Neshaminy Board of School Directors met in public session on June 4, 2002,
in the Board Room of the District Offices, Maple Point Middle School.
The following persons were in attendance:
Steven Schoenstadt, President
June Bostwick, Vice President
P. Howard Wilson
Mr. Harry Dengler, Jr.
Mr. Richard Marotto
Harry P. Jones
George Mecleary, Jr., Esq.
seventy-five persons from the public, staff and press
SOLICITOR: Kristina S. Wiercinski, Esquire
1. Call to Order
Schoenstadt called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m.
2. Flag Salute
Schoenstadt requested that those in attendance join in the salute to the
Schoenstadt advised that he would like to get the Board consensus
regarding a change of the agenda, since such a large group of interested
taxpayers are in attendance. The
change would move Item 7(f) Adoption of
Budget 2002-2003 to after Item 4
Public Comment. Also,
it will be necessary to get Board consensus regarding a motion to hire ATS&R
as the new architect and end the contractual relationship with BASCO and
for the Board to recommend to ATS&R that they consider BASCO as one of
the options for the local architect.
Upon motion of Mr. Schoenstadt,
the Board unanimously approved to amend the agenda to provide that Item
7(f) Adoption of Budget 2002-2003 is placed after Item 4 Public Comment
and the Board consensus regarding the architect be heard thereafter.
Further, Mr. Schoenstadt
stated that an item on the agenda this evening, 7(b) Approval of Board
Policy #533 Home Education, should be moved back into committee
since it was found that there are significant conflicts that need to be
reviewed before the Board should even consider same.
Ms. Wiercinski advised that
copies of a detailed list will be distributed regarding discrimination
issues between home-schooled students, and the procedures they need
to follow and procedures followed by the students who attend the
Ms. Drioli inquired whether
this was not addressed in committee, and consensus in committee was that
not all things make an even playing field.
Some students are more gifted then others, and have it easier, and
Ms. Drioli is personally not willing to take it back to committee.
Mrs. Butville advised that the
information has not yet been reviewed, and it was presented to this Board
several months ago and there were no problems with the policy.
Mr. Eccles stated that there
are numerous times that he does not have the opportunity to review
everything and Mr. Eccles contacted PIAA and was informed that our
students under PIAA rule do not need to be in school the day of a game.
Under PIAA you do not need to appear in school on Friday to play on
Friday night. PIAA has very
little interest in enforcing any school rules.
Mr. Eccles stated that his major concern is that our district would
be involved in litigation. Mr.
Eccles advised that our district has programs that require students attend
school in order to participate. This
is a district rule, not PIAA rule, and this Board is now willing to set a
double standard for students who choose not to be schooled in this
district; however, it is alright for those students not to abide by our
Mrs. Butville advised that
even though the student is not in school, they are schooled at home and
are required to do work and it would qualify.
Well over one year was spent, and it was discussed and presented at
a work session.
Mr. Eccles further stated that
if the district allows students that attend our school to be governed in a
different way than our home schooled students, then the district is doing
an injustice to the community.
Schoenstadt made a motion to remove the Approval of Board Policy
#533 Home Education from the agenda and take it back to committee.
The motion was defeated with a vote of six nays.
Mr. Dengler, Mr. Schoenstadt and Mr. Eccles voted aye.
Mrs. Butville made a motion to
move the Approval of Board Policy #533 Home Education to the next public
meeting scheduled for June 11, 2002.
The motion was approved with a vote of eight ayes.
Mr. Eccles voted nay.
Mr. Schoenstadt advised that there would be a
time limit of two minutes per speaker on items, which are on the agenda.
Phil Schieber, Langhorne, resident of Village of Flowers Mill, welcomed
Mr. Wilson on his first meeting and Mr. Scheiber stated that the residents
of Flowers Mill are concerned about the schools
and the students. We
are not against paying taxes, we are very much in favor of education, and
we are just looking for a fair shake for our people.
Mr. Schieber did take exception to the two things he noticed when
he signed in is a change of the Boardï¿½s policy to limit the discussion
to only agenda items. That
has not been the practice in the past.
