Click Here to Return to the Neshaminy Home Page. Neshaminy - We build futures!

The Neshaminy Board of School Directors met in public session on July 23, 2002 in the Board Room of the District Offices, Maple Point Middle School.  The following persons were in attendance:



Mr. Steven Schoenstadt, President

Mr. P. Howard Wilson

Mrs. June Bostwick, Vice President

Mr. Richard Marotto

Mrs. Yvonne Butville*
Mr. Harry Dengler, Jr.

Mr. Joseph V. Paradise
Mr. Bruce Wyatt

Ms. Carol Drioli**


Mrs. Kimberly Jowett


Dr. William Spitz

Dr. Raymond J. Boccuti
Mr. Harry P. Jones

Mr. Richard M. Eccles

SECRETARY:  Mrs. Anita Walls

SOLICITOR:  Kristina S. Wiercinski, Esquire

  Approximately twelve persons from the public, staff and press

*    Arrived at 6:36 p.m.


**  Left at 7: 40 p.m.


1.   Call to Order

      Mr. Schoenstadt called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m.

2.   Pledge of Allegiance

      Mr. Schoenstadt requested that those in attendance join in the salute to the flag.

3.   Announcements

Mr. Schoenstadt stated that he would like to call George H. Mecleary, Jr. Esquire to the front of the room.  Mr. Schoenstadt presented a plaque from Mr. Howard Wilson and the Board of School Directors which read as follows:  “George H. Mecleary, Jr., Esquire is hereby recognized for his outstanding service and dedication to the children of the Neshaminy School District.  School Board Member: 1995-2002.  Board President:  1997 and 1998.  Presented by the Neshaminy Board of School Directors and Mr. P. Howard Wilson, Superintendent of Schools presented July 2002.”

4.        Items for Discussion

a)       Appointment of Board member to fill a vacant seat from Region 3

Mr. Schoenstadt stated that each candidate would be asked to take a seat and present a summary of their background and experience to the Board members and would then be asked a few questions. 

John J. DiLeonardo – Mr. DiLeonardo stated that he has a BA in Political Science and Economics from LaSalle University and a MBA in Finance from St. Johns University and recently acquired a Masters in Educational Leadership from Villanova University.  After graduating from college Mr. DiLeonardo attended flight school in Pensacola, Florida as a naval officer and has thirty years combined active and reserve military service in U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard. Mr. DiLeonardo spent a year on Wall Street with Prudential Bache Securities, and moved into Healthcare Finance and Operations.  Mr. DiLeonardo has experience with many of the large plans and presently is an independent consultant working with providers and lenders with regards to operational issues.  Mr. DiLeonardo is a resident for sixteen years of Bucks County and has four children.  Mr. DiLeonardo advised that he has been a supervisor administrating for the last six years the Neshaminy class-cut and make-up programs for the high school, therefore, giving him experience working with the administrators and principals. Mr. DiLeonardo further advised that he is an undergraduate teacher and has been an Adjunct Professor of Economics and Finance at Penn State University at Abington, Bucks County Community College and also Burlington County Community in New Jersey.

Mr. Schoenstadt opened the interview to Board questions:  Mr. Schoenstadt inquired whether Mr. DiLeonardo while in the service did any budget developing.  Mr. DiLeonardo advised that one of his collateral duties was finance and supply office for the entire unit. This encompassed a multi-million dollar budget, capital expenditures, operating expenditures, comparable to a chief financial officer for a small company. 

Mrs. Drioli inquired whether Mr. DiLeonardo was still serving Neshaminy with regards to the make-up program, and if so, was he aware that he would not be able to maintain that position.  Mr. DiLeonardo stated that if you want to play a pivotal part in getting involved in the policy making and well being of the student population he presumed that this was the place to be.  Mr. DiLeonardo stated at some point it becomes not a financial issue but a matter of purpose.

Dr. Sptiz inquired what Mr. DiLeonardo’s top three policy issues are.  Mr. DiLeonardo stated safety in the academic environment, academic performance of the students, and fiscal matters.

