BOARD MEETING MINUTES (WORK SESSION FOLLOWED BY PUBLIC MEETING)
NESHAMINY BOARD OF SCHOOL DIRECTORS
September 16, 2003
Plan Midpoint Review Items
for Approval Public Meeting
Neshaminy Board of School Directors met in public session on September 16,
in the Auditorium of Maple Point Middle School. The following persons were in attendance:
June R. Bostwick, President
P. Howard Wilson
Mrs. Kimberly A. Jowett, Vice-President
Dr. Raymond J. Boccuti
Yvonne V. Butville
Harry P. Jones
Ms. Carol A. Drioli*
Mr. Richard S. Marotto
Mr. Steven E. Schoenstadt
Mr. Bruce M. Wyatt
Michael A. Soifer
William H. Spitz
Edward T. Stack
BOARD MEMBER NOT PRESENT:
Richard M. Eccles
50 persons from the public, staff and press
Mrs. Anita E. Walls
Thomas E. Profy, III, Esquire**
at meeting 7:15 p.m.
**arrived at meeting 7:40 p.m.
Call to Order
Bostwick called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.
Pledge of Allegiance
Bostwick requested those in attendance join in the salute to the flag.
Bostwick announced that public comment at a Work Session allows for a two
minute comment by each speaker and public comment would take place for one
Blake Simon, Langhorne, PA advised that he is a student at the high school
and a member of co-curricular activities.
Mr. Simon feels that it is necessary to build a new high school to
provide not only the current students of the Neshaminy School District,
but the future generations of students with an up-to-date, safe and
academically competitive learning environment.
Mr. Simon noted that this situation reminds him of a book he once
read called “Profiles and Courage” by the late John F. Kennedy.
Each chapter in the book describes men of courage, men who did what
was right for the greater good of the United States of America.
Edmund G. Ross, a senator from Kansas, had the deciding vote in the
impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson.
President Johnson had decided to follow the course set by Abraham
Lincoln, a course that entailed forgiveness to the Southern states.
President Johnson felt that the healing of the nation far
outweighed the monetary reparations of the South that would lead to
monetary gains for the North. Ross
knew that voting against impeachment of the President would be political
suicide, however, Ross knew it was the right thing to do for the country.
Mr. Simon advised that Ross voted against impeachment of President
Johnson and was never reelected to office.
Mr. Simon advised that the people on this Board must also make an
important decision, a decision that will have a permanent effect of the
educational system in our area. Hopefully,
this Board will decide with their hearts and not with their pocketbooks to
do the right thing. The Board
knows what the right thing to do is, and if costs were not an issue, the
Board would certainly vote to build a new high school.
When history looks back at the accomplishments of Edmund G. Ross it
can be said that he helped preserve the union of our great country.
Mr. Simon hopes that future generations will look back at the
accomplishments of the School Board and they will be able to say that this
Board helped Neshaminy be all that it can be.
Jim Bressi, Newtown Township, PA, advised that he is not a resident of
Neshaminy School District. Mr.
Bressi has been following closely in the newspaper what has been
developing and advised that he is a parent of two Council Rock North
students. Presently, Council
Rock North is now very similar to downtown Baghdad.
Mr. Bressi stated that you may not want to consider renovating a
school while students are inhabiting the building.
Constructions workers, materials, jackhammers, etc. are all mixed
in with students trying to take tests.
The first floor was to have been completed and is not, the second
floor has no ceiling tiles or floor tiles with exposed wires.
Mr. Bressi wanted to offer a word of advice from someone who is
currently living through these types of renovations.
Arianne Rayner, Langhorne, PA, is a student at Neshaminy High School and
is captain of the swim team and President of the National Honor Society.
Ms. Rayner spends a lot of time at Neshaminy High School and she
knows how to avoid the less desirable aspects of the school, for example,
which water fountains are the best to drink from and which bathrooms are
the best to use. Ms. Rayner
is not saying that she does not have pride in her school due to her
criticisms. Ms. Rayner is asking that an acceptable facility is
constructed to foster this pride in other students.
A disintegrating building is not the best way to encourage pride in
our schools, nor is it a suitable habitat for students to learn and work.
Ms. Rayner advises that there is no heat in the winter and it is
sweltering in the summer. At
Neshaminy it is not rare to see students wearing heavy parkas in school
because an extra layer or two will not suffice.
No one can delude themselves to believe that this is a healthy,
productive environment for students.
Ms. Rayner advised that Neshaminy High School had its day and time,
but that time has expired. We
must look to the future of the district, the future of the students and
the future of the community. Ms.
