Board of School Directors met in public session on January 8, 2002 in the Board
Room of the District Offices, Maple Point Middle School.
The following persons were in attendance:
Call to Order –
Mr. Schoenstadt called the meeting to order at 7:10 p.m.
Pledge of Allegiance –
Mr. Schoenstadt requested those in attendance join in the salute to the flag.
Agenda Amendment –
Mr. Schoenstadt recommended the agenda be amended to reflect the public comment
segment of the meeting will be held following agenda items for discussion
“Attendance Boundaries” and “Future Use of Tawanka”.
There was Board consensus for Mr. Schoenstadt’s recommendation.
The agenda was amended in accordance with Mr. Schoenstadt’s
There were no announcements.
Educational Presentation – Nicole Eckles, Eighth Grade Student at Poquessing Middle School, First Prize in the Jeanie Johnston Education Essay Contest
announced Nicole Eckles, Poquessing Middle School eighth grade student, won
first prize in the Jeanie Johnston Education Essay Contest, which includes a
$500 savings bond. Her essay,
“Leaving Ireland,” pertains to a ship bringing immigrants to America.
When the ship the Jeanie Johnston docks in Bristol this May, Nicole’s
essay will be read be at the ceremony. Nicole
has been invited to board the ship. Nicole’s mother, grandparents and several Poquessing Middle
School staff members were in attendance at the meeting.
Nicole read her essay “Leaving Ireland” (see attachment I).
Dr. Bowman congratulated Nicole on her achievement.
Motion: Appointment of Architect
presented the following motion:
WHEREAS, the services of an architect are required to prepare the necessary plans and specifications to continue building renovations and/or construction in the Neshaminy School District; and
WHEREAS, a committee comprised of a Board member and administrators recently conducted interviews of several architectural firms and reported a recommendation to the Board of School Directors at the November Board Meeting.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that BASCO Associates, Architects, Engineers and Planners, be contracted to provide the necessary architectural services for the renovations and/or construction projects approved by the Neshaminy Board of School Directors.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this appointment shall be subject to the terms of the contract acceptable to the Solicitor, Board President and the Business Administrator, and the Business Administrator be authorized to execute the contract in the name of and on behalf of the Neshaminy School District.
seconded the motion.
Mr. Dengler explained he will abstain
from voting on the motion due to the problems he had with BASCO’s performance
regarding the renovation of the Maple Point School and Sandburg School
auditoriums. The Board approved the
appointment of architect motion with eight ayes and one abstention, Mr. Dengler.
Items for Discussion
Attendance Boundaries – Information distributed prior to
the meeting. Dr. Bowman explained
at a previous meeting, the Board had reviewed an elementary attendance
boundaries plan that the administration felt was the best fit and most balanced
plan for the District. However, it
was the first draft of the plan and the community had not had an opportunity to
provide input on the plan. On
December 19, Mr. Marotto and Dr. Boccuti met with community members. The community members’ comments and recommendations
have been reviewed and revisions have been made to the plan.
advised the Board the revised plan will be presented to the Board for approval
at the January 22 Public Meeting. Approval
is needed in January, because the plan will affect staffing and the budget.
The plan remains a viable educational program for students.
He noted the following under the revised plan:
· The balance will be reasonable between the schools.
· There will not be a large differential between the schools.
It addresses most of the concerns presented
by members of the community, particularly parents whose children would be
affected by the change in attendance boundaries.
Mr. Marotto noted
the original attendance boundaries plan was presented to the Board on November
13. After the presentation, the
amount of contact with the community members has been significant.
Approximately 70 community members attended a community meeting on
December 19, which was very worthwhile. He
explained the original elementary attendance boundaries plan was a mathematical
plan. It equally balanced all the schools so the usage at each of
the schools was very similar, i.e., 87 to 88 percent usage, contiguous
attendance boundaries and decreased amount of transportation needed.
A significant point made by community members at the December 19 meeting
was perhaps the perfect mathematical balance is a good one, but one that is a
little too balanced. The community members asked that consideration be given to
unbalancing some of the schools a percentage point or two and flexing some
students back to their original schools.
reported the revisions to the attendance boundaries plan decreases the number of
students changing schools by 240 students or from 18.5 percent to 13 percent.
Some communities that were being moved to other schools have been moved
back to their original schools. The
balancing is not as mathematically perfect as it was under the original plan.
Some schools’ utilization is a little higher than others and some a
little lower. The school with the
highest capacity utilization is the Hoover School at 91 percent and the
lowest capacity utilization school is the Buck School at 86 percent.
The key areas adjusted from the original plan are as follows:
· Langhorne Manor – Will remain at Heckman School
· Tareyton Estates – Will remain at Hoover School
· Oaklihurst – Will remain at Hoover School
Meadows Apartments – Will remain at
reviewed the current and modified attendance boundaries plan maps.
He explained all Lower Southampton students will attend Lower Southampton
schools. He reviewed the capacities
of the elementary schools, which will be as follows:
Buck School 86 percent capacity Same students
Everitt School 87 percent capacity Losing 15 students
Heckman School 89 percent capacity 18 percent new students
Hoover School 91 percent capacity 14 percent new students
Lower Southampton School 87 percent capacity 49 percent new students
Miller School 89 percent capacity Same students
Ferderbar School 89 percent capacity Same students
90 percent capacity
20 percent new students
explained there is a 5 percent differential range in school capacity.
At the Board’s direction, modular classrooms will not be used for
full-time, regular classrooms. The
modular classrooms will be used for special classes, i.e., speech, Title I, etc.
In response to a
Board member’s question, Dr. Bowman explained West Durham Road (2P) students
will be moved from the Everitt School to the Schweitzer School.
The Everitt School’s current capacity is 94 percent.
If Everitt students are not transferred to the Schweitzer School, the
Schweitzer School will be significantly underutilized.
The Schweitzer School is a neighborhood school, and the administration
does not want it to be an Intermediate Unit center.