Mrs. Bostwick inquired how Mr. DiLeonardo felt that policy would make a difference in performance.  Mr. DiLeonardo did not know how far reaching the district’s impact is in terms of standards and performance, but ultimately he felt policies could effect performance.

Joseph B. Erb – (Withdrew  7/22/02)

Michael Thomas Kaye  - Resident of Middletown Township for the past seventeen years.  Currently owns a business in Middletown, married for twenty-four years and has two children, one a student at Neshaminy Middle School.  Mr. Kaye is currently a Board member for Victoria Commons Condominium Association and Mr. Kaye stated that the reason for applying for the Board position was that he would like to have a say in the things that are happening with the school district and also educationally.

Mr. Schoenstadt opened the interview to Board questions:  Mr. Schoenstadt inquired whether Mr. Kaye had any experience in budget development or  financial control.  Mr. Kaye advised that he started his own company, and  he is the president of a condominium association and has participated in setting the budget.

Ms. Drioli inquired what impact Mr. Kaye would have.  Mr. Kaye advised that he would initially try to fit in and lend his expertise in management. 

            Dr. Spitz inquired of Mr. Kaye what educational issues concerned him.  Mr. Kaye advised that he was concerned with the marginal students, below a C average regarding learning the basics.  Mr. Kaye advised that he has encountered students that have graduated that are lacking the basic skills.

                Georginna Ramella – Ms. Ramella advised that she has an Associates degree in Pre-Allied Health from Bucks County Community College and has chosen to be a stay at home mother.  Ms. Ramella stated that she was asked previously by the press what her credentials were.  Ms. Ramella stated that her degree is not educational or business, but she does not feel that it should prevent her from being a Board member.  Ms.  Ramella believed that she could be an asset to the Board with fresh new ideas, full of energy, and since she does stay at home it allows her to be very involved with her children at school and meet many parents.    Ms. Ramella is a Sunday School Teacher at church and very active in the Awana program.  Ms. Ramella stated that she is very well known in her neighborhood and she knew she wanted to raise her children in the Neshaminy School District and has been a home-owner for eight years.  Ms. Ramella would like to become a Board member in order that she may become involved in the important decisions that are being made for our children’s future.  Ms. Ramella stated that she felt the Board was doing a wonderful job and she would like to become part of the team.

                Mr. Schoenstadt opened the interview to Board questions:  Ms. Drioli asked that if she was not selected as a Board member at this time, would she be available for other projects within the District.  Ms. Ramella stated that she would be willing to be involved at any level.  She realized that big decisions would be forthcoming regarding the high school and she would love to become involved.

                Dr. Spitz inquired whether Ms. Ramella had any views regarding what issues are important when building a new high school versus renovating the school.  Ms. Ramella stated that the only information she presently had was from the newspaper and she would definitely need to know more.  Ms. Ramella advised that she would like to have the public be invited into the high school and receive a guided tour to see the reasons for a new high school or renovating. 

            Phil Schieber:  Mr. Schieber advised that he has been a professional in information technology and information systems auditing.  Mr. Schieber is recently retired and does some consulting to keep the income.  Mr. Schieber has been very active in community services for the past thirty years.  Mr. Schieber has been on the Board of Directors of Frankford Hospital close to thirty years.  Recently, Mr. Schieber was elected to the Jefferson Health System Board.  In that capacity Mr. Schieber has developed the ability to work as a team member, know what the issues are confronting a Board, how to conduct oneself as a Board member.  Mr. Schieber has been very active on a Finance committee which included the budgeting,  monitoring the scheduling of the hospital, and investments of the hospital.  Mr. Schieber has served as the Chairman of the Policy and Planning Committee at Jefferson.  Mr. Schieber further advised that he was involved with the hiring of a new CEO.  Mr. Schieber advised that he does represent the Seniors and not all of us are wealthy and are looking for relief from the property taxes.  Mr. Scheiber further advised that the residents of Flowers Mill do recognize the need for education and the responsibility to finance the education, however at the present time the system is not equal.  Mr. Scheiber stated that as a community and as a school Board the spending issues need to be addressed.  Mr. Scheiber advised that the Board must look at the staff and administration.  Each and every mandated program needs to be reviewed and determine if they are doing what was intended.  Mr. Scheiber stated we should be looking for legal means and ways to go back to the government agencies that put the mandated programs into effect and have them rescinded or revised. 