It has always been open to any topic as long as it was related to
school board. The other
problem is the time limit, both items should have been announced in
advance, because most of the residents have prepared to speak for three
minutes. Mr. Schieber advised
that the Board will hear from his neighbors regarding the budget in
general, and would ask in lieu of Sunshine
Rules to be a little lenient about
some of the comments made about the budget in general, because the most
concern lies with the proposal of a $120 million bond issue for a new high
Schoenstadt advised that there has been no bond issue discussions and will
not occur until some time mid next year at the earliest, depending on what
the new architect recommends. Mr.
Schoenstadt advised that there would be public hearings where the public
will be able to voice their opinions and participate.
Schieber further advised that the district has been working hard on the
budget, and cuts have been noted. Mr.
Schieber advised that his community would not be happy until they see a
millage return, rather than a millage increase.
Schoenstadt advised that when a large majority of the public wishes to
make comment, the Board needs to limit the time to two minutes, otherwise
only a small fraction of the public who wants to participate will have
Angney, Langhorne, resident of Village of Flowers Mill, felt that some
homeowners in Middletown Township and Neshaminy School District live in
half million dollar homes and pay less then their fair share of taxes.
That could easily be addressed by making the homeowners obtain
their own assessments and bring it in to the Township within a
twelve-month period, put it on a computer and everyone’s millage could
be reduced if everyone had a fair assessment.
Louis Goodman, Langhorne, resident of Village of Flowers Mill, on the
issue of the budget the residents of Flowers Mills support excellent
schools. It is good for the community, it is good for the people who
want to live here, but besides having an interest in the students Mr.
Goodman would like to see the school board have a more public interest in
the taxpayers. By that Mr.
Goodman meant publicly supporting legislation to change the way taxes are
collected, either directly or through association with other school
boards, letting the legislature know that change is necessary so that the
dependence was not only on property taxes.
Mr. Goodman would like to see an earned income tax.
Mr. Goodman brought this up at another board meeting and was told
that a study was made, but the concern was too much tax would be lost to
New York and Philadelphia. New
York has abolished the commuter tax and it would not be a loss to
Philadelphia, it is being paid anyway.
It would be additional revenue to the school district.
Mr. Goodman further stated that negotiations with Middletown
Township would be in order since there has been discussion that the
Township would not take their one-half percent
beyond the first year. Mr.
Goodman also suggested that the Board make the County aware that they were
in favor of a countywide reassessment so that
we do not have the problems of new homes paying much higher taxes
then established properties.
Mike Steinberg, Langhorne, resident of Village of Flowers Mill, questioned
whether the tax money which has been collected over the past years has
gone toward school maintenance or has it been used for other purposes. Mr. Steinberg requested an explanation as to where the money
was going. Mr. Steinberg
stated that the Board is looking at renovating Neshaminy High School and
there are schools in Philadelphia and the suburbs that are over one
hundred years old. Mr.
Steinberg questioned why Neshaminy, after twenty years, needs all this
money. Mr. Steinberg would
like to know where the money is going?
Mr. Steinberg stated that he resides in a quad and that quad pays
over $20,000 a year in taxes. People on this board and people in the audience that have
larger properties then that pay a lot less in taxes.
Bill Linenberg, Langhorne, resident of Village of Flowers Mill, age 84,
stated that he has ten grandchildren and another on the way.
Mr. Linenberg stated that everyone knows what it costs to help
children. Mr. Linenberg moved
from Philadelphia paying $l485.00 in taxes.
Mr. Linenberg stated that he was told the wrong information when he
purchased his home. Realen
Homes did not advise new homeowners of the accurate tax amounts.
Mr. Linenberg attended the meeting regarding the closing of
Tawanka. Those residents
cried regarding that school closing, and the residents are now crying
regarding the taxes. Mr.
Linenberg had an article from the Courier showing two properties costing
more then $l85,000 and paying only $3,l00 in taxes, whereas the Village of
Flowers Mill’s residents are paying $5,000-$6,000.
There needs to be some kind of equalization.
Mr. Linenberg stated that he does not believe that a new high
school is necessary. Mr.
Linenberg asked the Board to think of the taxpayers.
Jay Hambro, Langhorne, resident of Village of Flowers Mill, stated that
based on what he heard at the beginning of the meeting, what he had to say
was premature. Mr. Hambro
“Per Matthew N. Wright, public school costs are rising faster,
than any other major function of government.
The property tax for school
funding is unfair to seniors and people who have no children and
who have not had children in school for a long time.