Rayner noted that the new building will require money and sacrifice,
however she believes that this sacrifice is necessary for the continued
success, growth, and tradition of excellence that Neshaminy is known for.
The community expects so much from the school and its students and
the students are grateful for all the support thus far, however, the
students are asking the community and School Board to help the students
obtain the school they need and deserve.
A building worthy of the Neshaminy name.
Jenny Santiago, Langhorne, PA, President of the senior class at Neshaminy
High School, spoke on behalf of the students currently attending Neshaminy
High School and explained the main reasons why the students feel a new
high school is needed. Ms.
Santiago feels that all students would agree that Neshaminy is a good high
school and that the district has done a good job with what really is a
very old building. Ms.
Santiago stated that a walk through the school quickly shows that as
population changed and needs arose that the school district responded. However, the response went off in all directions with what
looks like a complete lack of a plan.
Ms. Santiago stated that the essentials are at the high school,
however, they are in a dilapidated and run down state.
Ms. Santiago stated the following:
Heat is unreliable and inconsistent
Ceilings that leak on rainy
Trash cans sit in the hallways collecting the rain water
Windows and doors are often open in the coldest of weather to
compensate for the poor air quality in the school
Physical layout of the school cannot be changed
Hallways are overcrowded and virtually impassible when classes
Students are given 5 minutes to change classes, however it takes 2
minutes to move 10 feet
Students need to be dismissed early from class to make it to the
The layout of the school presents a security issue with the
Difficult to keep intruders out of the building
students of Neshaminy High School are in favor of building a new school.
Ms. Santiago stated that the elimination of the current physical
problems would result in a more efficient building as well as a more
comfortable learning environment.
Kevin Yeingst, Feasterville, PA, submitted an e-mail letter to the Board,
which was not able to be forwarded. Mr.
Yeingst presented 150 signatures for the Board in favor of a new high
school. Mr. Yeingst noted
that several citizens who spoke last week complained the tax burden was
too much. Some of these folks
are part of the new age restricted 55 and over community where the homes
are priced at $200,000 - $300,000 each.
Mr. Yeingst felt that if they can afford that, they can afford a
$100 tax increase. Mr.
Yeingst stated that five adult communities have been built in this
Township in the last three years. Mr.
Yeingst understands that some seniors are limited, however, it is not this
School Board’s job, and it is the representative’s fight to change the
tax laws in the State. The
School Board’s job is to look out for the children and do what is best
for them and their education. Mr.
Yeingst urged the School Board to do what is right and build a new high
Charles Lauble, Jr., Langhorne Manor, PA, presented the original plan for
the new “old school” in which a lot of thought went into.
Mr. Lauble is a parent of children that now attend the school, but
he also attended the school. Mr.
Lauble noted that when the school was built and the students moved in it
was not finished. Mr. Lauble
noted that a little inconvenience will not hurt his children.
Mr. Lauble noted that his daughter volunteered to come and speak
that the school is fine with her the way it is, however, Mr. Lauble did
not want her to speak and be intimidated.
Mr. Lauble is a preservationist.
If it were not for people with foresight, when you go to an Ivy
League campus you would not see the brick buildings that were restored and
still in use today. Mr.
Lauble noted that Neshaminy is his heritage and Mr. Lauble is a firm
believer that this school can be functional as the survey stated.
The safety is fine, and it was good then and it is still good now. Mr. Lauble noted that in case of a real emergency it is great
to have eighty doors to have the students evacuate, being a member of the
volunteer fire company for over forty years.
Mr. Lauble thanked God that there were people around who preserved
William O’Connor, Langhorne, PA, stated that the high school issue has
become very confusing. Mr. O’Connor read that the May primary election voter
turnout was relatively light, but the Courier Times in a more recent
editorial stated that the people stormed to the polls.
Mr. O’Connor could not find any candidates in his Region 2 that
were in favor of the high school, so for those of the public who favored a
new high school in Region 2 they did not have any say in this election. Candidates who ran in this election and won, who ran on
platforms following the will of the people, are now stating that they
support renovation. Mr.
O’Connor noted that renovation was the least desired option.
Mr. O’Connor noted that politics has caused this mess; it has
divided the community and the School Board.
It is getting worse. The
problem extends beyond the members of this Board to numerous outside
forces who are contributing to this problem, not least of which is the
Republican leadership within this community.
Mr. O’Connor received many calls after the Act 34 hearing stating
he should run for office. Mr.
O’Connor stated that he is not a politician, he is a father of four who
is sick and tired of the vote getting politicians who are more interested
in party loyalty than they are in the health and education of our
children. Mr. O’Connor will
start focusing his efforts on assisting the campaigns of School Board
candidates from other political parties.