Mr. Schoenstadt opened the interview to Board questions:  Mr. Schoenstadt inquired whether Mr. Schieber realizes that the mandates imposed upon a school district are in fact from the state legislators in PA, because the district is an arm of the state legislature.  The mandates that are imposed upon are not able to be challenged by the school district legally.  Mr. Schieber advised that he recognizes this, but since he does not sit on the Board he does not know exactly what steps have been taken by the Board. 

Ms. Drioli inquired whether Mr. Schieber felt he could work with the Board or would it constantly be combative.  Mr. Schieber stated that he could bring constructive criticism.  Mr. Schieber stated that he realizes there are other excellent candidates, and if not chosen for the Board he would still be interested in other possible positions.

Mrs. Butville commented that PSBA has a group of lawyers and a legislative arm of that organization that is constantly going through and trying to encourage change.  Mr. Scheiber stated that he is constantly speaking with legislatures. 

Edward T. Stack – Mr. Stack advised that he is very interested in the high school issue and it is something that will have a profound effect on the community.  Mr. Stack would like to be involved in the process, evaluate the options, to make recommendations, but more importantly Mr. Stack believes it is critical to get public support.  Mr. Stack stated it will have a major impact on the community and the district will need to undergo a campaign and use all resources as a district and Board to make the case known to the public.  Mr. Stack advised that all the information must be evaluated. 

                Mr. Schoenstadt opened the interview to Board questions:  Dr. Spitz inquired what Mr. Stack was referring to when he said “make the case known to the public.”  Mr. Stack advised that he did not mean taking a position one way or the other, but laying out a variety of options.  A great expense is going into running an inefficient operation and those dollars being paid every year are the tax dollars.  Dr. Spitz inquired if appointed do you definitely plan on running for a full term next year, and assuming Mr. Stack won, would you commit to a full four year term.  Mr. Stack advised that he intended to run in the spring, however a final decision would be made by the end of the year.   Mr. Stack advised that he does not think it is fair to say “yes” or “no” at the present time because once on board if he feels he is not doing an adequate job he would like to have the opportunity to not run, or likewise if he is having a positive impact he would then like to say he would stay on and have the Board’s support.   Mr. Stack advised that he does not have any other ambitions outside of the school district at this time and he is interested in serving the term.

                Irene Boyle:   Mrs. Boyle advised that as a mother and grandmother she likes to participate in the policies that will continue to enhance the academic progress of the children of Neshaminy School District.  Mrs. Boyle advised that one of the overriding concerns of the district is financial and many people are trying to ascertain whether we still have the ability to give the students the education that the district always has.   Mrs. Boyle, as a budget analyst at Temple, has had extensive experience with academic budgets and she feels that this experience will allow her to be  an asset to the Board.  Mrs. Boyle has had the opportunity to speak personally with people from all areas and many people are concerned with the continued tax increases.  Mrs. Boyle feels that the senior community and those with a fixed income need an advocate on the Board to attempt to integrate their concerns about the financing, yet maintaining quality curriculum which has always been Neshaminy’s trademark.  As the only Democrat in contention, diversity of opinion can be a good thing.  The ability to listen to different opinions can only make the Board stronger and appear more receptive to the community.

