvements you’re getting with the 3 school plan that you aren’t with the other: ADA compliance, multi-purpose rooms to accommodate PE and lunch, Pre-K rooms for a max of 20 students, classrooms for a max of 25 (classroom max is higher with the other plan), decent library, art, music and computer rooms. All of these things for lesser future tax dollars than keeping the current status quo.

Mr. Hylton loves to dangle the fact that Pottstown is the 7th highest taxed district in the State. His plan of “light maintenance” on 5 schools does nothing to help that figure. It is a band-aid for a system that has failed us when what we need is a shift towards a more efficient system. The 3 school plan gives us an opportunity to realize better efficiency in schools that attract people and includes significant future cost reductions.

We may never see taxes go down, but we can make the right choices to slow their impending rise in the future.

A wise Superintendent recently said, “It takes courageous leadership from individuals in the community as well as those in official positions of leadership to focus on the issues that continually keep this community from reaching its potential.”

Truer words were never spoken.

Junk Flyers Make Their Way To Pottstown’s North End

Someone went through our complex today slapping Rupert flyers in the hallways of the buildings.  The hallways were just painted and the wet paint signs are still hanging up!

There are only six apartments in this complex out of one hundred and four with elementary school age children according to our Leasing Manager.  Most people who live here are senior citizens or do not have children.  That was a complete waste of time and paper.  So thanks for junking up our hallways with your flyers!

As for the proposed sale of Franklin School to a group who will open a private high school for problem teens, we all saw the article in The Fishwrap so photocopying it on a flyer and littering up the North End was a waste of time and paper.  I DO NOT see that concept getting approved.  Scare tactics!

If you want to get behind the real problem in Pottstown you should be focused on drugs and crime related to drugs.  That is doing more damage to Pottstown than any elementary school closing will ever do!

UPDATE!  Many thanks to SavePottstown!! for investing this matter and reporting it to the authorities!

http://savepottstown.com/lang/es/2011/07/criminals-on-the-run/

Additional Update – Today’s Fishwrap includes coverage of the Pottstown School District Finance Committee meeting that was held on Thursday evening.  Evan reports that the board showed little interest in selling the Annex to Delaware Valley High School to educate “troubled” Reading teenagers.  Dr. Lindley revealed that he did not give a tour of Franklin School to the DVHS group.  Dr. Lindley told the DVHS group that Pottstown does not have the need for this type of program for our own students.  So as you see, now that the facts are presented this whole hysterical campaign about Franklin School was just that…hysterical.  It would be nice if we gave Dr. Lindley and the School Board some credit for having a brain before rushing to incorrect conclusions and whooping the community into a frenzied lather over something that was never going to happen!

Pottstown’s East End Plastered With Illegal Flyers!

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Image via Wikipedia

Our good friends over at Save Pottstown!! have brought a recent epidemic to light that we feel is important information for the taxpayers and law-abiding citizens of Pottstown to be made aware of.  The problem is an over-zealous 6th Ward resident(s) has plastered Save Rupert flyers on any stationary object they can find.

Save Pottstown’s research found that posting these flyers is illegal in the Borough of Pottstown.  Secondly, these flyers also include Franklin School on them.  However, as Save Pottstown discovered, these flyers are thankfully NOT in the North End.  I live near Franklin School and have not seen any and please don’t pollute our neighborhood with them.

The hysteria and inability to make a rational decision about keeping 5 old school buildings is beyond comprehension.  People are not moving to Pottstown in droves because of neighborhood schools.  Instead, they move to other school districts all around Pottstown with more modern facilities.  Mr. Hylton’s own “figures” show that PSD enrollment is down and staff is up so why is he so hell-bent on keeping all these old buildings?  The mother of all $64,000 questions!

To read Save Pottstown’s excellent analysis, click here:

http://savepottstown.com/lang/es/2011/07/crime-wave-hits-the-east-end/

Pottstown Pennsylvania – The Land That Time Forgot

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Image via Wikipedia

Evidently we live in a time warp in Pottstown.  Forward momentum and progress are alien concepts here.  Instead we prefer to stick our heads in the sand, cling to the past (and our favorite elementary school) and refuse to look at the grim reality that lies ahead.