The property tax
could be fair if a reassessment was undertaken periodically, but
be very, very expensive. No
school tax method will satisfy everyone, but
pending state legislation, Senate Bill 1373, would establish a fair
predictable funding formula for public education.
It will shift the burden
of raising tax revenues from the property tax to the personal
In the meantime the very first priority must be for our school
control spending. It
is most important that the Neshaminy school board
exercise tight control over spending increases.
One way to do this is to delay
new construction so that the burden of cost is borne most
equitably. It would
be irresponsible to do otherwise”
Gene Ward, Langhorne, resident of Village of Flowers Mill, stated that he
relocated to this area from central New Jersey where he was used to paying
high schools taxes. Mr. Ward
stated that he has resided in this area for nine months and his tax rate
is $5,700, of which $4,700 is school taxes.
Mr. Ward stated that he is looking at real estate in Lower
Makefield and Upper Makefield, $500,000 homes sending children to school
paying $3,l00 and $3,200 for taxes. The
seniors of Flowers Mill are no expenditure to the school district.
The end result is there are 627 units, paying an average of $5,000.
That equates to $3,l00,000 contributed by the people in this room.
Mr. Ward stated that he is just looking for a fair, level playing
Betty Schieber, Langhorne, resident of Village of Flowers Mill, stated
that in the Courier Times an article written by Joe Halberstein, regarding
the most seniors and the worst place to retire.
The article stated that Pennsylvania ranks number 50 and that most
seniors know the reason why because of property taxes.
Mrs. Schieber stated that property taxes are the result of school
board budgets. The article
stated that New York state is less then Pennsylvania, and Delaware’s
taxes are as low as $543 a year on a home worth $l33,000.
Mr. Schieber questioned how other states are able to have such a
Robert Winkler, Langhorne, resident of Village of Flowers Mill, stated
that he is a taxpayer for 48 years in the Lower Bucks area, and currently
on a fixed income. Mr.
Winkler stated that he needs help now!
Seamus McCaffery, Langhorne, resident of Village of Flowers Mill, raised
six children of his own. All
his children went to private schools and colleges.
Mr. McCaffery advised that school taxes do not bother him per say;
however, they are high for the residents of Flowers Mill.
Mr. McCaffery had a proposal regarding a three-prong attack on the
tax structure. Mr. McCaffery
stated that there is no question that local property taxes are too high;
however, finding a plausible solution that everyone in the general
assembly can agree with is always difficult because Pennsylvania is a
large state with
diverse geographical, social and economic needs.
However, Pennsylvania school districts rely too heavily on property
taxes as their main revenue source. Mr.
McCaffery noted that the system does not equally or adequately reflect a
homeowner’s economic condition and that is exactly the problem that lies
in Village of Flowers Mill.
Barbara Fineman, Langhorne, resident of Village of Flowers Mill, advised
that she was around for the construction of Pearl Buck Elementary School
which her children attended, and she was around for the building of
Neshaminy High School where her children graduated.
Mrs. Fineman questioned what the rationale is for the new school
and what the Board plans to do with the present school.
What accommodations will be used there?
Mrs. Fineman stated that the tax base in our school district is
presently high enough and it cannot afford to be raised.
Mrs. Fineman questioned whether the new school will make for better
teaching, will it make for better teachers, will it make for better
scores, more creative students, better students?
Mrs. Fineman is a retired teacher from the Philadelphia school
district having taught in an old elementary school, and there was quality
education. Mrs. Fineman stated that she has paid high taxes for 46 years
and she would like to know what a new school is really going to do for the
students, and what will the impact be on the children’s learning.
Mrs. Fineman stated that our population is not exploding, and let
us hope that are taxes do not.
Solis Basen, Langhorne, resident of Village of Flowers Mill, congratulated
Mr. Wilson on his appointment as Superintendent.
Mr. Basen advised that he was disturbed that the Board wanted to
engage or change the architect. Mr.
Basen inquired whether there was anything on the books that you need an
architect for at this time. Mr.
Basen advised that his father stated,
“live within your means”.
The means come from the people who have spoken this evening.
Mr. Basen advised that good sense tells us not to borrow for
anticipated expenditures, especially if the future projects are not
needed. The Board cannot have
cart blanche. The residents
need to be considered. Mr.
Basen advised that in the last ten years Middletown Township’s
population has increased two percent, Lower Southampton has gone down
three percent, Penndel has gone down eight percent.