It is the administration’s recommendation that West Durham Road (2P) be
a part of the Schweitzer School attendance area.
explained he has been contacted by parents requesting the West Durham Road
students continue attending the Everitt School.
If students are not transferred out of the Everitt School, its capacity
will continue to be 94 percent. Such
a high capacity creates scheduling problems (staff and usage of staff).
Dr. Bowman explained when a school is overloaded, more resources need to
be put into the school. He cited
the Hoover School as an example of a large school.
When the Hoover School’s student enrollment exceeds 650 students, there
is a need for an assistant principal or a position of that nature. Since the Schweitzer School’s enrollment will be on the low
end, additional Intermediate Unit classes will be placed at the school.
inquired what is the longest amount of time a student will be on a bus. Mr. Marotto explained Mr. Blasch, Director of
Transportation, has stated it will not be any longer than 35 minutes.
Under the current attendance boundaries, some students are already on the
bus 35 minutes traveling to the Buck School.
Dr. Bowman stated the new attendance boundaries will provide the same
quality of transportation services next year as are currently provided.
Ms. Drioli pointed out different children’s transportation situations
will be affected with the changes in the attendance boundaries.
inquired how the change in the elementary attendance boundaries will impact the
middle schools. Dr. Bowman
explained there have not been any changes made to the middle school attendance
boundaries. There might be an
interest next year to address the middle school attendance boundaries. If elementary students are being moved from one attendance
area to another, should they have the opportunity to attend the same middle
school as their peers the following year? There
may be some students in the same elementary school who may attend different
middle schools the following year. This
situation currently exists in some circumstances.
This situation can be reviewed next year.
referred to census grid 3L and noted this is the only area where Tawanka
students are being transferred to the Heckman School.
Mr. Schoenstadt explained residents from the 3L census grid have
submitted a petition requesting the students attend the Heckman School. Dr. Bowman stated the administration has tried to minimize
the number of students being transferred to other schools.
The proposed attendance boundaries plan works and is fair.
Dr. Bowman recommended the Board approve the proposed attendance
boundaries plan at the January 22 Public Meeting.
thanked Mr. Marotto for listening to the parents.
Mr. Marotto said the parents from all of Neshaminy communities are very
nice to work with.
boundaries plan will be an agenda item at the January 22 Public Meeting.
Future Use of Tawanka
advised the Board a meeting was held last week with members of the Tawanka
Elementary School Executive Board and on January 9 a meeting will be held with
the Tawanka Home and School Association members.
He said the worst thing that could be done is to allow the Tawanka School
to remain empty. There is a
commitment to allow continued community use of the Tawanka facility (i.e.,
building, gym, playground, etc.).
Dr. Bowman noted
there was community concern about the students proposed for placement at the
Tawanka facility. The community has
clearly stated they are committed to educating Neshaminy students.
However, the community members are very concerned about students from
outside the District attending the school and what affect this will have on the
school and community. He stated the
term “alternative school” provides a connotation of the kinds of students
that might be placed at the school, but the administration knows will not be
placed at the school. He
recommended the school be called the Tawanka Educational Center.
He also recommended only Neshaminy students attend the Tawanka
Educational Center, and there be no students from outside the District attending
the school. The school will provide
an alternative setting to the regular classroom setting.
At the January 9 meeting with the Tawanka Home and School Association,
there will be an opportunity to meet a Neshaminy student whose life was changed
by having the opportunity to attend a program that provided a setting that was
different from the high school setting. The
Neshaminy teacher who teaches Neshaminy’s alternative program located at
TODAY, Inc. will also be in attendance at the meeting.
advised the Board various organizations have
contacted him about renting available space at the Tawanka facility.
The organizations understand the District would be using a portion of the
facility to provide a special program for students.
The Bucks County Peace Center has expressed an interest in renting space
at the facility, and has proposed trading off rent by providing some of the
programs for the students. The YMCA
has also inquired about renting space at the facility.
explained it is important to keep the Tawanka facility as an educational center,
because enrollment in schools follow a ten year cycle.
The Hoover School was closed in 1976 and it was reopened in 1986.
While closed, the Hoover facility was kept as an educational facility so
millions of dollars did not have to be spent bringing the facility up to certain
codes to reopen the school.
recommended the following regarding usage of the Tawanka facility:
· Retain it as an educational center
Use it to provide a program for students
whose needs are not being meet in the regular classroom and need an alternative
setting, smaller environment, counseling and special attention.
The program not be for adjudicated students.
Students who are adjudicated are placed in schools that are designed to
handle their behavior problems.
Dr. Bowman stated
the administration is committed to providing a first class alternative program
for Neshaminy students. The
students will be bused to the Tawanka Educational Center.
Students will be allowed to drive to the school.
Since driving is a privilege, students who violate the rules and
regulations will lose their driving privilege.
Ms. Drioli stated
she will not commit to limiting enrollment at the Tawanka Education Center to
Neshaminy students only. She felt
if space is available in the program, consideration should be given to students
from other school districts attending the program on a tuition basis.
She advised the Board Lower
Southampton Township is interested in utilizing space in the Tawanka facility
for their recreational program, and Nat Cooper, who provides an at-risk
program, is interested in renting space at the Tawanka facility.
She requested the administration consider the township and Mr. Cooper’s
interest in the facility.
Ms. Drioli stated
the closing of the Tawanka School and redistricting are fiscally responsible
actions. She expressed concern that
the administration is presenting a recommendation
for the future use of the Tawanka facility without first discussing the
proposal with the full Board. She
stated she is willing to work with the community in determining future uses for
the Tawanka facility. Two years ago
the Board committed to allowing the community to continue using the facilities
for recreational purposes of whatever school was closed.
stated the administration is not restricting the options being considered for
recreational programs, etc. The
alternative program would occupy only one of the facility’s three wings. Dr. Bowman explained he was presenting his
recommendation as requested by the Board.