Pottstown School District and Pottstown Borough cannot afford to continue to operate in “Leave It To Beaver” mode any longer.  There are serious financial challenges that lie ahead and they need to be addressed in creative and thoughtful ways.  Instead, we have people like Responsible Tom who are trying to push Pottstown back into the 1950’s.

In case nobody has paid attention, the world has changed drastically from the days of Laverne, Shirley and the Fonz (whoa).  People have different expectations these days.   Parents want modern schools with state of the art technology for their children’s education – or at least the middle class, home owning families we are “supposedly” trying to attract to stabilize our tax base do.

Fixing up five old buildings will leave us with five temporarily fixed up old buildings.  Down the road, this problem will have to be painfully addressed again.

The Task Force spent a long time pouring over information.  A variety of people, from all facets of Pottstown life, were included on the Task Force to make sure there would be good representation from all segments of the community.  Now the Task Force has reached their decision and we want to totally invalidate the time and effort they put into this project because some people do not like the outcome.

Progress and change are not easy.  It is painful for many people.  However, for this community to survive and prosper, change must happen.  We can NOT please everyone nor should we try to.  However, in this land that time forgot, where a tiny fraction of the public votes, attends school board or borough council meetings, we continue to delay the inevitable reality that irresponsible spending will only continue to compound our already tenuous financial position.

We need to run the borough and the school district like businesses and stop spending money we do not have before the financial bottom falls out of everything.  If you can’t afford something at home, you don’t buy it.  The same should hold true with spending taxpayer’s money.  We have champagne taste and a beer pocketbook here in Hyltonville.  It’s about time we snap into reality.  Somebody needs to bite the bullet and “let go” of something so that the entire community can move forward.  Until that time comes, Pottstown will be “the land that time forgot”

I leave you with a story.

The Child and the Filberts

A child (taxpayer) put their hand into a pitcher full of filberts (elementary schools). They grasped as many as they could hold (5), but when they tried to pull out their hand, they were prevented from doing so by the neck of the pitcher (bank account). Unwilling to lose their filberts (elementary schools), and yet unable to withdraw their hand, the child burst into tears and bitterly lamented their disappointment. A bystander said to the child, “Be satisfied with half the quantity (elementary schools), and you will readily draw out your hand.”

Two More Top Notch Pottstown School District Employees Leaving

The local print newspaper announced today that two elementary principals are leaving PSD.  The revolving door out of Pottstown continues. 

Dr. Angela Tuck (Edgewood) and Robert Giering (Barth) have taken positions at two distinguished elementary schools.  Both schools have received a 10 out of 10 rating from Great Schools.org.  Dr. Tuck is bound for Swarthmore Rutledge School in Delaware County and Robert Giering is joining the Downingtown School District at Uwchlan Hills Elementary School.  Both Tuck and Giering will be principals at their new schools.

Dr. Tuck has been with PSD for 10 years.  Giering has been with PSD for 6 ½ years.

The school district and Task Force are in turmoil; no thanks to Mr. Hylton’s constant meddling.  People are not going to stick around PSD to end up out of a job.  Especially high-caliber employees like Terri Lampe, Angela Tuck and Robert Giering.  These people have marketable skills as shown by their rapid departures.

These headlines will be repeated over and over.  The longer this climate of uncertainty continues the more people will leave.  If Team Hylton wins in November, the end draws nigh.

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.

Sixth Ward Councilor Jody Rhoads’ Comments From Wednesday’s Committee Of The Whole Meeting

You will note that the local print newspaper did a report on Jody’s comments at the end of Wednesday’s COTW meeting.  Councilor Rhoads has given me a copy of his comments which I am printing in their entirety.

Jody’s comments:

It’s been ten years since I retired.  It wasn’t long after that I started attending council and committee meetings.

Since then, I have pretty much gotten to know “who’s who” and “what’s what”.  I now have some observations and opinions, and am appalled at some of the “grown up” behavior in this town.

  1. I have heard of those who say they are the most powerful person in town.
  2. I have seen first hand and heard of those who name call frequently using the term “idiot”
  3. I have come across those who try to discredit others for their efforts and accomplishments.
  4. A few, just plain think and act like they run the town.
  5. I have seen personal agenda’s that are not for the good of the community.
  6. And I have witnessed some, who when they don’t get their way, pack up and leave.
  7. And those who send hateful, anonymous letters.