If the Republican leadership learns that we are not interested in
politics that hurt our children and community, maybe they will stop acting
Howard Lindner, Langhorne, PA, retired school teacher.
Mr. Lindner congratulated the students and their involvement this
evening for an outstanding job. Mr.
Lindner stated that this question is more about the referendum.
Instead of old school or new school, all the literature that was
distributed was for a referendum. The candidates won on the referendum
issue. Mr. Lindner stated
that an editorial in the Courier Times written by two people stated:
“In our humble opinion the only way to fairly decide the issue
for a new high school in Neshaminy is to put it to a referendum vote and
let the community decide. After
all the property owners are the ones that pay school taxes and only they
have the right and obligation to make this important decision.
The nine School Board members cannot and should not decide this
very important issue that will affect the entire community.
With a vote, whatever the outcome, there can never be any doubt
about what interest really drove the School Board’s decision.
The voters will have to live with and be accountable only to
themselves and our community.” Mr.
Lindner found the editorial excellent.
Mr. Lindner noted that William Shakespeare stated that “no legacy
is so rich as honesty.” Thomas
Jefferson stated: “Honesty is the first chapter in the back of
wisdom.” Mr. Lindner stated
that the community on a whole has not felt that the Board has been honest
with themselves or to the public. By
having a referendum it will resolve all the issues.
Politics has been involved forever.
Each Board member was appointed and ran through politics.
J. Offenbecher, Feasterville, PA, stated that he is a senior citizen and
he opposes the measure to build a new, expensive $90M school.
It is out of sight for the senior citizens on fixed incomes and
only the Board is deciding this. Mr.
Offenbecher stated it is unfair and the Board should think hard before
making any decisions without having a referendum of all the people, not
merely appointed people.
Mel Ginden, Langhorne, PA, stated that he is not present to discuss what
the Board should do, however, there is going to be a bond issue and what
direction the Board takes is a concern.
Mr. Ginden has read carefully all the literature and the cost
analysis with Parkland High School, and Mr. Ginden has visited the
Parkland High School web site. Mr.
Ginden noted that they opened their new high school in l999 and ATS&R
is the architect who designed their school. Parkland is 460,000 sq. feet.
The only difference in the square footage is because Parkland has a
swimming pool. Mr. Ginden
noted that the cost of Parkland High School was $52M.
The cost for Neshaminy would be $68M.
$16M increase in three years.
Mr. Ginden found a drawing of the Parkland school on their web site
and it is identical to the drawings presented in the Neshaminy
architect’s fee for the exact same building is $4.2M.
Mr. Ginden questioned why the district would pay the architect
$4.2M to produce exactly the same building that was built in Allentown.
Mr. Ginden noted that the newspaper is mcall.com.
Len Heaney, Feasterville, PA, stated that he is co-president of Ferderbar
PTO and is in support of the new high school, and Mr. Heaney stated that
everyone should consider all the work that the Steering Committee put into
this project that it is necessary to build a new high school.
Rita Geddes, Lower Southampton Township, stated that she is in support of
a new high school and Council Rock has a second high school so that when
there were students who had breathing problems or other health issues, all
they needed was a doctor’s note in order for them to attend Council Rock
South which is the new building. Over
twenty percent of Neshaminy’s student population has asthma, including
both of Mrs. Geddes’ children. Where
would they go and offer them the same courses and the same programs.
Mrs. Geddes noted that Parkland High School was looked at as part
of the Strategic Planning Committee and Mrs. Geddes visited the site and
has a friend that works at Parkland and there are differences.
The basic layout may be the similar, since it is proven to be a
functional structure, the interior designs would be different.
Boccuti reviewed responses received after the Act 34 Hearing.
Items for Approval
Trip information distributed for the following trips was
of the Mountain Wrestling Tournament – Neshaminy High School to
Bellefonte, PA – December 19-20, 2003
Tournament – Neshaminy High School to Manheim High School, Lancaster, PA - December 29-30, 2003
Girls Basketball Team
Tournament – Neshaminy High School to Wyomissing High School, Lancaster,
PA - December 29-30, 2003
was Board consensus for the three trips.
for Appointing Professionals for the purpose of preparing a proposal to be
presented to the school district for financing its capital needs.
Stack made the following statement:
“When I asked to return to the school board, after serving in
that capacity for two terms, I advised that my principle objective was to
help bring resolution to the high school issue.
My initial opinion was we should incorporate the renovations that
had been made over the past 8 –10 years.
But, as you examine these renovations it is clear that the core of
the high school, our flagship, still requires major attention.