If the taxes continue to rise, population will continue to
decrease. Mr. Basen stated
that the household median income in the last ten years is up 5.4%.
Mr. Basen questioned how much has the budget increased.
Mr. Basen advised that school taxes have increased nine percent in
two years, health insurance has gone up $2,400, and prescriptions are up
20%. Mr. Basen advised that
many seniors are not taking all the prescribed drugs they are required to
take in order to cut down. Mr.
Basen asked the Board to please think of the seniors as much as they do
Marvin Dickler, Langhorne, resident of Village of Flowers Mill, stated
that he believes the Board is getting the point that the residents of
Flowers Mill are not a very happy group, and this is something that will
continue and will grow as far as our participation in these meetings.
Mr. Dickler advised that he has been to prior meetings where he has
heard other residents of this Township speak disparagingly about the
residents of Flowers Mill stating that the residents of Flowers Mill do
not want to pay their fair share. Mr.
Dickler pointed out that the residents do want to pay their fair share.
There is no one in the audience that wants to not be responsible
for their taxes. Mr. Dickler
advised that the residents know the importance of a good education, but to
turn around and try to produce a good education on the backs of the senior
citizens is unfair. Everyone
in this room at the present point is being taxed unfairly.
We are just looking to be taxed fairly.
Mr. Dickler advised that the Board should do like every major
corporation in America is doing, find a way of not cutting the services,
but cutting the expenses.
Schoenstadt thanked the residents of Flowers Mill for participating and
provided a few comments:
The Board does not determine the base
for taxes. That is the statelegislatures
responsibility. The state of
PA in the 1970’s paid for 57% of the cost of educating a child in this
state. Today the state pays
for approximately 18% in this school district.
The public needs to be pressing very hard the state
legislators, Mr. Wright, in your specific area. Mr. Wright is the most directly responsible individual.
The district is an arm of the state legislature.
The district does not enact laws; the district does not determine
the tax base. The state
determines what is available for the district to use.
The state of PA has backed off its
responsibility to educate children in the Neshaminy School District and
the state of PA. The
district has no alternative. The
district is charged with educating students in this school district.
The residents of Flowers Mill were
misled when they purchased their homes.
If the developer did not provide a disclosure sheet he violated
The problem is the way education needs to be funded.
When funding is changed to an earned income tax, it will solve
senior citizen’s problems throughout the state of PA.
Drioli stated that for the first time from this group she has heard that
the residents really do care about the quality of education.
Ms. Drioli stated that the residents are a large block and as a
group they need to voice their opinions in Harrisburg.
Residents need to speak with Tommy Tomlinson.
Ms. Drioli stated the Board does realize the plight of the senior
citizen, however, we cannot let Neshaminy deteriorate.
Mr. Drioli stated that as far as a new high school is concerned,
discussions have taken place and it is not reality yet.
$l20 million bond issue has never been brought up.
Dengler stated that the County is responsible for the reassessment, and
everyone would welcome a reassessment.
Since l968 one has not occurred, and it is time for it to occur.
Butville stated that she has actively pursued the legislators about our
school taxing problem. Several
audience members have also participated.
Mrs. Butville stated that the legislators need to change the way
school taxes are funded. A
formula has been considered that would help the district greatly.
It must be passed by the entire state, and our state is very
different. The rural areas
are very different. However,
the board still needs to pass a budget and has bills that need to be paid.
If the state does not provide the money, the funds come from the
Schoenstadt stated that the state of Delaware pays 67% of the cost of
educating a child. Hence, the
real estate taxes do not need to pick-up the difference.
Spitz agreed with the other Board members.
Dr. Spitz reminded the Board that the residents are not being
unreasonable. The Board can
attempt to hold down the amount of expenditures.
Don’t focus on revenue. Dr.
Spitz is not pleased with the current budget, however, the increase in
expenditures has been cut from the time of the initial budget somewhere
close to 60%.
Mrs. Bostwick advised that
the Board only has twenty (20%) percent of the budget to work with, since
eighty (80%) percent is contractual.
Items for Approval
of Budget for 2002-2003
Mr. Wilson advised that the
administration has worked vigorously and diligently, and the budget has
been reduced to the 27.4 mill range.
Programs have not been affected; however, positions have been
eliminated and many of the retired positions have not been replaced.
The total increase in this budget is only four (4%) percent.