For all the above behavior I list as:

  1. irresponsible
  2. childish
  3. insulting
  4. unprofessional
  5. inappropriate
  6. disrespectful
  7. embarrassing
  8. disgusting
  9. unproductive

Until this type of behavior disappears, our community will continue to stagnate.  I’m seeing a big problem concerning the paid advertisements in our local newspaper by The Citizens for Responsible Government.  These articles have been attacking, at one time or another, the school district, the administration, the school board, school board members, the Task Force, Pottstown Borough, past Economic Development Directors, Borough Council and individual Councilors.

These ads are nothing more than someone’s desperate attempt to use the print media as part of a strategy to promote a political campaign and to buy someone’s victory in the election process.

What is really strange and upsetting is our local newspaper has been known to refuse any type of political comments until just before an election.  It appears to me that advertisements are being use for political reasons all year-long.  The individual behind this group always asks for transparency and complete factual information, but refuses to practice what is preached.

There is a common denominator between Citizens for Responsible Government and Trees Inc., that being Thomas Hylton – Secretary/Treasurer.  The Trees Inc. website is www.pottstowntrees.org.  There is conflicting information on this website.

The home page clearly states “Today, thanks to Trees Inc., Pottstown has among the best maintained street trees in Pennsylvaniaat no cost to the taxpayer.  Let me repeat, at no cost to the taxpayer.  We’ve heard this many times.  Then searching the financial page we see the following:

Councilor Rhoads had a handout of the budget information from the Trees Inc. website which he distributed…it was relating to the years Pottstown Borough gave money to Trees Inc.

Next comes requests for information.

I submitted the following emails to Thomas Hylton regarding Trees Inc. Councilor Rhoads had a handout with this information.  Councilor Rhoads sent eight emails to Thomas Hylton, requesting various information, regarding Trees Inc.  Councilor Rhoads never received a response.  The emails were sent between February 24, 2010 and April 9, 2010.

I have also received a request for information to Thomas Hylton from another individual who was also refused.  A Right To Know request was sent to Mr. Hylton on 3/10/2010 regarding the May 2009 audit done on Trees Inc. by Rabowski & Company.  A follow-up request was sent on March 23, 2010.  No response was received.

Here again, where is his (Mr. Hylton’s) transparency?

There’s some things out of control and we better start coming to grips. 

END

Pottstown Borough Council And Task Force Derailed By Heath And Hylton

It would appear we have no need for a borough government or a school board in Pottstown.  We have two people who have managed to insert themselves into two separate processes and derail them both. 

Why bother to have a borough council and a professional manager when the mayor can “pull people aside” at functions and override decisions made by our town leadership?

Why bother to have a task force and a school board when Mr. Hylon’s advertorials have the task force sputtering and some members have drunk the Kool Aid?

It would appear Pottstown only needs two people to run it.  If we get rid of the entire borough staff and the school district staff, and let Bonnie and Tom run our town and educate our children, just think of the cost savings!

We can shepherd all the children into the football stadium every day, give Tom a bullhorn and he can educate them himself.  Bonnie can use her influence with the county to get things done in Pottstown so why pay people to run our town?  Bonnie can handle it.

Is this really what you people want?  As ridiculous as it sounds, it’s closer to the truth than fiction.

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!

Norristown Area School District Faces Huge Deficit And Tax Hike

The Norristown Area School District is staring into an almost $6 million dollar budget hole.  They need to cut, cut, cut AND increase taxes.  The district is looking to outsource some in-house functions, layoff 15 teachers, freeze wages and raise taxes to keep the district on a level playing field.

If the cost cutting measures are implemented by the board, district homeowners still face a 2.17 percent tax increase.  The increase comes to $83 a year in additional tax for the average homeowner.

The Norristown Area School District has six elementary schools, three middle schools and two high schools (one is an alternative high school).  There are 6,727 students.  The district spends $14,075 per pupil and has 12 students for every full-time equivalent teacher.  In 2008 the dropout rate was 5 percent, 22 percent of students have an IEP and 10 percent of students are ELL.  Data from Wikipedia and Education.com

Just a NOTE for 222 Chestnut Street aka Mount Olympus.  Norristown has twice as many students as Pottstown but only has one more elementary school.  Plus NASD covers Norristown Borough along with East and West Norriton Townships, so their district is far more spread out.