Mr. Eccles stated
he was confused as to the amount of actual savings the Board could expect.
He noted the Board was advised by closing a school, funds would be saved
and approximately $1,000,000 in revenue could be obtained by accepting students
from outside the District into the District’s alternative program.
He indicated he was in favor of Dr. Bowman’s recommendation not to
accept students from outside the District into the program.
He said what will the ratio of students to teachers be in the Tawanka
Educational Center? What is the
true cost savings of closing a school? Mr. Wilson
explained 40 to 60 students per year will attend the Tawanka Educational Center.
It is anticipated the maximum enrollment will be 60 students. The highest number
of students enrolled in alternative
programs has been 90 to 100 students. At this point in time, the ratio of
students to teachers being used is ten to one. The
staff will include a principal, full-time counselor, some counseling situations
will be contracted out, and staff for physical education and music programs. Ms.
Drioli stated if there is a commitment for 100 slots and only 40 students are in
the program, she is not willing to leave the slots empty.
explained previously the Board was provided with a budget analysis that listed
$850,000 as the savings resulting from the closure of a school. A listing of positions needed to open the facility as an
alternative school was provided to the Board.
Currently, the 50 Neshaminy students who will attend Neshaminy’s
alternative program are being educated outside of the District at an annual cost
of $16,000 to $32,000 per student. Every
year the District will save $850,000 plus the net savings from educating the
alternative education Neshaminy students at a Neshaminy facility rather than an
out-of-district facility. Mr.
Eccles asked if the alternative program will not have space for hire, is it
still in the best interest of the District to close a school.
pointed out it is in the best interest of the Board and District not to allow
the Tawanka facility to remain empty. Therefore,
the Board needs to reach facility usage decisions as soon as possible to allow
whatever programs, etc. to be in place by September 2002.
Dr. Bowman stated he is presenting recommendations now so as to not lose
valuable time in getting the program established and determining staffing.
Many budget decisions need to be made in January and February so the
budget will reflect what will take place in September 2002.
Dr. Spitz felt
the Board does not have to make a decision right now as to whether non-Neshaminy
students will be accepted into the alternative program in the future. It was his understanding the first year the program would
only include Neshaminy students. A
student enrollment decision for beyond the first year does not need to be made
right now. The Board needs to move
forward on the issue of actually opening the educational center for September
recommended the administration contact the Lower Southampton Township Recreation
Department about using the Tawanka facility.
Mr. Schoenstadt stated the Lower Southampton Township Recreation
Department should initiate the contact with the administration.
Ms. Drioli pointed out the Board has not officially announced the Tawanka
School will be vacant. No one has
mentioned a use for the site except for the alternative education program.
She felt various groups and organizations are interested in renting space
in the Tawanka facility. Ms. Drioli
stated she would like to provide assurance to the Tawanka community that they
can still use the Tawanka School’s grounds and gym.
There was Board
consensus to use a portion of the Tawanka facility for an alternative program
for Neshaminy students only the first year.
There was also Board consensus to take the future years as they come and
let the Board decide if the program should accept non-Neshaminy students that
meet the District’s qualifications and criteria.
advised the Board a decision is needed this month, January, on the elementary
attendance boundaries plan. By the
end of February, the Board needs to provide the administration with direction
regarding the alternative school. If
the program is going to be held at the Tawanka School, a budget will be built
that represents the closing of the Tawanka School and the opening of the Tawanka
Educational Center. The administration needs to know if the Board is in favor of
an alternative school. If not, what
does the Board plan to do with the Tawanka facility?
Will a Board committee be formed to take care of the issue?
The renting out of space at the Tawanka facility can be an ongoing
Dr. Bowman stated
the administration is operating on the premise that the Tawanka Elementary
School has been closed by the Board effective July 1, 2002. A budget is being built around the direction provided by the
Board regarding the use of the Tawanka facility effective July 1, 2002.
Ms. Drioli stated
she believed the Board will be challenged to take another vote on the closing of
the Tawanka Elementary School. Mr.
Schoenstadt asked if there are five members of the Board willing to revisit the
issue of a school closing. There
was no response to Mr. Schoenstadt’s question.
He asked if there were five votes to list the issue of a school closing
as an agenda item again. Since only
two Board members, Messrs. Eccles and Mecleary, were in favor of listing the
issue of a school closing as an agenda item again, the Board will not reconsider
its decision to close the Tawanka School.
The future use of
the Tawanka School will be an agenda item at the February Work Session.
Dr. Bowman said he will be meeting with community groups.
The community groups may have suggestions regarding use of the facility. Mr. Schoenstadt stated any groups interested in using space
at the Tawanka facility should submit their request to the administration for
consideration. He suggested an
announcement be placed on the District’s Web site and cable station regarding
groups submitting their interest in using space at the Tawanka facility.
Public Comment –
There was a three minute time limit per speaker.
A 45 minutes time limit was set for public comment.
Mr. McGarry, Langhorne Manor, on behalf of the Langhorne Manor community
thanked the Board members for all the work they do for the children. He said there is respect and appreciation for all of the
Board’s hard work and decisions. Mr.
McGarry thanked Mr. Marotto and Dr. Boccuti for conducting a town meeting
in December. He said they did an
advised the Board that the Langhorne Manor community has formed a committee
comprised of 30 husband and wife teams. The
committee has been relentless in its pursuit to keep the Langhorne Manor
children attending the Oliver Heckman Elementary School. Every Langhorne Manor household has signed a petition
supporting the Langhorne Manor children continuing to attend the Oliver Heckman
Elementary School. The petition was
submitted to Dr. Boccuti last month and additional signatures have been
obtained. The Langhorne Borough
Council adopted a resolution and a letter of support was written pertaining to
retaining the Langhorne Manor children at the Oliver Heckman Elementary School.
A copy of the letter was submitted to Dr. Boccuti.