Mr. Wilson asked Mr. Paradise to review the budget since the last
Mr. Paradise noted the
Travel and supply costs
facilities, and transportation
Per pupil allocation was reduced by 5%
(returns to current year level)
year at that level)
Eliminated the replacement of
elementary computer labs
Specific Staffing Changes
Eliminate l High School Secretary
Eliminate 2 FT Secondary School
Eliminate 5 FT Elementary School
Eliminate 2 PT ESL Support Staff Aides
Eliminate l PT High School Special
Add 2 Special Education Certified
Positions (contractual reasons)
The total amounts to
additional expenditure reductions in the amount of
$1,283,600 that equates to 7.0l mills which takes us from a
preliminary budget document indicating 34.4 mills to 27.4 mills.
The working draft budget reflected
expenditures of $129,521,630 or a 10.43% increase
The preliminary budget reflected
expenditures of $123,239,238 or a 5.08% increase
This revision reflects total
expenditures of $121,972,654 or approximately a 4% increase
Paradise stated that special education costs are $16.5 million of the
budget and the district educates approximately 1100 special education
students. The allocation from
Harrisburg is approximately $4.5 to $5 million.
The District must make up the balance since it is a mandated
Paradise advised that overall, $7,565,992 has been reduced from the
original working draft budget, which does not include the over $3.8
million reduced prior to the working draft budget.
The total reductions (including legislative action) amount to
Paradise further advised that the final budget would reflect the addition
of any federal programs for 02-03 known at this time, in addition to
“rolled over purchase orders” from the current year, and the capital
Spitz inquired regarding the fund balance.
Mr. Paradise advised that the most recent audited fund balance,
which is as of June 30, 200l, is in the amount of $7,752,800.
Anticipated Revenues for 2002 through June 30 total $112,990,620
and anticipated expenditures total $114,450,328.
The projected Fund Balance at June 30, 2002, is $6,293,092.
The amount of fund balance to be used to “balance” the budget
for 2003 is in the amount of $3,290,000, which would leave an anticipated
fund balance available on June 30, 2003, in the amount of $3,003,092.
Paradise advised that next year written into law automatic increases in
the retirement system contribution that will go from 1.15% to 3%.
The purpose of the fund balance is basically what supports the
district through the summer months. Taxes
are levied in July; however, funds are not received until the end of
August. Without the fund
balance the district would need to borrow funds.
Bostwick inquired what is the limit required by law to keep in the fund
balance. Mr. Paradise replied
that it is fiscally sound to maintain a certain amount, but it is not a
Eccles inquired what is the amount of interest that has been earned from
the fund balance this past year. Mr.
Paradise advised that not much interest has been earned since investment
rates are very low.
Eccles further inquired as to how low could the district take the fund
balance, since it is difficult to ask for a tax increase when revenue is
on hand. Mr. Paradise advised
that in 2002 it was anticipated to use $3.2 million and $l.4 million was
actually used. Mr.
Paradise noted that the district exclusively uses less then what is
Spitz inquired whether the district is comfortable with this amount
remaining in the fund balance, and could the fund balance possibly be
lower. Mr. Paradise responded
that this is a very comfortable number.
Mr. Paradise stated that if more of the fund balance is used there
is a concern regarding operating during the months of July and August and
there could be the possibility of borrowing money in subsequent years.
Mr. Paradise stated that there is also a budgetary reserve in the
amount of $500,000.
Drioli advised that she has sat on the Board for many years and she cannot
remember ever having a fund balance below $3 million.
Eccles stated that he has a real concern with rising taxes, and believes a
portion of the fund balance should be used.
Mr. Eccles feels that legislatively there will be no help this
year. Mr. Eccles stated that
special education and the one (1%) income tax through the state could have
an impact on the budget in the future.
Mr. Eccles would like to see the district gamble and use more of
the fund balance leaving it at $500,000.
Schoenstadt advised that by leaving the fund balance with only $500,000
the district would jeopardize the bond rating and increase the rate of
Wilson advised that if the Board were looking for any further reductions,
programs for the students would be affected.
Schoenstadt inquired how many board members could support an additional $l
million taken out of the fund balance.
Five members of the board would support a $2.5 million fund
balance. Is the risks that it
entails worth taking the extra $500,000?
Mr. Paradise advised that next year there will be two (2)
negatives: a budget developed
this year anticipating a $4.2 million fund balance and you will have
one-half of that next year, and the other issue is the retirement
contribution which will be three times the amount.