Mr. Schoenstadt opened the interview to Board questions:  Ms. Drioli pointed out that there  is not anything more diverse then this Board as far as opinions are concerned.  Ms. Drioli inquired if Mrs. Boyle were in a position to raise taxes or maintain the status quo of programs, where would she go.  Would she want to reduce taxes at the expense of the children?  Ms. Drioli stated that anything that would be done by the Board now would have an effect on the programs the district offers, and is she willing to cut the programs that the district offers in an effort to lower taxes.  Mrs. Boyle stated that programs are the priority, however, there must be some way to control the increase of taxes. 

                Dr. Spitz inquired that since Mrs. Boyle is very concerned regarding the seniors, how does that go along with the position that she was against closing any school.  Mrs. Boyle stated that she was against the closing of Tawanka.  Mrs. Boyle stated that she did not ascertain that the closing of Tawanka would mean a reduction of taxes to the people. 

Mr. Schoenstadt invited all the candidates to reenter the room.  Ms. Wiercinski advised that a motion must be made to open nominations. Ms. Drioli made the motion to open the nomination and Dr. Spitz seconded the motion. 

Ms. Drioli advised that she would like to nominate Edward Stack.  Mr. Schoenstadt seconded the nomination.  Dr. Spitz advised that he would like to nominate Georginna Ramella. No one seconded the motion.  Mr. Dengler made a motion to close nominations and Dr. Spitz seconded the motion.  Ms. Wiercinski advised that since there was no second to Mrs. Ramella’s nomination, only Edward Stack is nominated.

Mr. Schoenstadt requested a show of hands of all those in favor of the nomination of Edward Stack to the Neshaminy School Board.  Upon motion of Ms. Drioli, and seconded by Mr. Schoenstadt, the Board approved the nomination with seven ayes.  Mr. Eccles was not present.

Mr. Schoenstadt congratulated Mr. Stack. 

Mr. Dengler made an announcement that when the time came for approval of the Personnel Report he would need to abstain due to the fact that his son was on the report.

Motion:  Election of New Board Member

Mr. Schoenstadt presented the following motion:

              WHEREAS, board member George H. Mecleary’s resignation on July 15, 2002 created a vacancy               on the Neshaminy Board of School Directors, and

              WHEREAS, it is necessary to appoint an applicant to fill his term which expires December 2003.

              NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that after interviewing and considering several

              qualified applicants, the Neshaminy Board of School Directors elects Edward T. Stack to fill               the unexpired term of George H. Mecleary.

Mrs. Butville seconded the motion.  The Board approved the motion with seven ayes.  Mr. Eccles was not present.

Loyalty Oath: The loyalty oath of office was administered to Mr. Edward T. Stack by Mr. Joseph V. Paradise, Notary Public for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Mrs. Butville advised that all those applicants that submitted a resume should each be considered for one of the committees that will be formed in the future since each has expressed an interest in the students of this district and the workings of this district and they would be excellent candidates for these upcoming committees.

Mr. Schoenstadt advised that a monumental task lies ahead in order to evaluate and determine what direction to take with the high school, if any.  Part of that decision process will be the creation of several public committees to help make analysis and determinations.  The input from several committees will be necessary to determine the direction.  Mr. Schoenstadt thanked all the applicants once again for showing an interest. 

b).  Additional Reimbursement from the Commonwealth of PA.

Mr. Schoenstadt stated that the state legislatures in their wisdom created a school code which gave us a deadline for filing the budgets which is June 30th .  Under state law if the budgets were not prepared the district would be severely penalized.  The district finalized the budget and got the tax bills out in a timely manner.  After the June 30th deadline passed a state budget, which violated state law, since is was late, mandated that the districts reopen their budgets and were given only three options. 

·         Send out a refund (District elected not to do a refund since it would amount to approximately $23 per taxpayer.  However, since the bills are already out it would have cost approximately $l4.50 per taxpayer to send out the refund.)