The residents of Langhorne Manor are in favor of the attendance
boundaries revisions made by Mr. Marotto for historic reasons and the reasons
provided by Mr. Marotto. The
Langhorne Manor community is in favor of the Board approving the revised
attendance boundaries plan.
Langhorne Manor, thanked Dr. Bowman and Mr. Marotto for all of their work on the
attendance boundaries plan and listening to the parents.
She explained the attendance boundaries plan issue was her first
experience with the administration and Board and it has been a very positive
experience. She urged the Board to
approved the revised attendance boundaries plan.
Langhorne Manor, thanked Dr. Bowman, Mr. Marotto and the Board members for
reconsidering the attendance boundaries plan and keeping the Langhorne Manor
students at the Oliver Heckman Elementary School.
She noted Langhorne Manor has a population of 927 people, its own
government, mayor and trash system. For
over 100 years the children of Langhorne Manor have had the privilege and
pleasure of attending the Oliver Heckman School and its former affiliated
Langhorne schools. She thanked the
Board for revising the attendance boundaries plan and allowing the neighborhood
children to continue attending the Oliver Heckman Elementary School.
Tareyton Estates, thanked the Board, Mr. Marotto, Dr. Boccuti and the
administration for taking the time to listen to the community members and
revising the attendance boundaries plan. He noted a petition was submitted to
Mr. Marotto requesting the Tareyton Estates students remain at the Hoover School
and the revised plan reflects their request. He urged the Board to approved the
revised attendance boundaries plan.
Levittown, expressed concern about the November 27, 2001 approval of using
search dogs on school property. She
felt though the decision was well intentioned, it was made without enough
thought and consideration. She said
the canine company the Board is considering hiring has provided inadequate
references. She explained her main
concern is the student body. The
use of search dogs is counterproductive to a positive learning environment.
It is wrong to turn dogs loose on students.
The argument is that dogs are not being turned loose on students.
The Board is simply trying to provide a safe environment. She said the policy is very unfair, because it treats
everyone as though they were a criminal and sends the message that no one can be
trusted. It lets students know that
in life there are good guys and bad guys. If
you make a mistake, you could end up on the wrong side of that equation.
It is prejudice and labeling. She
questioned if this practice will really reduce drugs in the school environment
or just move the drugs elsewhere. It
may result in more action in the neighborhoods.
She urged parents to consider where their children will be going to high
school and when this policy will be effective in their middle or elementary
Ms. Gillies, District resident, stated very few parents know that Channel One is playing in homeroom for 12 minutes. Channel One is 12 minutes of television in homeroom. Ten minutes of very poor current events and two minutes of advertisements. It presents a one-sided version of current events. The program provides no choices, the teacher cannot turn off the television and the students cannot change the channel. The students are forced to watch Channel One. The current events shown are the opinion of Channel
One. She said Channel One is an unnecessary tax burden.
There has been no financial analysis completed by the School Board.
She estimated the cost to the taxpayer is $192 per child, per year for
the cost of lights, teachers in the building, etc.
She stated Channel One viewing does not encourage reading and writing as
evidenced by PSSA scores at the Poquessing School last year.
She said she objects to Channel One advertising junk food.
Actors and actresses on Channel One commercials are scantly and
provocatively dressed. These are
not good role models for the students and are a distraction.
The dress is in direct contradiction to the Neshaminy School District
dress code. She suggested the
possibility of teachers and administrators receiving cash bonus and gifts as
prizes be investigated. She stated
she objects to the Channel One Web site which has links to hard pornography.
The Channel One Web site is advertised every day in homeroom.
She stated Channel One’s representative has not been truthful about the
program’s endorsement and links. She
said should the Board allow Channel One to be again broadcast in the schools,
she will hold the Board 100 percent responsible for everything Channel One shows
in the homerooms, in the schools and its affect on all of the children.
Langhorne, explained how her daughter has greatly benefited from her attendance
at an alternative school located in
Middletown Township. It has been a
factor in her success today. Her
daughter is currently attending Bucks County Community College as a high school
senior. Ms. Newell said she is
thankful for the wonderful educators and programs offered by the Neshaminy
School District. She emphasized the
importance and need for alternative programs for students in crisis.
Ms. Newell stated her daughter’s stay at the alternative school located
in Middletown Township and the interest and concern of the teachers there were a
contributing factor in her daughter’s ever increasing self-esteem,
cheerfulness, success at the Bucks County Community College and general outlook
on life. Ms. Newell said she wishes
the District was using search dogs when her daughter was a student at the high
Oakford, urged the Board not to close the Tawanka School.
She indicated she was opposed to placing students in need of an
alternative education program in a separate facility and segregating them from
the regular education students. She
noted how at the Tawanka School her
children were introduced to special needs students and by being integrated with
regular education students, the special needs students became one of the regular
students. She urged the Board
members to visit the Tawanka School to see what a wonderful school it is.
She questioned why the Board is closing the school.
She said out of 256 area children, 136 were born in Philadelphia, 78 were
born in Montgomery County, 26 were born in Bucks County and 12 were born in New
Jersey. She expressed concern due
to the closure of the Tawanka School, there will be an increase in the number of
students per class. Ms. Mitchell
said she is proud to be a Tawanka School parent.
Meadows of Durham, explained her child is one of the children being transferred
from the Everitt School to another school.
She explained her child will be transferred to another elementary school
for one year and then have to change schools again because he will be attending
middle school the following year. She
felt the Everitt School is not operating at full capacity and enrollment is
currently at a low level. She noted
new students were not being transferred to the school, but students were being
transferred out of the school. She
said the Everitt School is functioning fine and urged the Board not to move
students located on Durham Road out of the Everitt School.