The elephant in the room – why does “Responsible Tom” feel we need to have five elementary schools in Pottstown when THREE would be sufficient???  Yet the plaid one has the chutzpah to wag his glossy finger at others and call them “big spenders” while advocating keeping two schools open that we do not need and cannot afford.  And please do not forget Mr. Hylton’s push to put in pretty windows and geothermal heating on top of keeping five elementary schools open.

Pottstown School Board Director Election Results

It appears congratulations are in order for Mary-Beth Lydon, Andrew Kefer and Judyth Zahora for winning spots on the November Democratic Ballot for Pottstown School Director.  Sadly, Amy Francis and Michele Pargeon will not be joining their running mates from the Friends Of Pottstown Public Education.  Code Blue will now have two candidates on the November ballot.

Voter turn out was pathetically low.  I suppose people do not think Primary Elections are important and make no effort to vote.  However, by not voting in the Primary Election you are allowing others to dictate your choices in November.  This is how good candidates are removed from voter consideration while others creep in by default.

Glossy smear-tactic postcards evidently did the trick for the five candidates Mr. Hylton supported via his Pottstown Citizens For Responsible Government political action committee.  Hopefully in November voters will turn out in greater numbers and do more research before voting.  Otherwise the Pottstown School Board will become a one-way voting block.

In other election news, Roy’s Rants congratulates Sixth Ward Councilor and “man of the people” Jody Rhoads for his re-election victory.  Jody handily defeated his opponent and will be running unopposed in November!  “Fight When You’re Right”

We thank everyone who voted today and exercised their constitutional right to take part in a free election.  Your vote does make a difference.

Power to the Pottstown People!

Pennsylvania Primary Election, Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Image via Wikipedia

Tomorrow’s election is crucial to the progress of Pottstown.  Everyone needs to get out and vote!

The Pottstown School Board race will decide how well the school district and the borough continue to work together.  If we are going to move forward as a community, cooperation between these two bodies is essential.  We can continue to work together or go back to infighting and agendas, which have gotten us exactly nowhere.   The choice is yours, but at least make a choice and vote!

If you truly want “citizens for responsible government” running Pottstown, then Friends of Pottstown Public Education and Sixth Ward Councilor Jody Rhoads need your vote tomorrow and NOT the people on the glossy postcards from 222 Chestnut Street (that have flooded our mailboxes in the last several days).

Pottstown Citizens For Responsible Government…OH PLEASE, GIVE ME A BREAK!

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Image via Wikipedia

Looks like Thomas “Spin” Hylton is at it again with his glossy mailers spewing forth misinformation and using scare tactics on Pottstown voters.  Negative campaigning is just that Tom, NEGATIVE!  It tends to backfire.  But since you started it and I am not running for office:

Mr. Hylton wanted to waste $15 million taxpayer dollars on pretty windows and geothermal heating for five elementary schools that we absolutely DO NOT NEED!

Mr. Hylton advocates keeping all five elementary schools open that we do not need and cannot afford. 

Mr. Hylton wanted to build a SIXTH elementary school in the core neighborhood.

Mr. Hylton was a total bully on the Shade Tree Commission and treated Pottstown taxpayers like dirt!  He is still holding onto thousands of dollars under Trees, Inc.  For what purpose since the borough is handling trees now?????  GIVE THE MONEY BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Who are you to call other people “big spenders” that we cannot afford when you are head of the class!  Make me LOL!

Mr. Hylton you give Republicans a bad name!  Please take me off your mailing list(s) as your junk mail is cluttering up my mailbox!  Go pedal your half-truths somewhere else.

Pottstown taxpayers, do not be fooled by the man behind the curtain.  Citizens for Responsible Government is a misnomer!  Mr. Hylton is not advocating responsible government.  Mr. Hylton is advocating a self-serving government.  There is a BIG difference.  We do not need or want one person thinking they are in charge of Pottstown Borough and Pottstown School District.  This is a democracy!

Vote for Friends of Pottstown Public Education on May 17th and stop the madness!