Bostwick noted that instances could arise that take the district by
surprise and the fund balance needs to be available, i.e. special
Schoenstadt stated that he would rather see the security of having the
fund balance at a
level with no impact on the bond ratings or financial ratings if money
needs to be borrowed for swing loans, etc.
Schoenstadt inquired how many board members could support a $3 million
fund balance. Dr. Spitz, Mr.
Dengler, Mrs. Bostwick, Mr. Schoenstadt, Mrs. Jowett, Ms. Drioli, Mr.
Mecleary would support a $3 million fund balance.
Mr. Eccles and Mrs. Butville could not support a $3 million fund
Schoenstadt stated that Board consensus would be needed to have a motion
prepared for the next meeting to hire ATS&R as the new architect, and
end the contract with BASCO; however, recommending
that ATS&R consider BASCO as the local architect.
was Board consensus for the motion to be prepared.
Mr. Mecleary left the meeting at 8:40 p.m.
Presentation from the
Neshaminy Education Foundation
Mr. Ward McMaster,
Vice-President of the Foundation stated that the Neshaminy Education
Foundation was begun in l993 as
a result of the district’s strategic plan that Dr. Bowman oversaw, and
since that time the foundation has raised over $50,000 and has given out
over 200 teacher grants.
Costanzo is the district liaison to the Neshaminy Education Foundation.
McMaster presented a plaque to Dr. Gary L. Bowman for his vision and
continued support of the Neshaminy Education Foundation established in
1993. The plaque contains a
Mercer tile. Mr.
McMaster requested Dr.
Bowman’s permission to hang this next to the endowment wall at the
Neshaminy High School.
Bowman thanked the Neshaminy Education Foundation for the wonderful honor
and tribute. Dr. Bowman
stated that he would be deeply touched to have the plaque be part of the
Bowman announced that Neshaminy
School District has its second National Blue Ribbon School, Maple Point
Middle School. Maple Point
Middle School is recognized as one of the most outstanding
schools in America. It is
recognized as a model for other schools to replicate.
Dr. Bowman stated that this is an indication that there is a high
degree of quality in Neshaminy School District.
Dr. Bowman stated that he has heard the senior citizens supporting
quality education. A
celebration will be held with the staff and Mr. Wilson will continue with
the celebration next October, when a group from Maple Point Middle School
will travel to Washington to receive the award from the President.
Items for Discussion
Additional payment to
Board Secretary for Finance/Facilities Committee Meetings
Schoenstadt advised that the Finance/Facilities Committee has requested
that the minutes be taken with the same accuracy and efficiency as the
Work Session/Public Meetings, and since there is no secretary assigned a
request was made for Mrs. Walls, Board Secretary, to attend the meetings
and transcribe the minutes. Mr.
Schoenstadt requested a consensus approval from the Board to pay Mrs.
Walls a proportionate amount based on the amount that is received for
taking the Work Session and Public Meeting minutes.
Mr. Schoenstadt advised that two (2) such meetings have taken place
thus far, and probably a meeting will take place in June and August.
Drioli advised that accurate minutes would be necessary since there has
already been misinformation. Mr.
Schoenstadt stated that accurate minutes are necessary for the Board’s
benefit and for Board members who are unable to attend the meetings.
Mr. Schoenstadt advised that the taking of the minutes would only
be during the process of the
hearings and evaluations of the projects.
At the time that it will be turned over to be a construction
project, the minutes of those meetings will not be necessary.
Mr. Schoenstadt advised that it would probably be necessary through
the end of the school year,
2003. At that point a
decision will have been made, one way or the other, and the project will
move to another phase.
was Board consensus to
approve the additional payment to the Board Secretary.
Mr. Eccles was not present in the Boardroom.
Update of Tawanka
Marotto advised that with the closing of Tawanka quite a bit of
preparation is being done in order for students to move to other schools.
Students from Tawanka are moving to Heckman, Lower Southampton, and
Hoover. Some students from
Lower Southampton will be moving to Heckman.
All the principals at these schools are preparing the students for
these changes. Memory nights,
open houses, picnics, meetings and students visitations have been taking
place. The transition is
going smoothly and the students’ reaction to change is one of
excitement. Mr. Marotto advised that parents have been very supportive.