Renovation of A Hall would consume the better part of a $60-$70
million expenditure over a period of 6 years, would subject our children
to an unhealthy, unsafe environment that would be disruptive to the
educational process. Further, such renovation would buy us only another 15-20
years before an additional major expenditure would be necessary.
In contrast, a new high school would be completed within 3 years
and last for 50 years. While construction is occurring adjoining to the existing
facility, any disruption to the educational process will be better
managed. We will save over
$440,000 a year by consolidating the 9th grade.
Of greater significance, in closing Neshaminy Middle School we will
realize $1.5 million in operating savings and rental income estimated at
$1 million annually. All
together this is just under $3 million that will cover the better part of
a little more than $4 million in annual debt that the high school project
will incur. And, this is
without factoring the $20 - $25 million in renovations that will be
avoided at Neshaminy Middle School.
financial case for building a new high school is frankly overwhelming.
With additional instructional space, new construction will, without
question, provide greater state reimbursement.
Given the unanimous consensus of the citizens high school steering
committee that “something needs to be done … at a cost that the
community can bear.” I
believe we have accomplished that objective in asking the homeowner with
an average assessed value for an annual investment of under $90.
A new high school, in conjunction with Neshaminy’s Blue Ribbon
Educational program, will attract more interest in our community that will
increase our property values. This
is simply a very smart investment, and given today’s near historic low
interest rates and Neshaminy’s low debt structure, we would be
delinquent, even foolish to pass this up.
is why I will vote with the majority of this board to build a new high
me further say that I have read every letter and e-mail submitted on the
new vs. renovation options. I
commend you all for your thoughtful and insightful commentary.
Over two out of every three who responded agreed a major investment
is needed at the high school. It’s
just a question of where it makes the most sense to spend this amount of
money. When it was necessary
to close a school, this board had done so.
Where we have the opportunity to implement other solutions to
operate our facilities more efficiently, this board is prepared to do so.
those opposed to a new high school say – we cannot afford further
property tax increases. You
are right – whether we spend anything on the high school – we are
already paying far too much on property taxes.
I applaud your activism but I question your focus.
Yes, we have to be prudent in how your tax dollars are spent, but
the fact is the way education is funded in Pennsylvania is at the heart of
the problem. For the past 10
years our elected state officials have effectively done nothing to bring
about property tax, school funding or pension plan reform.
It’s time for us all to focus on this problem, but don’t
be shortsighted, please recognize the educational and financial case for
building a new high school that will provide benefits which will extend to
Spitz made the following statement:
have listened for many months to residents on both sides of the high
school issue. I have looked
closely at both the financial and educational issues involved in this
decision. The educational
benefits from constructing a new building are clear.
Since the primary election in May, however, my major concern has
been whether there is sufficient public support for pursuing either the
new school or renovation options. The
turnout at prior meetings and the Act 34 Hearing, combined with the
hundreds of letters and e-mails that the district has received lead me to
conclude that neither option has an overwhelming majority of support. It is clear that this is a contentious issue on both sides
and whatever decisions this or the next board makes there will be a
portion of the community that does not support those decisions. I have carefully considered the primary objections to
building new, although some of those opposed have argued that we cannot
afford to do much of anything at the high school, I do not believe this is
a real option. If we do not
build new, then major renovations will have to be undertaken at the
existing building. At least
two of the new incoming board members recognize this and have come out
publicly in support of an option that will blend elements of a new
building with repairs to portions of the old building.
I commend them for the seriousness of their idea and I look forward
to examining it more closely in the near future.
those who recognize the need to do something, but oppose the new school,
the most common arguments I have heard is that first it is too expensive,
second, why hasn’t the current building been properly maintained.
There is a lot of misinformation that is spread around the
community feeding these feelings. One
resident told me that she heard that her property taxes were going to
double if we decided to build a new high school.
Others have been told that their taxes would rise by over 60% and
have asked why can’t we just spend a bit more to fix up and maintain
what we already have.
my view the condition of the current Neshaminy High School is not due to
the lack of proper maintenance. When
you have a 1950’s era steam heating system, single pain glass throughout
the building, half-size science labs, completely inadequate electrical,
plumbing, ventilation and security systems, and a Rub Goldberg like
layout, with over two miles of hallways, 62 separate exit points and 23
roofs, it is not a lack of maintenance that is the problem. The building would need major overhaul and renovations if it
is continue to function for the next 15-20 years.