WWE SmackDown At Pottstown School Board Meeting

Hulk Hogan hitting his infamous Leg Drop on Vi...

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It was another bad night for Pottstown School Board Director Thomas Hylton on Thursday evening.  Mr. Hylton was “called out” by Jeff Leflar for improper conduct, unbecoming of a School Board Director, as a result of Mr. Hylton’s constant attempts to undermine the will of the school board.  Mr. Leflar gave some examples of Mr. Hylton’s “hijinx” during his tenure as a School Board Director. (HINT:  Neighborhood School’s debacle, for starters)

Mr. Leflar quoted Pennsylvania State School Law, Section 406, which states:

The board of school directors in any school district in this Commonwealth, except as herein and employees, otherwise provided, shall after due notice, giving the reasons therefore, and after hearing if demanded, have the right at any time to remove any of its officers, employees, or appointees for incompetency, intemperance, neglect of duty, violation of any of the school laws of this Commonwealth, or other improper conduct.

Mr. Leflar, representing Code Blue, called for the school board to enforce Section 406 and by simple majority vote, to remove Thomas Hylton from the Pottstown School Board for improper conduct, specifically undermining the will and work of the task force appointed by President Huss.

Look for a flurry of advertorials from Mr. Hylton in the Mercury during the coming days to combat Mr. Leflar’s “leg drop”.

Why Is It Important For Pottstown Residents To Be Informed And Proactive?

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Image via Wikipedia

Code Blue is asking Pottstown Borough residents to make themselves aware of the current issues facing our borough and school district.  We here are Roy’s Rants agree!  The borough and school district occupy the same five square miles.  Therefore, it is crucial that the borough and school district work harmoniously and with the one vision for our community.  Your tax dollars support the borough government and the education of our children.

We believe the school district and borough are working more closely together.  A new spirit of cooperation is evolving since Dr. Lindley has become Superintendent of Schools.  We applaud the effort that the borough and school district are making to this end.  We encourage the borough and school district to continue working together and defining a common mission and vision to move Pottstown forward.

As a resident, the decisions that the Pottstown Borough Council and the Pottstown School Board make have a direct impact on your wallet.  Therefore, it is critical that taxpayers are educated consumers.  There are 22,377 Pottstown borough residents (2010 census).  Residents need to make fact-based decisions and not make decisions based the opinions of one or two outspoken people.

You are encouraged to attend school board and borough council meetings to gain first-hand knowledge of what goes on and see who is making decisions on your behalf and spending your money!  Knowledge is power.

Upcoming Pottstown School Board meetings are:

March 31st, April 14th, May 5th and May 19th

Upcoming Pottstown Borough Council meetings are:

April 11th and May 9th

There are some big decisions coming down the road about the number of elementary schools Pottstown really needs and can afford.  The school district is facing a large budget deficit due to funding cuts from Harrisburg and a declining tax base.  The teaching staff is without a contract and negotiations are not going well.  If you do not think these issues will impact your wallet, guess again!  If you are unhappy with your child’s education, your tax bill or have concerns with any of the issues I mentioned above, come to a school board meeting and let your feelings be known.  We elected these people into office and their job is to serve the taxpayers of this community.  They will welcome your comments.

http://www.pottstownschools.com/pottstown/Our%20District/Board%20of%20Education/Board%20Members.html/_top  Click this link to see who is on the school board if you are unsure.

The borough government is constantly grappling with decisions that affect your daily life at every meeting.  Sadly, a handful of people attend these meetings and offer little citizen advice.  Council needs to hear from the citizenry of this community.  Complaining that Pottstown sucks to everybody you know is not helpful and accomplishes little more than further damaging our community’s image to the outside world.  If you want to express your dissatisfaction about how this town is run, COME TO A COUNCIL MEETING and tell the people who can do something about it.  There are seven councilors making decisions for 22,377 people.  We voted them into office and they serve at our pleasure.  The taxpayers of this community put them in these positions.  Do you know who your councilor is?   http://www.pottstown.org/about_council.htm  Click this link to see who represents your Ward.