Langhorne Gables, said he was speaking on behalf of the parents of Oaklihurst
(grid 3A). He thanked the Board,
Mr. Marotto and Dr. Boccuti for all their time and effort regarding the
redistricting plan. He noted a
petition signed by 259 Oaklihurst residents was submitted to the Board, as well
as written comments and recommendations. He
urged the Board to approve the proposed attendance boundaries plan. Mr. McLandon inquired if there will be an opportunity for
further public comment between now and the time the proposed attendance
boundaries plan is presented for Board approval.
noted the Hoover School will be accepting a large number of Tawanka students
into the student body. The Hoover
PTO would like the Tawanka parents to realize the Hoover School parents will be
there to support, accept them into the Hoover School and try to make the
transition as smooth as possible.
Meadows of Durham, explained Durham Meadows and the homes on Durham Road are
located closest to the Hoover School, but the residents of this area have never
been asked to be a part of the Hoover School community.
The next closest school is the Miller School, but the students are not
being placed at the Miller School. The
students are going to be taken farther away from the Everitt, Hoover and Miller
Schools and placed at the Schweitzer School.
As members of the Everitt School, the Durham Meadows and Durham Road
students have never attended the same middle school as the other students.
Initially, the Durham Road area residents thought they were going to be a
part of the Hoover School and finally part of a community where all of the
students would be attending one middle school, Maple Point.
It was considered a positive that the students would attend the Hoover
School for five years and then attend the Maple Point Middle School for four
said if the Board considers the students of Durham Meadows and Durham Road
insignificant, then leave the students alone.
The students are happy at the Everitt School.
If the goal is to meet percentages, understand the percentages are only
numbers. Public education’s goal
should be what is in the best interest of early childhood education and the
early school years. The residents
of Durham Meadows and Durham Road are strong contributors to the Everitt
School and would like to continue to be strong contributors to the school. There is no reason to move the students to the Schweitzer
School just to fit a mathematical equation.
She urged the Board to allow the Durham Meadows and Durham Road students
to remain at the Everitt School.
Langhorne, stated she is not happy with the closing of the Tawanka School. She asked the Board to consider allowing the children who are
on the far end of the bus route to board the first buses that arrive at the
school. This would eliminate the
children who ride the bus for 35 minutes having to wait 15 to 20 minutes to
board a bus.
Ms. Luff stated
due to the closing of the Tawanka School and redistricting of students, her
daughter will lose 50 percent of her friends.
She suggested as many as possible of the Tawanka School students be
placed in the same classes at their new schools.
She felt this will make the transition to a new school a little easier.
Tanglewood Drive, explained there are 37 homes on Tanglewood Drive and nine
children will be affected by the redistricting plan.
The students are scheduled to be transferred from the Everitt School to
the Hoover School. The street’s
southern entrance opens up to Foxwood Manor and the northern entrance opens up
to the Racquet Club. She questioned
why Tanglewood Drive could not be a part of gird 2N instead of gird 2P.
Tanglewood Drive could be used as a turnaround for the bus.
She felt because there are only a small group of children on Tanglewood
Drive, the area is being totally overlooked.
She submitted a proposal to retain the Tanglewood Drive students at the
Everitt School and urged the Board to allow the students to remain at the
referred to comments made earlier in the meeting regarding search dogs, and
explained the dogs are not turned loose in the halls.
The search dogs are under the control of a handler and never come in
contact with students. The students
will be at an assembly or some other activity when the search dogs go through
the hallways and sniff the lockers. If
the dogs are not alerted by anything in the lockers, there is no problem.
If a dog alerts on a locker, the administrator takes care of the
situation. The student would be
asked to open his/her locker for inspection.
No student will be in contact with any of the search dogs.
Mrs. Butville said if a drug is found in someone’s locker, she has no
problem with the student getting in trouble for bringing drugs into school.
referred to comments made earlier in the meeting about the Channel One Program
and explained the District does not pay anything for the Channel One Program.
No tax money is used to fund the program.
Ms. Drioli explained the Channel One Program is broadcast during homeroom
period and other school business (attendance, etc.) is conducted at the same
time. Homeroom is not instructional time. It is administrative time.
As a result of the Channel One Program, the District has obtained
additional equipment which the District did not have the revenue to purchase.
The equipment is used at times other than homeroom period for
instructional purposes. The
District is only obligated to broadcast the program for 12 minutes.
Mr. Mecleary concurred with Mrs. Butville that there is no cost to the
District for the Channel One Program.
referred to the issue of search dogs in the schools and stated the Bill of
Rights is not in place to protect those who are guilty of something. It is there to protect those who are innocent.
This is the whole argument regarding the search dog issue.
Mrs. Butville said if the search dogs keep the innocent people innocent,
they have done a good job.
explained a search was conducted as a result of an incident at the Poquessing
Middle School. Since middle school
students are not permitted to take their book bags into the classrooms, the book
bags, lockers and coats were searched. The
police were not involved. A
contracted group that the Intermediate Unit is entering into a contract with was
used for the search. The dog
alerted on a locker. The locker was
found to have after shave lotion in it. The
students are in the classrooms when a search is conducted. If there is reasonable cause, the administration has the
right to search lockers. The search
is conducted on a random basis. The
search dog is not an extension of the police.
If a dog alerts and drugs are found, the District’s drug policy is
applied, which includes a set of procedures to be followed.
At the high school, the search dogs will be used to check lockers and
cars. The search dogs will not be
used to check students. The use of
search dogs in the District has been researched by attorneys.
The search dogs will be in District buildings in the near future.
Ice Hockey –
Information distributed prior to the meeting.
Dr. Bowman reminded the Board that several parents have petitioned the
Board to provide more coverage for ice hockey.
He noted the memorandum distributed to the Board does not only cover the
issue of ice hockey. There are
other Neshaminy activities (baseball, dance groups, etc.) in the community in
addition to Neshaminy Ice Hockey. If recognition is provided for one group, it must be provided
for all of the groups. Dr. Bowman
recommended the possibility of creating a “Community Activities” section in
the yearbook be investigated. Groups
such as the Neshaminy Ice Hockey Team could be recognized in this section of the
reviewed the ice hockey survey results (page two of the information
distributed). He noted the school
student newspaper reporters and editors, if they choose to, may publish articles
about Neshaminy students who participate in community events.