Among those who think that we should pursue renovations, I have
heard well-intentioned arguments that we should do just a little at a
time. If we were to follow
that path I suppose a reasonable approach would be to support a small tax
increase, say 2%, to be put into a capital fund, that would start to
address the needs at the high school and we would put in the same amount
every year for the foreseeable future to fund these long overdue
renovations. If I actually
proposed such a plan, I suspect that many of the residents who are opposed
to a new building would understand. Probably
not too happy about paying an extra 2%, but nevertheless feeling much
better than having to pay for a whole new high school.
Well, it may surprise you to know, that this 2% is the annual
average cost of the current proposal to build a new Neshaminy High School.
2% is the net cost to build new.
To my mind spending an extra 2% on new construction is clearly
preferable to spending it on pay as you go renovations.
do believe the board members have an obligation to listen to their
constituents, but when there are large number of citizens on different
sides of an issue we also have an obligation to decide that issue based on
what we think is in the best interest of the community as a whole.
Accordingly, I will support spending an extra 2% to build a new
Neshaminy High School. At the
same time I will continue to diligently look for savings elsewhere to
offset part of this increase. I
hope that members of this and the next board can build consensus to move
forward with what I will call the 2% solution.”
Soifer presented the following statement:
realize that unfortunately this issue has divided the community.
Part of the reasons that the community ended up divided was because
for some reason all the information was never provided in a timely and
efficient manner so that people could attempt to make an intelligent
decision. When we sit back
and look at the real costs over the life of renovating or building it is a
no brainer decision to realize that building new is cheaper.
The problem becomes exacerbated because of the fact that the public
was never told in the beginning that Neshaminy Junior would close, that
the cost savings from Neshaminy Junior and bringing in the 9th
grade into a new building would provide savings that would be realized by
building new. It was never presented in terms of the fashion that we have
now. If this was all made
available, I believe that more people would have understood that the only
way to go is to build from scratch. It
provides you with an efficient building that will last for many years, and
because of it I am going to support a new high school.”
Drioli questioned why with a bond that is this large is only one
presentation from one bond underwriter being provided to the Board.
Ms. Drioli questioned why First American who has been serving the
district for many years and pays taxes in this district is not providing a
presentation. First American has been very cooperative with the district
with regards to various contributions when things were needed.
Ms. Drioli felt that a bond this large should be supported by more
then one bond underwriter. While
Ms. Drioli likes RBC Dain Rauscher she would like to support First
American as well.
Bostwick responded that the district has chosen a quality architect and
this Board desires quality financial support.
RBC Dain Rauscher is tops in the state for what they do.
Mrs. Bostwick inquired whether if this is important to Ms. Drioli
would she then join them in favor of a new high school.
Ms. Drioli responded after a referendum takes place.
Michael Lillys from RBC Dain Rauscher provided all Board members with
three handouts and an overview of the Company.
Mr. Lillys reviewed with Board members a Financial Summary of two
possible bond financing scenarios in terms of what the call provisions
(paid-off) would be. Mr. Lillys stated that it is very important for the taxpayer
to realize is that the impact will be phased in over a three year period.
Mr. Lillys advised that the millage would increase 9.1 mills per
year and after three years 27.3 mills would be in place to cover the
Spitz noted that he assumes that the value of the mill remains constant.
If the value of a mill increases, then the increase in the millage
would be lowered.
Lillys reviewed with Board members an Interest Rate History graph, which
essentially provides interest rates since 1970.
In the 1980’s rates were very high in the 13% range.
Since that time rates have been on a gradual decline.
As of June 2003 interest rates have been at a forty year low.
Lillys noted that his firm has been a leader in school finance in the
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Mr.
Lillys also advised that his firm has many bond sales personnel.
This is a critical factor in getting the lowest possible interest
rate. The more sales
personnel available typically the more demand that can be generated to
Lillys introduced Ms. Donna McCallum from Janney Montgomery Scott, which
is headquartered in Philadelphia. Ms.
McCallum noted that Janney Montgomery is one of the largest regional
investment banking firms on the east coast.
Ms. McCallum provided Board members with an overview of the firm.
Ms. McCallum discussed with Board members the background of Janney
Montgomery Scott and an overview of services, bond distribution
capabilities and strategy and recent managed and co-managed bond issues.
Ms. McCallum noted that her company has worked with RBC Dain
Lillys advised the Board that it would be beneficial to reschedule the
public meeting now scheduled for October 14, 2003 to possibly October 16,
2003, which would make it more pleasing to sell the bonds since Monday,
October 13, 2003 is a holiday, Columbus Day.
J. O’Neill, Esquire, attorney with the firm of Windle & McErlane,
P.C. acting as bond counsel to the school district for ten years.
