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The 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:



Mr. Steven Schoenstadt, President

Dr. Gary Bowman

Mrs. June Bostwick, Vice President

Mr. P. Howard Wilson

Mrs. Yvonne Butville
Mr. Harry Dengler, Jr.

Dr. Raymond Boccuti
Mr. Richard Marotto

Ms. Carol Drioli

Mr. Joseph Paradise

Mr. Richard Eccles

Mr. Harry P. Jones

Mrs. Kimberly Jowett
George Mecleary, Jr., Esq.

Mr. Bruce Wyatt 

Dr. William Spitz

OTHERS:  Approximately seventy-five persons from the public, staff and press

SECRETARY:  Mrs. Anita Walls



SOLICITOR:  Kristina S. Wiercinski, Esquire

1.   Call to Order

      Mr. Schoenstadt called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m.

2.   Flag Salute

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

Mr. 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 district.  

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 district rules. 

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. 

Mr.  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.

3.   Announcement

No announcements.

4.   Public Comment

       Mr. Schoenstadt advised that there would be a time limit of two minutes per speaker on items, which are on the agenda. 

Mr. 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 Board�s 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 school. 

Mr. 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. 

Mr. 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.

Mr. 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 that opportunity.  

Ms. 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.   

Mr. 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.

Mr. 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. 

Mr. 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.

Mr. 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 stated:

                “Per Matthew N. Wright, public school costs are rising faster, annually,

                than any other major function of government.  The property tax for school

                funding is unfair to seniors and people who have no children and those

                who have not had children in school for a long time.  The property tax

                could be fair if a reassessment was undertaken periodically, but this would

                be very, very expensive.  No school tax method will satisfy everyone, but

                pending state legislation, Senate Bill 1373, would establish a fair and

                predictable funding formula for public education.  It will shift the burden

                of raising tax revenues from the property tax to the personal income tax.

                In the meantime the very first priority must be for our school district to

                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”

Mr. 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 field. 

Mrs. 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 low tax. 


Mr. 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!

Mr. 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.

Mrs. 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.

Mr. 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 the students.

Mr. 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. 

Mr. 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 Pennsylvania law. 

·         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.

Ms. 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.

Mr. 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. 

Mrs. 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 taxpayers. 

Mr. 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.

Dr. 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.

5.       Items for Approval

Adoption 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 meeting.

Mr. Paradise noted the following reductions:

·         Equipment purchases

·         Salary/Overtime

·         Security costs

·         Disposal costs

·         Travel and supply costs

·         Equipment purchases/maintenance, facilities, and transportation

·         Per pupil allocation was reduced by 5% (returns to current year level)

(Third year at that level)

·         Eliminated the replacement of elementary computer labs

·         Specific Staffing Changes

·        Eliminate l High School Secretary

·        Eliminate 2 FT Secondary School Teaching positions

·        Eliminate 5 FT Elementary School Teaching positions

·        Eliminate 2 PT ESL Support Staff Aides

·        Eliminate l PT High School Special Education Aide

·        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.  

·         Summary Information

·         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

Mr. 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 program. 

Mr. 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 $11,365,000.

Mr. 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 project budget.

Dr. 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. 

Mr. 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.

Mrs. 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 law. 

Mr. 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. 

Mr. 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 anticipated. 

Dr. 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.

Ms. Drioli advised that she has sat on the Board for many years and she cannot remember ever having a fund balance below $3 million. 

Mr. 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. 

Mr. Schoenstadt advised that by leaving the fund balance with only $500,000 the district would jeopardize the bond rating and increase the rate of interest. 

Mr. Wilson advised that if the Board were looking for any further reductions, programs for the students would be affected. 

Mr. 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. 

Mrs. Bostwick noted that instances could arise that take the district by surprise and the fund balance needs to be available, i.e. special education placements. 

Mr. Schoenstadt stated that he would rather see the security of having the fund balance at a                              reasonable level with no impact on the bond ratings or financial ratings if money needs to be borrowed for swing loans, etc. 

Mr. 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 balance.

Mr. 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.  

There was Board consensus for the motion to be prepared.

        Mr. Mecleary left the meeting at 8:40 p.m.

6.        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.

Dr. Costanzo is the district liaison to the Neshaminy Education Foundation.

Mr. 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.

Dr. 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 endowment wall. 

Dr. 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  

middle 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.

7.       Items for Discussion

a.  Additional payment to Board Secretary for Finance/Facilities Committee Meetings

Mr. 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.  

Ms. 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. 

There was Board  consensus to approve the additional payment to the Board Secretary.  Mr. Eccles was not present in the Boardroom.

     b.   Update of Tawanka

Mr. 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.

Mr. 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. 

Mr. Schoenstadt commended Mr. Marotto and the building principals for the execution of this change.  Apparently, it has been a smooth transition and seamless.

c.         Administrative Grade Reconfiguration

A 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,

6-8 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. 

Mr. 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. 

Mr. 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. 

Mrs. 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 grade configuration. 

Mr. 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.

Dr. 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 “house” configuration. 

Dr. Spitz inquired whether there is any way to access what impact the change in configuration 

would 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 be eliminated.

d.     New Investment Program

A 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.

Mr. Paradise inquired whether the Board would be interested in pursuing this program further. 

        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 investment program.

e.        Advanced Payment for Blue Cross

A 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 basis. 

Ms. 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.  . 

Mr. 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.

Ms. 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

from 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. 

Ms. Wiercinski asked that the agenda be amended to include this as an agenda item.  There was Board consensus to amend the agenda. 

Mr. Schoenstadt presented the following motion:

Tax Parcel #22-054-269 owned by James R. & Susan Van Nest would be exonerated from school taxes due for the year 2000. 

The Board unanimously approved the motion.

Items for Approval  (Continued)

a.     Tax and Revenue Anticipation Note Consideration

Mr. 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.

b.       Approval of Budgetary Increases for Federal and Other Programs

Mr. 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 budget.

c.         Approval of Year End Budget Transfers

Mr. Paradise advised that this motion is done every year in June. 

d.       Approval of Bid/s Budget Transfers

Information distributed prior to the meeting.  Mr. Paradise reviewed the following bid:

Bid No. 03-15 Transportation Parts Supplies

Bid Amount:  $110,090.72

The 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. 

The bid will be presented for approval at the June 11, 2002, Public Meeting.

8.       Items for Information

No items were presented

9.       Superintendent’s Report

Dr. Bowman stated that he would address the Board at the public meeting.

10.    Committee Reports

a.        Educational Development/Technology

Mrs. Butville reported that at the last meeting graduation project presentations were given which were very interesting and excellently done.

b.       Education Foundation

No report.

c.        Building Utilization/Finance

Mr. 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.

d.       Intermediate Unit Board

No report.

e.        Board Policies Committee

Mrs. 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.

f.         Technical School Board

Mr. Dengler reported that the Technical School Budget passed.

g.       Ad Hoc Committee/High School Course Offering

Dr. 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

                School.  Mr. Jones replied that at present there were 35-40 candidates.  The job posting will be

                completed on Friday, June l4, 2002. 

11.    Future Topics

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. 

Mr. Paradise  responded to Dr. Spitz regarding the check to Penndel Lanes and informed that check covers the entire season.         

12.    Agenda Development for June 11, 2002

13.    Correspondence

No correspondence.

14.    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.

Mrs. 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.

Respectfully submitted,

Anita E. Walls
Board Secretary


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