Mrs. Jowett noted
the schools surveyed play in a different league than that of the Neshaminy team.
Dr. Bowman explained the Suburban One League (league teams surveyed)
is a league made up of schools that the administration has access to and can
obtain information about how they handle the situation.
Mrs. Jowett noted the ice hockey team plays the Pennsbury, Bristol
and Bensalem teams and those school districts were not included in the survey. Mr. Wyatt explained that ice hockey is not a PIAA sport.
No school district in Suburban One sponsors ice hockey as a PIAA sport.
Ms. Drioli said
if the Neshaminy Ice Hockey Team is comprised of Neshaminy students, she has no
objection to recognizing the team. She
felt the District should take advantage of an opportunity to provide positive
recognition for students. Dr. Bowman explained parameters need to be established
for recognizing activities.
stated ice hockey is a club sport and the District is not being asked to sponsor
the sport. The Neshaminy Ice Hockey
Team would like to have the high school teams’ (varsity and junior varsity)
picture included in the yearbook, games announced and game scores announced if
time permits. The teams that the
Neshaminy Ice Hockey Team plays against announce their games regularly and the
turnout for those teams is unbelievable. The
ice hockey team is one way to keep kids out of trouble.
explained the yearbook adviser and staff could be asked to create a community
section in the yearbook. The
Neshaminy Ice Hockey Team and any other community activity could be included in
this section of the yearbook. He
explained announcements at the high school are very short and concise because of
time limits. He suggested a
community bulletin board be established and include a posting of various
community activities. Neshaminy
High School team games (i.e., basketball, baseball, etc.) are not announced.
A sheet of announcements is posted in each homeroom.
The ice hockey team games could be included on the announcement sheet
posted in the homerooms.
recommended the ice hockey team and community student activities recognition
issue be referred to the Educational Development Committee for review and a
recommendation. There was Board
consensus for the Educational Development Committee to review the issue and
present a recommendation to the Board. Mr.
Mecleary stated the issue will be reviewed by the committee in February.
ROTC Program –
Dr. Bowman advised the Board the District has had two ROTC Programs in the past.
When the programs were initiated, the District had the correct number of
students enrolled in the programs. The
programs were discontinued due to a decline in the program’s enrollment.
Dr. Bowman stated with the events going on in the world today, it has
been suggested the administration ascertain if there is an interest in the ROTC
Program. He initially recommended
the eleventh graders be surveyed to determine if the ROTC Program would have
been offered, would the students have selected it as a major.
Since the eleventh graders would not be eligible to enroll in the course,
it was determined the eleventh graders would not be surveyed.
He also recommended the eighth and ninth graders be surveyed. The survey would ask if an ROTC Program is offered would
students consider electing it as a major course of study. The survey could be conducted during homeroom period.
Ms. Drioli stated
she was opposed to the ROTC Program. She
inquired if ROTC representatives would come into the District to explain the
program to students. Mrs. Butville
stated a representative would not be sent to the school to explain the program
just for the survey. Mr.
Schoenstadt suggested prior to the survey, students be provided with pamphlets
outlining the program. Dr. Bowman
said information on the ROTC Program can be telecast in the schools.
discussion, there was Board consensus to survey the eighth and ninth graders to
determine if an ROTC Program is offered, would students consider electing it as
a major course of study.
Verizon Request for Easement at Walter Miller
Elementary School –
Information distributed prior to the meeting. Dr. Bowman advised the Board Verizon has submitted a request
to install a concrete pad and cabinet on the Walter Miller Elementary School
property along Cobalt Ridge Road. Verizon
would pay a one-time easement payment of $8,000. Three proposed sites have been
submitted. The cabinet and concrete
pad will be installed as outlined in the site 3 sketch.
The Board had approved a similar request at the Tawanka School.
Dr. Bowman recommended the Board approve the easement request.
recommended Verizon be asked to landscape the area similar to the way the
Tawanka School site was landscaped. Mr.
Minotti, Director of Facilities, stated Verizon will landscape the area.
request will be an agenda item at the January 22 Public Meeting.
Items for Approval
Information previously distributed
self-explanatory for the following overnight trips:
· Instrumental Music Trip – Neshaminy High School – Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, April 25‑29, 2002
· Ski Club Trip – Killington, Vermont, March 1-3, 2002
· History Club Trip – Boston/Newport, Massachusetts, May 17–19, 2002
Classroom Trip – Washington, D.C., March 2-9, 2002
Mr. Eccles inquired if the administration
is allowing trips again and have any trips canceled due to the events of
September 11 be rescheduled. Dr.
Bowman explained for the most part, school trips are back on schedule. The administration has been approving the day trips,
including trips to New York City. The
Quebec trip has been canceled for logistical reasons.
In response to Dr. Spitz’s question
about the Presidential Classroom trip, Dr. Bowman explained no more than eight
students attend the program, which has been ongoing for many years.
The local Rotary Clubs sponsor students to the program.
The students attending the Presidential Classroom Program are leaders in
Mr. Wyatt explained students are selected
for the Presidential Classroom Program by students applying in writing and being
interviewed by a team of teachers and building principal.
The interview takes approximately 30 minutes.
From the total number of applicants, seven to eight students are selected
to participate in the program. Primarily
the students are seniors. Juniors
can apply, but seniors are usually selected.
The students pay a portion of the trip cost.
Students from all over the United States attend the program.
There was Board
approval of the four overnight trips.
Name and Appoint the New Superintendent Effective July 1, 2002
advised the Board he is serving in the capacity of Acting Superintendent until
the end of the school year. The
Board’s timetable calls for the identification and appointment of the person
who will assume the position of Superintendent effective July 1, 2002.
Dr. Bowman will prepare the motion, with the approval of the solicitor,
identifying an individual to be appointed as Superintendent for a term of
office, minimum three years and maximum five years.
inquired if over the next few months the person identified as Superintendent
will be assuming more responsibilities. She
noted a lot of the decisions the Board makes over the next several months, will
have to be enacted by the newly appointed Superintendent.