Mr. O’Neill advised that as bond counsel his job would entail to
be the expert to the district’s solicitor in this specialized field. Mr. O’Neill advised that the Official Statement will be
reviewed by the FCC and he will help the district’s solicitor,
administration and underwriter make sure that the Official Statement is
accurate and complete. The
ultimate job of the bond counsel is to print on the bonds the opinion that
the bonds of this school district are legal, valid and binding obligations
of Neshaminy School District, that the interest is not subject to federal
income tax, that the bonds are not subject to Pennsylvania state income
tax or corporate net income tax, and that all provisions of the law have
been complied with in issuing the bonds.
O’Neill advised board members that he looked forward to working with the
board members and school administration on this project.
Items for Information
Strategic Plan Midpoint
Review and Act 48 Plan Resubmission
Boccuti advised that the Pennsylvania Department of Education divides the
501 school districts in the Commonwealth into three (3) phases.
The phases are a set period of six years when school districts need
to submit their new Teacher Induction Plans, the Act 48 Professional
Education Plan and their Strategic Plans.
Neshaminy School District is a Phase l school district, therefore,
the district’s six year time period is September 30, 2000 through
September 30, 2006. The
district submitted two years ago its three plans as required.
The Teacher Induction Plan and Act 48 Professional Plan was
approved. Strategic Plan was
approved through September 30, 2006, but the Department of Education
requires a midpoint review at this time.
Boccuti advised that the Act 48 committee comprised of administrators,
teachers and community members is required by the Department of Education
to meet every year to review the plan and its accomplishment throughout
the year. The recommendation
of the committee was to resubmit the plan without changes since it is
working extremely well.
Strategic Plan contained 17 action plans that were presented to be
accomplished by September 2006, and Dr. Boccuti reported that out of the
17 plans, 4 are completely operational, 9 are currently in progress and 4
are not yet started. A
detailed packet will be provided to all the members of the Strategic
Boccuti submitted to the Board Secretary two signature pages that will
need to be provided with the documents that will be provided at the end of
the month. The Act 48 Plan
requires the signature of the school board secretary, president and the
Superintendent of Schools and the chairperson of the committee.
The Midpoint Review requires the signature of the school board
president and the superintendent.
Wilson advised that the opening of this school year went very well and the
facilities department did an outstanding job.
Transportation was ready to go.
Mr. Wilson thanked all for their help!
Butville advised that the Board Policies Committee scheduled a meeting for
Thursday, October 2, 2003 at 6:00 p.m. in the Board Room.
Spitz reported that the annual fundraiser will be held on September 26,
Soifer reported that no meetings have taken place.
Drioli advised that a meeting was taking place this evening.
Spitz reported that no meeting has taken place, but a meeting will be
Butville advised that classes have begun.
The Summer Exploratory three week course was offered for students
to learn about the Tech School and its programs.
Twenty students were certified in Red Cross/First Aide in the
Medical Emergency Class. Golf
Outing will take place on Monday, October 6, 2003, at the Bensalem Country
Club benefiting the Tech School’s Educational Foundation.
education classes are still being registered at the Tech School, which
starts on September 29th.
colleges, Pierce College and Drexel University, are holding classes at the
Committee will be meeting for the Tech School since some of the
participating districts are unhappy with the current funding formula.
meeting will follow. Mrs.
Bostwick advised that the Appointment of the Lower Bucks Tech School
Authority members will be voted upon.
Walls advised that there was no correspondence.
Other Board Business
Bostwick announced that the Tuesday, October 14, 2003, meeting will be
canceled. The next public
board meeting will take place Thursday, October 16, 2003.
Butville advised that she will be attending the PSBA Legislative Policy
Board Meeting in Harrisburg, PA in her role as a Regional Director for the
Adjournment of Meeting
Stack moved that this portion of the meeting be adjourned and Mr. Soifer
seconded the motion. The
Board unanimously approved the motion.
Mrs. Bostwick adjourned the meeting at 8:30 p.m.
Call to Order
Mrs. Bostwick called the
Public Meeting to order at 8:45 p.m.
Ms. Stephanie Huston
is President of the Student Council at Neshaminy High School.
Ms. Huston advised that the goal was to increase communication
between the school board members and the student body.
Ms. Huston advised that they hope to do this by conducting polls
and encouraging students to voice their opinions and concerns to them.
Ms. Lauren Recupido is
the Neshaminy High School Student Council Historian.
Ms. Recupido advised that they will be conducting a poll asking
students their opinion whether or not a new school should be built or
whether the school should undergo renovations.