Do not be swayed by propaganda and skewed facts.  Make informed decisions by coming to meetings and asking questions from our elected officials.  Just because someone writes an opinion piece and publishes it in the newspaper does not mean it is 100 percent accurate.  It is an opinion.  An opinion can be defined as:  A belief or conclusion held with confidence but not substantiated by positive knowledge or proof. 

Knowledge is power!

Pottstown Planning Commission To Get Another New Member

Long-time Pottstown political figure, Karen Weil has resigned her seat on the Pottstown Planning Commission effective March 1st.  Karen felt it was time to step down after many years of service.

It appears this newest vacancy will be filled by one of the four remaining applicants who submitted resumes when Thomas Hylton was up for reappointment last month.  Technically, Mr. Hylton would be included in the four remaining applicants for Ms. Weil’s seat.

Last month, Andrew Kefer was unanimously appointed to the Planning Commission to fill Mr. Hylton’s seat when Mr. Hylton was not reappointed by Borough Council.  Mr. Kefer is a Chestnut Street resident and neighbor of Thomas Hylton.

The Latest Bloviation From Tom Hylton

Mr. Hylton’s latest “advertorial”, which appears in today’s Pottstown Mercury, would lead us to believe that the most pressing danger to Pottstown residents is car accidents.  Hmmmmm.  I also live in Pottstown Borough but fortunately in a different neighborhood than Mr. Hylton.  Being a resident of this community I also have some insight into what goes on in this burg (although in a more limited capacity than Mr. Hylton, of course).

To think that after the events of the last several weeks, capped off by a historic summit at Invictus Ministries, our greatest threat is car crashes and accidents leads me to wonder if Mr. Hylton lives in Pottstown.  Especially since the events leading up to and after the meeting at Invictus Ministries are in his supposed neighborhood.  Maybe he’s been out-of-town being a keynote speaker?

I do not believe the topic of conversation at Invictus Ministries was car crashes. I could be wrong, but I do not think so.  I had to leave early but from all accounts it was not a topic of concern to residents.

I am certainly not afraid to live here.  I go downtown frequently for events.  After living in and around Pottstown for almost 30 years I am no worse for wear.  However, to say that crime in Pottstown is the same as other towns around us indicates no research was done to support that statement.  Ignoring the current wave of shootings and stabbings is irresponsible.  This problem will not fix itself!

Here is a crime index for selected cities/towns in our area that I researched on City-data.com.  I think the figures speak for themselves.  Car crashes are not included in the crime statistics.  Auto theft, yes.  Auto accidents, no.  Nice try Tom.  A score of 350 – 700 is considered moderate.  Over 700 is considered high.

City 2009
   
City-data.com Crime Index  
   
US average 319.2
   
Royersford 242
   
Spring City 177.9
   
Birdsboro 135.4
   
Emmaus 131.1
   
Pottstown 454.7
   
Norristown 543.5
   
Coatesville 567.2
   
Downingtown 301.5
   
Easton 303.7
   
Boyertown 150.4
   
Reading 547

 

Phoenixville                               167.8 (2008)

Pottstown’s $86,602.64 Question

With the recent abolition of the Shade Tree Commission, a lingering question remains.  What should be done with the $80,000+ remaining in the Trees Inc. checkbook?  There was some debate in council about this money and it was mentioned that since the borough made donations for several years, that money should be returned if it was not spent.  The problem is that taxpayer money was commingled with other funds and Mr. Hylton has not provided an itemized list of how the taxpayer’s money was spent.

Council would like to use some or all the remaining money to set up a tree fund.  It would seem right that this money be turned over to the borough now that the Shade Tree Commission is no more and the borough will be responsible for tree maintenance in Pottstown going forward.  What exactly does Trees Inc. need this money for now?  Trees Inc. and the Shade Tree Commission seem, to many people, to be the same entity.  For example, by clicking on the Shade Tree Commission link on the borough website, one is redirected to the Trees Inc. website.  Mr. Hylton was in charge of both entities, simultaneously.

Trees Inc. received $104,970 from Pottstown Borough between 2003 and 2007, according to what is published on their website.  Yet looking at a screen print from the Trees Inc. website there was a paragraph that stated beginning in 2001 the borough began contributing about $21,000 annually.  Another curiosity is that under Financial Info there appears to be no record of any contributions between 1988 and 2003?  I must admit to being rather mystified that either no records were kept or no fundraising was done to keep adequate reserves for the maintenance of over 2500 trees for more than a decade!