Dr. Bowman explained the superintendency will be effective July 1, 2002.
He stated he is working to make it a seamless transition.
Once the new Superintendent is named, he will be involved in all of the
decisions. The transition process
will be a team approach.
Ms. Drioli noted
the new Superintendent will have some major issues to oversee, i.e., closing of
a school and opening of an educational center.
Dr. Bowman stated the new Superintendent’s term will be effective July
1, 2002. However, his contract
includes a clause regarding providing some consulting days to the
District after July 1, 2002. He
pointed out the Cabinet members are well informed about the alternative school
The naming and
appointment of the new Superintendent effective July 1, 2002 will be an agenda
item at the January 22 Public Meeting.
Attendance at the National School Boards Conference- April 6-9, 2002
explained Mr. Eccles had raised a question about the amount of money being
contemplated for expenditure and the number of School Board members expressing
an interest in attending the conference. Mr.
Eccles said he did not think it proper for the Board to vote to close a school
and yet be willing to send Board members to a conference in New Orleans.
He felt the educational activities/information available at the
conference can be obtained over the Internet.
Mr. Eccles stated in light of closing a school and trying to save money,
he is opposed to sending anyone to the conference and spending money on extras.
He felt there needs to be a review of other scheduled trips for Board
members, administrators and certified staff members.
noted most of the administrators’ contracts state if an administrator has an
interest in attending a conference, the Board does not have the power to say no
to administrators’ attendance at a conference.
It is a contractual issue. However,
Board members’ attendance at conference is decided by the Board.
Generally, two Board members attend the national conference and at least
one Board member attends the state conference.
Rarely, do more than two Board members attend the national conference.
Usually two Board members attend the national conference because there
are so many seminars scheduled over the four day period, it is almost impossible
for one person to attend the key seminars and gather all the information from
all of the seminars.
Ms. Drioli noted
there is no compensation for serving on the School Board.
She felt attendance at the conferences allow Board members to learn about
issues, grants, etc. and provides a renewing of your spirit.
Board members return from a conference with new knowledge/information,
renewed and excited about serving on the Board.
She felt administrators also benefit from attendance at conferences.
stated he had registered to attend the conference.
In light of fiscal considerations and his limited tenure on the Board, he
will not be attending the conference. Mrs.
Butville indicated she would like to attend the conference.
Mrs. Butville said the conference is a great place to network. A lot of
information is presented at the conference that is not available on the
Internet. She explained she returns
from the conferences with a wealth of material, which she reviews and
distributes to the appropriate people.
indicated in light of the School District’s situation (i.e., closing a school,
difficult budget), he was opposed to sending any Board members to the conference
in New Orleans. Mrs. Butville
stated in times of budget cuts, the Board does not cut back on teacher training.
Inservice programs are still held for teachers.
She stated she considers the conference an inservice for Board members.
A lot of good information is brought back to the District from the
Dr. Spitz felt
the appearance is bad. He said he
is sure a lot of good information is collected at the conferences.
He noted the conference agenda is developed in such a way as to attract
people to the conference.
Dr. Bowman said
he believes everyone is a life long learner and should continually look at ways
to grow and better themselves. He
asked the Board members what are you doing to become the best School Board
member that you can be to serve our community.
He stated every budget is a difficult budget.
Training costs money. The
School Board members are in a job that does not pay.
The District has a $120,000,000 operation.
The decisions the Board members make are profound, and the power and
authority that the Board has is unbelievable.
He asked the Board members to consider what it is doing, individually and
as a whole, to make themselves and their team the best Board that the community
can have. Training is part of it.
At a conference, Board members can be rejuvenated, educated and learn.
He explained he has been attending the national conference with Board
members for ten years, and valuable experiences and learning has taken place.
Three Board members’ attendance at the conference has been budgeted.
explained he will not be attending this year’s National School Boards
Conference. The individual
appointed Superintendent at the January 22 Public Meeting will be attending the
conference. He advised the Board he
will be attending the Superintendents Conference this year.
The Superintendents Association of America will be granting mini-grants
to help homeless and needy children. A
grant application was submitted and Neshaminy is one of 14 school districts
being awarded $3,500 to help people in need.
This is an example of the kinds of things that happen when you network
through organizations. If
attendance at a conference results in individuals being better Board members and
learning about funding, etc., the return may be greater than the expense of the
Motion: Board Attendance at the National School Boards Conference
presented the following motion:
I move the
motion to be presented at the January 22 Public Meeting include the Neshaminy
Board of School Directors authorizing the attendance of three Board members at
the National School Boards Conference schedule to be held April 6 to April 9,
2002 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
seconded the motion. The motion was
approved with five ayes, Mrs. Bostwick, Mrs. Butville, Ms. Drioli, Mrs.
Jowett and Mr. Schoenstadt and four nays, Mr. Dengler, Mr. Eccles, Mr. Mecleary
and Dr. Spitz.
at National School Boards Conference will be an agenda item at the January 22
urged Board members interested in attending the National School Boards
Conference to submit there registration before the end of January.
School Director Recognition Month
– Dr. Bowman advised the Board a School Director
recognition month motion will be presented at the January 22 Public Meeting.
Election of Member to Intermediate Unit Board
– Information distributed prior to the meeting.
Dr. Bowman noted Ms. Drioli’s term on the Intermediate Unit No. 22
Board expires June 30, 2002. An
Intermediate Unit Director may be elected to fill a vacancy to succeed herself
without limitations as to the number of terms.
Mr. Dengler nominated Ms. Drioli to the position of Intermediate Unit
Director and Mrs. Bostwick seconded the nomination. There were no other nominations.
Election of Member to Intermediate Unit Board
presented the following motion:
I move that
the Neshaminy Board of School Directors appoint Ms. Carol Drioli to serve as the
representative to the Bucks County Intermediate Unit Board of Directors
beginning July 1, 2002.