Ms. Recupido introduced Ms. Brynn Keller who prepared a
Ms. Brynn Keller, a
senior at Neshaminy High School, presented a Power Point presentation
regarding Neshaminy High School. Ms.
Keller stated that the opinions that she represents are her own and does
not represent the entire student body.
A poll will be taken at a later point.
Ms. Keller believes that the most important part of a school are
the students and faculty, however, the school building itself is a very
important part. A school
building is supposed to be a safe and welcoming learning environment and
Neshaminy High School no longer meets those criteria.
It should be the showcase of the community and Neshaminy High
School does not do this any longer.
Ms. Keller advised of the
Ms. Keller advised
that Neshaminy High School used to be something that students could be
proud of, however, its general state of decay reflects poorly on the
community. The high school is
further declining while neighboring school districts are getting brand new
high schools. In order to
remain one of the best schools in the state, this district needs to follow
suit. We need to look toward
the future and we cannot be selfish in our decision.
Despite protests we can afford to build new. A price tag cannot be put on education. Ms. Keller noted that as the good book and the Beetles once
said: “To everything there
is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.”
The time for Neshaminy to have a new high school is now!
Approval of Minutes
Upon motion of Mr.
Soifer and seconded by Ms. Jowett the Board unanimously approved the
minutes of the August 19, 2003 Work Session/Public Meeting.
Approval of Treasurer’s Report, Bills
for Payment, Investments, and Exonerations of Personal and Per Capita Tax
– Mr. Wilson presented the following for approval:
August, 2003 Treasurer’s Report, subject to audit
Bills for payment Check Register – August, 2003
Two Escrow Funds and Five Investment Funds
No Budget Transfers
Personal and per capita tax exonerations for July, 2003 and August,
Spitz moved the August, 2003 Treasurer’s Report be approved, subject to
audit, and the August, 2003 bills for payment, and personal and per capita
tax exonerations be approved. Mr.
Soifer seconded the motion.
Board approved the Treasurer’s Reports, subject to audit, and bills for
payment by a vote of eight ayes and zero nays.
Mr. Eccles was not present.
Certified and Support Personnel Actions
Mr. Wilson presented
the following for approval:
Elections – Certified Personnel
Resignations and Leaves of Absence – Certified Personnel
Elections – Support Personnel
Resignations and Leaves of Absence – Support Personnel
Addendum of Elections of Certified Personnel
Addendum of Elections of Support Personnel
Addendum to Resignation/Leaves of Certified Personnel
Addendum to Sabbatical Leaves of Certified Personnel
Wilson announced that Mr. Harry P. Jones, Director of Human Resources
announced his retirement effective at the end of this school year.
Mr. Jones is an honest, loyal employee who will be missed greatly
by the district. Mr. Wilson
thanked Mr. Jones for all the efforts that he has given the district
throughout his thirty years of employment.
Wilson recommended the approval of the personnel report for certified and
Schoenstadt inquired regarding a Food Service Summary.
Mr. Wilson advised that there was no report for the month of
Drioli stated on the record that based on the Administration’s
recommendation that these interviewed personnel are acceptable.
Ms. Drioli moved the
personnel actions be approved. Mr.
Stack seconded the motion.
The Board approved the
Certified and Support Personnel actions by a vote of eight ayes and zero
nays. Mr. Eccles was not
Motion: Resolution for Appointing Professionals for the Purpose of
Preparing a Proposal
To Be Presented To The School District
For Financing Its Capital Needs.
Stack presented the following motion:
Neshaminy School District (the “School District”), by Resolution
adopted November 26, 2002, authorized and thereafter issued its General
Obligation Note (the “Temporary Note”) in the amount of $2,268,000 and
maturing December 30, 2004, for the purpose of financing roof and air
handling equipment replacement at several of the schools in the School
District and to finance architectural fees for the proposed high school
interest rates in the Municipal Bond Market are near historic lows, but
are generally expected to rise in the foreseeable future; and
the School District has major capital projects that it will need to fund
within the next three years; and
the School District desires to take advantage of the favorable rates of
interest in the current Municipal Bond Market; and
it will be necessary for the School District to request certain
professionals to undertake and to analyze the capital and financing
requirements of the School District and present a proposal for the
issuance of School District bonds;
THEREFORE, be it resolved by the
Board of Directors of Neshaminy School District as follows:
The School District hereby authorizes, requests and directs the
professionals indicated in section 2 hereof to work with School District
Administration officials and the School District’s Solicitor to make a
proposal at the School District’s October 16, 2003 meeting for the
issuance of School District General Obligation Bonds sufficient to
refinance the Temporary Note funds to perform other capital projects at
schools within the District, and to finance the estimated cost of
construction, cost of issue and related costs related to the proposed new
Neshaminy High School Project as described during the Act 34 Hearing held
September 9, 2003. The Bonds
should provide that they can be redeemed in whole or in part after a
period of no more than ten years from the date of issue and that the
identification and scope of the capital project or projects to be financed
with the proceeds of the Bonds can be changed by the School District at
The School District hereby appoints RBC Dain Rauscher and Janney
Montgomery Scott in its capacity as an Underwriter of the Bonds and Thomas
J. O’Neill, Esquire, of Windle & McErlane, P.C. as Bond Counsel to
prepare the necessary offering documentation and official actions required
for the School District, in consultation with the School District
Administration and Solicitor, and to make the presentation at the
above-identified meeting of the School District, unless market or other
conditions make it inadvisable to make such a presentation.