Dengler noted that Lower Southampton has posted on the outside sign,
“Welcome Tawanka Students”. This
is a wonderful sign and makes the Tawanka students feel wanted.
Schoenstadt commended Mr. Marotto and the building principals for the
execution of this change. Apparently,
it has been a smooth transition and seamless.
handout was distributed to all Board members.
Mr. Wilson stated that the Administration’s recommendation based
on the needs of students and what the Administration felt would be the
Optimum Grade Level Configuration was discussed with Mr. Marotto, Mr.
Wyatt and building principals. The
recommendation from the Administration would be K-5 elementary buildings,
middle schools, and 9-12 high school, if a new facility was built.
Mr. Wilson stated that it was a unanimous recommendation.
Mr. Wilson referred to page two of the handout regarding district
enrollment projections and looking at 2006-2007 when possibly a new high
school would be built and renovations to Poquessing, the projected numbers
are listed. Mr. Wilson
stated that the nationwide trends show that 59% of the districts across
the country have grade configurations K-5, 6-8 and 9-12.
Schoenstadt inquired what the projected numbers would be in 2007-2008 of
the four middle schools. Mr.
Wilson advised that if redistricting took place and the four middle
schools would have an equal loading of students we would be between 75%
and 80% load factor of our middle schools.
Mr. Wilson stated that every IU student and program could be
brought back to Neshaminy. All
students that would go to Neshaminy would be in Neshaminy, including all
IU units. That would
eliminate any and all fair share costs at that point and time.
Wilson stated that this could only happen if a new facility is built.
Mr. Schoenstadt advised that this is based on class size
limitation. Most of the
classrooms at the high school cannot handle more then twenty students.
Bostwick stated that in order for our high school students to fully
utilize the Tech School programs the district needed to change to a 9-12
Eccles inquired whether this could be accomplished with three middle
schools. Mr. Wilson stated that it could be done, however, we would
not have 75%- 80% load factor, and at this point and time that would not
be his recommendation.
Spitz inquired whether there is any concern regarding school size and that
a 9-12 high school would be too large in terms of the number of students
in the building. Mr. Wilson
replied that the way the high school would be configured of grade levels
within the building and the movement of students that concern would be
eliminated The “house”
concept eliminates that problem to an extent.
Mr. Wilson stated that an optimum number is 1700-1800 students;
however, many high schools have an enrollment of 2700-3000.
For this reason it is imperative that it is a new facility, because
it would be very difficult with our current high school to have a
Spitz inquired whether there is any way to access what impact the change
have with regards to staffing. Dr.
Spitz further advised that the “house” concept at the middle school
has been very successful. Mr.
Wilson replied that the current configuration would neither save nor add
staffing, since the ninth grade would be moving out of middle school and
move to a high school. Cost
savings would be realized, since four PIAA sports in boys and girls, would
New Investment Program
handout was distributed to all Board members.
Mr. Paradise advised that it is a difficult budget year due to the
fact that interest rates are lower. Monies
cannot be invested at higher rates. This
new program with Mr. Lillys, who was involved with the previous bond
issues, is with a firm with innovative and creative ideas for investments.
Mr. Paradise noted that investment rates over the last two years
have been dramatically lower. The
concept is essentially that the district would agree up front to invest a
certain amount of money over a certain period of time, and agree for a
multi year contract, i.e. ten years, and in exchange for that, the
district would receive the ten-year average, and it would be received the
very first year of the investment. Mr.
Paradise also noted that there are down sides, because if investment rates
increase in the future the district would still only receive the ten-year
average agreed upon. The
concept is that over the ten years the district would level out the
investment income as opposed to it being market driven.
Mr. Paradise recommended that the investment be limited to $l0
million or $20 million investment.
Mr. Paradise stated that it would be totally secured investments,
whether the product is T-bills or Certificates of Deposit, a higher rate
would be received due to the longer commitment.
Paradise inquired whether the Board would be interested in pursuing this
Mr. Schoenstadt stated that more revenue could be obtained,
therefore, it needs to be considered.
There was Board consensus for Mr. Paradise to pursue this type of
Advanced Payment for Blue
handout was distributed to all Board members.
Mr. Jones advised that Blue Cross was offering the district a
pre-payment plan. The plan
could save the district money. If
payment were received on July l5, 2002, in the amount of $11.1 million,
approximate savings would be $525,000.