Councilor Rhoads sent emails to former Shade Tree Commission Chairman Thomas Hylton requesting copies of all the original donations to Trees Inc. showing specifically what the money was used for, per contributor.  This information would pinpoint what taxpayer money was or was not used for.  Councilor Rhoads also requested a copy of the Trees Inc. budgets for 2001 and 2002 regarding the above mentioned paragraph stating Trees Inc. received contributions beginning in 2001 from the borough.  Mr. Hylton has never responded to Councilor Rhoads’ request for this information.  Also, the paragraph mentioning borough contributions starting in 2001 was removed from the Trees Inc. website.

The Trees Inc. website claims that “Pottstown has among the best maintained street trees in Pennsylvania at no cost to the taxpayer.”  Since public funds were contributed this appears to be an inaccurate statement.  Having sat through the last several Shade Tree Commission meetings, I can attest to the fact that taxpayers were treated very poorly when they approached the Shade Tree Commission for financial help with shade tree problems.  Taxpayers were repeatedly told there was no money to aid them with tree problems.  This cavalier attitude left homeowners to make choices like paying their property taxes or having a problem tree removed.  I would say there was certainly a “cost” to the taxpayer.  Trees Inc. had money available but refused to help residents claiming if we help you we will have to help everyone and then all the money will be gone.  Did it ever occur to anyone to raise more money???  Fundraising should have been a continuous process thereby ensuring adequate money was available to maintain thousands of street trees.  Again, what went on between 1988 and 2003???

Like the Shade Tree Commission, it would seem there is no longer a need for Trees Inc.  Taxpayer money was given to Trees Inc. so unless Mr. Hylton can produce an itemized list showing specifically what the $104,970 was used for, he should give the remaining Trees Inc. money back to the people of Pottstown for the establishment of a tree fund.  We are a financially challenged community, so do the right thing Mr. Hylton.

Where There Is Drama, There Is The Pottstown School Board

I read the article in today’s Sunday Mercury about the latest PSD nonsense that is distracting the school board from their primary task of making sure our children receive a proper education.

Wildly hurling racial accusations is quite serious.  From what I know of Michele Pargeon, she does not appear to be a “racist” as she is being labeled by Ms. Harris.  I am sure there is as misunderstanding here. 

As usual, Thomas Hylton is in the fray adding his “two cents” now that he has more time on his hands after being dethroned as Lord God Tree King.

I would hope President Huss takes immediate charge of this situation before it gets TOTALLY out of hand.  At this juncture we appear to be about there with front page headlines in the Mercury.  We just love to stir the pot over at the Mercury!

The school board needs to learn how to work and play nice with each other or the whole lot of you need to go.  We have too much at stake here and there is too much work to be done.  This political posturing needs to stop.  How convenient Mrs. Pargeon is up for re-election and now all of a sudden this issue develops.

I voted for you Ms. Harris but honestly I am starting to wish I could take my vote back.  I am NOT liking what you have brought to the table thus far. If this is any indication of future behavior that we can expect from you, I will vote for someone else when you come up for relection.

Two thumbs down for this childish behavior!!!  Nice black eye for Pottstown!

Treevenge, Hylton Style

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Image via Wikipedia

 

Yes folks, another paid utterance from our favorite Shade Tree Czar, Thomas Hylton, appears in today’s Pottstown Mercury.  This pearl of wisdom drips of acid after the last Pottstown Borough Council meeting rendered Mr. Hylton’s precious commission irrelevant with the passage of a new Shade Tree Ordinance that shifts authority for street trees to the Borough Manager.  

We are treated to another Jody Rhoads bashing and the same old tripe that Mr. Hylton bloviates time and again (see also hand waving).   

This will be short and sweet as I have exhausted myself on this subject.  

Tom, you lost.  Go away gracefully and stop making a colossal fool out of yourself.  You aren’t going to change anyone’s mind with your infomercials.  The deed is done dude.  You had your ten minutes before Council.  Obviously they don’t believe your hype either.  

Hopefully Pottstown will become a Tree City, USA and benefit from association with the Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters.  I think they are qualified to assist us so we can manage without your “expertise” from here on.