·         Use the fund toward the debt service

·         Reinstate programs which may have been eliminated

Motion:  Reopen the 2002-2003 Budget & Adopt the Revised 2002-2003 Budget

Mr. Schoenstadt presented the following motion:

              WHEREAS, the Neshaminy Board of School Directors is required to reopen its 2002-2003

              budget during the month of July 2002 to reflect the increased State allocations under Sections

              2502.13, 2502.40, 2509.3 and 2591.1 for the fiscal year 2002-2003 provided by the General

              Assembly through the act known as the “General Appropriation Act of 2002,” and


              WHEREAS, the increased State allocations are estimated to exceed the State revenue figures

              utilized by Neshaminy School District at the time of adoption of its original fiscal year

              2002-2003 budget by $701,260 including

                            Increased Basic Education Subsidy                           $310,850

                            Increased Non-Public Transportation Subsidy              $285, 700

                            Reimbursement for charter schools costs                    $104,710

                                          Total:                                                     $701,260

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Neshaminy Board of School Directors

reopen the 2002-2003 budget.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Neshaminy Board of School Directors adopt a revised

operating budget in the amount $126,963,567 including the following increases to restore

funding to:

              Regular Education, Materials & Supplies (prev 5%)               $85,000

              Regular Education, Textbooks, Elementary                           90,000

              Hoover D-Wing Roof Replacement                                       250,000

              Building Improvement Services – Electrical transformer 

                            replacement to provide for proper harmonics

                            for education technology                                            276,260

                                                    Total:                                             $701,260

 Dr. Spitz advised that he thought the district was only allowed to use the funds to restore funding or programs that have been cut.  Mr. Paradise advised that electrical improvements were initially cut from the budget.

 Mrs. Butville seconded the motion.  The Board approved the motion with seven ayes.  Ms. Drioli was not present.   Mr. Eccles was not present.

 Public Comment

Mr. Solis Basen, resident of Middletown Township, stated that he heard the motion was just passed and felt that it should have been addressed at a public meeting.  This motion was to be discussed regarding the money which was awarded by the state.  Mr. Basen stated that there was nothing in the newspaper or notification that a motion would be made. 

Mr. Schoenstadt responded that the public agenda was announced and publicized and it was also in the agenda.   Mr. Basen questioned is the funding for the teacher’s retirement fund going to be tapped again next year because of the losses that we are mandated to make up.  If that is so, why is this money not being put into a fund for that purpose next year.

Mr. Schoenstadt responded that the district was given specific mandates of what could be done with the funds.  Mrs. Butville further responded that districts have been criticized for not putting away money for that, but yet, we are not allowed to put away money.  Mr. Basen questioned why the budget is being reopened and Mr. Schoenstadt advised that the district was mandated to do so by the state.

Dr. Spitz stated that the district needs to do a better job publicizing what items will be on the agenda.  It is very difficult for members of the public to know what is on the agenda.  Mrs. Butville advised it is on the website and in the Courier Times.

Mr. Stephen Rosinski, of Lower Southampton, commented that when he arrived  at 7:30 p.m. he thought he would be early, however, he arrived and the appropriations were already done. 

Mr. Schoenstadt advised that the Courier Times knew that the meeting started at 6:30 p.m. and that both meetings were continuous.  The newspaper does not really always provide accurate information and that at a continuous and ongoing public meeting the Board  would deal with all the issues.

Mr. Paradise advised that the list of scheduled meetings available in advance and the formalized meetings are on the website, however , in this case this was a special meeting that was being held only because the state mandated the district to have this meeting and there was a specified time to proceed.

Mr. Schoenstadt advised that before the end of the meeting there would be additional public comment.

 5.       Items for Approval:

a)       Overnight Trip – Mr. Wyatt

i)         Vocal Music Trip – Neshaminy High School – March 2003

This trip is scheduled for three school days which is the established number of schools days permitted for this type of trip and it also includes a weekend.  The estimated cost per student is $1000 at no cost to the district.  The monies are being raised through a variety of fundraising activities.    The goal is to provide adjudication and performing opportunities  for the students.

Mr. Dengler inquired which cruise line was being used.  Mr. Wyatt advised he was not aware of that information.  Mr. Dengler stated he felt this was a wonderful trip. 