Schoenstadt seconded the motion.
Drioli requested an amendment to the motion to include First American,
since First American has served this district as well as RBC Dain Rauscher.
was no second to the amended motion.
The amended motion failed.
Stack commented that the Board is looking at floating a $100M bond.
There was reference to the bond payments and millage impact that
this will represent, three years with a millage increase of 9.1 each year.
Mr. Stack reviewed with the Board the worksheet which outlined
the projects included: $85M
new high school, capital expenses of two (2) swing loans - $5.5M, and
other district projects can be addressed in excess of $5M over the next
two years. Savings
anticipated to be provided with these actions:
annual staff savings - $440,100, increase of additional operating
costs of $136,000, $1.5M savings in closing Neshaminy Middle School,
rental income estimated at $1M for Neshaminy Middle building.
Mr. Stack advised that in the year 2008-2009 the taxpayer will have
an $82 payment annually that will be made toward this bond issue.
Bostwick requested a roll call vote on the Resolution.
The Board approved the motion by a vote of seven ayes (Mrs.
Bostwick, Mrs. Butville, Mrs. Jowett, Mr. Schoenstadt, Mr. Soifer, Dr.
Spitz, Mr. Stack) and one nay (Ms. Drioli).
Mr. Eccles was not present.
Mr. Wilson thanks Dr.
Costanzo for her efforts with the Federal Grants.
At this early date the district has obtained over $956,940.00.
The total will continue to rise.
Other Board Business
Mrs. Butville advised
that she will be attending the PSBA Convention on October 21-24, 2003 in
presented the following motion:
positions for a five (5) year term on the Lower Bucks Tech School Board
Authority are open. Two
community members, Rita Geddes and Mike Binder, of Lower Southampton
Township have desired an interest to be appointed to said Board.
Ms. Drioli seconded
the motion. The Board
approved the motion by a vote of eight ayes and zero nays. Mr. Eccles was not present.
Board Secretary advised that there was no correspondence.
Mr. Richard Edelman,
Oakford, PA, stated he is a l964 graduate of Neshaminy High School.
Mr. Edelman advised that Lower Southampton is the oldest building
in the district and is in wonderful condition since it has been
maintained. Mr. Edelman
stated that he is the past Vice President of Neshaminy Valley Music
Theater and have been with them since 1982.
This group provides one of the largest scholarship grants for
students attending college for the performing arts.
Mr. Edelman has watched the building deteriorate.
Neglect has occurred at the building.
Mr. Edelman asked the Board to think about the citizens that have
paid taxes in this school district for fifty years.
Mel Ginden, Langhorne, PA, clarified that the bond issue of 9.1 mills the
first year has nothing to do with the board’s budget. Whatever the millage rate increase will be for the year, the
taxpayer will need to add an additional 9.1 mills to it.
Mr. Ginden asked the Board not to confuse the issue with the $100
amount. People with new
properties will experience a higher increase because their properties are
assessed so much higher. Mr.
Ginden advised that many of the fees and costs are based on the percentage
of the operation. Mr. Ginden
requested that there be an oversight group that really and truly looks at
the blueprints to examine them for accuracy so the Board and community are
not being raped.
Mr. Stack advised that
Mr. Soifer correctly identified an error in the worksheet provided on page
three. The amount of funds
that will be available for other district projects is $4,524,632.
Ms. Drioli suggested
to the seniors in Flowers Mill and any other 55 and over community that
perhaps they should go to the legislators and County that the assessment
should be set differently for a community of 55 and over, since your
market to sell your home is not the same.
Ms. Drioli noted their market is not as vast and as wide.
Mrs. Jowett moved the
meeting be adjourned and Mr. Soifer seconded the motion.
The Board unanimously approved the motion.
Mrs. Bostwick adjourned the meeting at 9:30 p.m.