If payment was made on August 15, 2002, in the amount of $9.2
million and pay the July premium first, there would be an approximate
savings of $393,750. Mr.
Jones advised that it is not net savings.
Mr. Jones advised that normally the premium is paid on a monthly
Drioli did not have good feelings about this plan.
Dr. Spitz inquired whether any other information was received from
Blue Cross stating why this type of plan is being offered. Mr. Jones replied that it was presented to the district
approximately two weeks ago. Mr.
Paradise advised that it has been offered to a number of districts in
Bucks County. .
Paradise advised that the district would have difficulty arriving at those
types of funds at the particular dates.
If the large amount were paid to Blue Cross, the district then
would not be investing the funds. Mr.
Paradise also brought up the issue of security, putting out that large
amount of money in advance.
There was Board consensus that the advanced payment for Blue Cross
would not occur.
Wiercinski requested that the Board consider the case of a disabled
veteran to receive exoneration. Mr.
Schoenstadt advised that he received a call from Dan Fraley, Veterans
Affairs Director, and also a fax
Tommy Tomlinson, who asked that the Board consider the case of the
disabled veteran who has received our exoneration previously, but missed
the deadline in 2000 and his home is now up for sheriff’s sale because
of a technicality.
Wiercinski asked that the agenda be amended to include this as an agenda
item. There was Board
consensus to amend the agenda.
Schoenstadt presented the following motion:
Parcel #22-054-269 owned by James R. & Susan Van Nest would be
exonerated from school taxes due for the year 2000.
Board unanimously approved the motion.
Items for Approval
Tax and Revenue
Anticipation Note Consideration
Paradise advised that the reason for the Tax and Revenue Anticipation Note
is to borrow low and
invest high. Mr. Paradise advised that there will be a motion item on the
agenda, but it may be withdrawn at the last minute.
Approval of Budgetary
Increases for Federal and Other Programs
Paradise advised that this motion is done every year in June.
The budget will be amended in the end to include all the grants
that have been received over the last twelve months and add them to the
of Year End Budget Transfers
Paradise advised that this motion is done every year in June.
Approval of Bid/s Budget
distributed prior to the meeting. Mr.
Paradise reviewed the following bid:
No. 03-15 Transportation Parts Supplies
bid is for various supplies for the maintenance of District vehicles for
SY 2002-2003. Quantities on
bid are estimated. Actual
quantities purchased may vary from estimate but will not exceed total
recommended for award.
bid will be presented for approval at the June 11, 2002, Public Meeting.
Items for Information
No items were presented
Dr. Bowman stated that he
would address the Board at the public meeting.
Butville reported that at the last meeting graduation project
presentations were given which were very interesting and excellently done.
Eccles reported that he felt much had been accomplished in the last few
weeks and at this time the committee has some direction to move forward.
Intermediate Unit Board
Board Policies Committee
Butville advised that there was no Board Policies report; however, the
deadline for the district to submit items for the PSBA Legislative
Platform is in July. If any
Board member has any suggestions, changes, or additions please advise.
Technical School Board
Dengler reported that the Technical School Budget passed.
Ad Hoc Committee/High
School Course Offering
Spitz reported that the Administration provided excellent information
regarding teachers at the high school and class loading.
Mr. Schoenstadt inquired how the search was coming for the
Assistant Principal at the High
Mr. Jones replied that at present there were 35-40 candidates.
The job posting will be
completed on Friday, June l4, 2002.
Mrs. Butville inquired whether
anyone was interested in attending the Summer Workshops.
Dr. Spitz inquired regarding
Graduation ceremonies. Dr.
Bowman advised that the cap and gowns are coming in and the night of
graduation the Board will meet in Mr. Collins’ office at 6:30 p.m. and
begin around 7:l5 p.m. Mr.
Paradise advised that the graduation would be televised.
responded to Dr. Spitz regarding the check to Penndel Lanes and
informed that check covers the entire season.
Agenda Development for June 11, 2002
Other Board Business
Ms. Drioli advised that a
student came into Lower Southampton Township and was working on a senior
project wherein he needed to obtain building permits and zoning
requirements, and he later returned to the Township to thank Ms. Drioli
for her assistance.
Butville moved the meeting be adjourned and Mr. Dengler seconded the
motion. The Board approved the motion with eight ayes.
Mr. Schoenstadt adjourned the meeting at 9:35 p.m.