Mrs. Butville inquired regarding safety issues on a cruise.  Mr. Stack advised that an I.D. is issued and along with that is a photograph.  Customs takes control of the ship upon arrival in port and if there is someone unaccounted for the ship is locked down.  Also, drinks are controlled on the ship with the I.D. card.

There was board consensus for the trip.

b)       September 11, 2002 Memorial

Mr. Wilson stated that he wanted the board members to be aware that a memorial was being planned for the Neshaminy High School stadium in remembrance of the September 11, 2001 tragedy.  It will be sponsored by the Langhorne Ministerium and the Langhorne Fire and Emergency.

c)  Certified and Support Personnel Actions -   Mr. Wilson presented the following for approval:

·         Elections – Certified Personnel

·         Contract Staff Positions

·         Long Term Substitute Positions

·         Resignations and Leaves of Absence -  Certified Personnel

·         Elections – Support Personnel

Mr. Wilson requested the approval of the Certified and Support Personnel Actions.  Mr. Schoenstadt requested a motion to accept the Personnel report as presented by the Administration on the Administration’s recommendation.  Dr. Spitz moved the personnel actions be approved and Mrs. Jowett seconded the motion.

Mr. Schoenstadt advised that as with all Personnel Action reports the Board votes up or down, there is no discussion, unless a Board member has a specific discussion requirements at which time the Board would need to call an Executive Session since it involves individuals. 

Mr. Stack inquired what the effective date is of these appointments.  Mr. Wilson advised it would be September 3, 2003, unless they are guidance counselors and that effective date is August 16th .

The Board approved the Personnel Action Report with six ayes.  Mr. Dengler abstained and Ms. Drioli and Mr. Eccles were not present for the vote. 

Public Comment – Reopen

Mr. Stephen Rosinski,  of Lower Southampton, advised that he arrived for a meeting at 8:00 p.m. and most of the business was already taken care of.

Ms. Wiercinski advised that the most accurate information regarding times and agenda are the section in the newspaper under public notices that gives the information most accurately and that is the official notice.  Also, the television is also a good source for times.  The website would have  the information over the weekend prior to the meeting. 

Mr. Schieber stated that in the interest of being constructive suggested that since the Board members knew what the agenda was on Friday,  it would be sufficient time to get a paid advertisement to the Courier for Monday. 

Mr. Schneider, Langhorne Borough, stated that the only thing standing between Sam and his eagle badge at scouts is the necessity to cover a public meeting at which two or three points of view are given.  He was coming at 8:00 p.m. to hear the budget debate.  Mr. Schneider was helping instruct him.  Mr. Schneider does not get cable and does not check the website.  Mr. Schneider could only rely on the Courier Times.   At the very least the Board should consider that people were coming out primarily for the budget discussion and it could have been held to the end of the meeting, rather then adhereing to the agenda. 

Dr. Spitz advised that no one on the Board had any knowledge that people were looking at 8:00 p.m.  Mr. Wilson advised that the notice sent to the paper was correct.  Mr. Schoenstadt stated that the Courier Times knew better because our work sessions since January have been at 7:00 p.m.  The Courier provided inaccurate information.

Mr. Schoenstadt advised that the Public Relations Director will communicate and coordinate with the Courier.  From this point on there should be fewer miscommunications and the district will ensure the information is accurate and monitor it carefully. 

Mrs. Butville moved the meeting be adjourned and if anyone from the audience would like to stay to hear what they missed, the Board members would be willing to review same.  Mr. Dengler seconded the motion.  The Board approved the motion with seven ayes.  Mr. Schoenstadt adjourned the meeting at 8:00  p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Anita E. Walls
Board Secretary                                                               


Copyright © 1998- 2007 Neshaminy School District, Langhorne, PA  19047. 215-809-6000. All rights reserved. 
 Contact Us: Email  Webmaster  with questions or comments. Last modified: August 17, 2007.