Bostwick seconded the motion. The
Board unanimously approved the motion.
Approval of Bids and Budget
– Dr. Bowman advised the Board there were no bids to be presented for
approval. He advised the Board that
Budget Transfer Report No. 02-03 (working copy) with 11 transactions and
subtransactions will be presented for approval at the January 22 Public Meeting.
Board members should contact Dr. Bowman prior to the January 22 Public
Meeting with any budget transfer questions.
Items for Information – There
were no items for information discussed.
– No report presented.
Technology Committee - No report presented.
Mr. Schoenstadt stated the committee will meet in February.
Technical School Board - Mrs. Butville reported the Technical School Board
will start strategic planning in January.
Intermediate Unit Board –
No report presented.
Building Utilization/Finance Committee
– Mr. Eccles reported the next committee meeting is scheduled for
March 26, 4:00 p.m. Mr. Schoenstadt
stated the committee needs to address the issue of the bond amount.
However, the bond amount cannot be addressed until the architect’s
recommendation is presented. Dr. Bowman noted the bond issue will include funds for
improvements/repairs, renovation of Neshaminy High School and Poquessing Middle
School, boilers, roofs, infrastructure and AVA items.
Educational Foundation –
Mr. Dengler advised the Board a recent Educational Foundation fund raising
raffle was very successful. Quite a
few people have purchased plaques for the Recognition Wall.
Educational Development Committee
– Mr. Mecleary reported the committee met on
November 20 to discuss the Channel One Program.
In September and October concerns regarding the program’s content and
value were raised by parents. Faculty
members opposed and in favor of the program, parents, Channel One representative
and administrators presented comments at the meeting.
At the end of the meeting, it was decided once two issues were resolved
the committee would recommend the Channel One Program be reinstated in the
middle schools and the high school staff continue reviewing how to institute the
program at the high school in an effective manner.
noted one of the issues that needs to be resolved is the Channel One Internet
links. Dr. Boccuti explained
once connected to the Channel One Web site and after three or four links, you
can get to a pornographic site on the Internet.
Channel One’s representative was made aware of the issue at the meeting
and stated that was the first time he was made aware of the situation.
Channel One has been working on this problem and has provided a detailed
report on the issue. Channel One is guaranteeing by January 25 any link to any
possible trouble area will be completely shut down. Mr. Schoenstadt explained to resolve the issue, Channel One
is installing firewalls. A
transitional change at Channel One had eliminated the firewalls originally
installed. The new firewalls are
being installed and will not be able to be erased, changed or modified without
changing the entire program. If the
firewall program is installed, the students will not be able to go into the
Channel One Web site and link anywhere outside the Web site.
Mr. Schoenstadt stated if the changes are not made by January 25, Channel
One will not have addressed the District’s concerns and the Board should
respond accordingly. It will be
easy to verify if the changes in the Web site have been made.
said the other issue of concern was the advertising and previewing of R-rated
movies on Channel One. Channel
One’s representative had advised the committee Channel One does not advertise
R-rated movies on Channel One. Dr.
Spitz stated Channel One advertises television versions of R-rated movies, which
have had the R-rated content removed from the movies.
Therefore, they are no longer R-rated movies. Mr. Dengler said he reviewed several Channel One tapes and he
found nothing contradictory to what Channel One’s representative had stated at
the meeting. Mr. Mecleary advised
the Board that the building principals monitor the program for content.
No one has noticed R-rated movies being advertised on Channel One.
Mr. Mecleary stated any Channel One tape can be obtained from the middle
schools for review by Board members.
stated previously the high school teachers had rejected instituting the Channel
One Program at the high school. Is
an attempt now being made to have the program instituted in the high school?
Mr. Mecleary explained the high school administration is reviewing how
the program can best be implemented in the high school.
There is difficulty scheduling the program in the high school.
Scheduling was not a problem in the middle schools.
inquired if the Channel One Program is implemented in the high school, could it
be removed from the middle schools. She
felt the program is not age appropriate for the middle school students.
The program is for students age 16 and older.
Mr. Mecleary stated it was not his understanding that the program’s
target audience was high school students. He
said the middle school teachers like the program.
suggested the committee review the status of the Web site changes (firewalls) as
of January 25 and present a recommendation to the Board at the February Work
Session. Mr. Mecleary recommended
Dr. Boccuti contact Channel One after January 25 to confirm the firewalls have
been put into effect. If Dr.
Boccuti and Dr. Bowman are satisfied that the firewalls have been put in place,
the Channel One Program be reinstituted at
that time. There was consensus for
Mr. Mecleary’s recommendation. Mrs.
Bostwick, Mrs. Jowett and Dr. Spitz indicated they were opposed to Mr. Mecleary’s
recommendation. Mrs. Butville
recommended there be periodic checks of the Channel One Web site to ensure the
firewalls are still in place.
pointed out Channel One is used via the television program and students are not
viewing Channel One on the Internet in school.
Channel One has taken extraordinary steps to address the issue raised by
the Board. Ms. Drioli pointed out
even if the District no longer broadcasts the Channel One television program, it
would not prevent students from visiting the Channel One Web site at home.
Mr. Schoenstadt stated there are advertisements on the Channel One
television program referring students to the Channel One Web site.
Once they are on the Channel One Web site, there should be no direct way
for the students to link to a pornographic site.
Board Policies Committee –
Mrs. Butville reported the committee is continuing to review the various
Future Topics –
Dr. Bowman noted a future topic will be the budget.
Agenda Development for the January 22, 2002 Public
Meeting – Dr. Bowman
briefly reviewed the agenda items for the January 22 Public Meeting.
There was no correspondence.
Other Board Business –
There was no other Board business discussed.
Mrs. Butville moved the meeting be adjourned and Mr. Dengler seconded the motion. The Board unanimously approved the motion. Mr. Schoenstadt adjourned the meeting at 10:10 p.m.