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February 25, 2003

The Neshaminy Board of School Directors met in public session on February 25, 2003, in the Auditorium of the 
Neshaminy Middle School. The following persons were in attendance:



Mrs. June R. Bostwick, President

Mr. P. Howard Wilson

Mrs. Kimberly A. Jowett, Vice-President
Mr. Yvonne V.  Butville
Ms. Carol A. Drioli

Dr. Raymond J. Boccuti
Mr. Harry P. Jones
Mr. Richard S. Marotto

Mr. Richard M. Eccles

Mr. Joseph V. Paradise

Mr. Steven E. Schoenstadt

Mr. Bruce M. Wyatt

Mr. Michael A. Soifer
Dr. William H. Spitz

Mr. Edward T. Stack

OTHERS:  Approximately 60 persons from the public, staff and press

SECRETARY:  Mrs. Anita E. Walls


Call to Order

Mrs. Bostwick called the meeting to order at 8:05 p.m.

Pledge of Allegiance

Mrs. Bostwick requested those in attendance join in the salute to the flag.  


No Announcements.

Student Representative Report

No report.

Public Comment

Ms. Jaclyn Reinhardt, former special education student who attended Neshaminy School District and graduated in 2000, spoke regarding special education reform.  Ms. Reinhardt read an article in the Courier Times dated January 6, regarding the PSSA tests which showed that only 13% of the students scored proficiently or better in reading and only 6% did the same in math.  Ms. Reinhardt advised that she is experiencing that problem in school right now.  Ms. Reinhardt is in college trying to make up what she should have learned in high school.  Ms. Reinhardt thought that in America you should have an equal opportunity education, however she feels she is not receiving the same education if she is unable to read and write at the same level as a normal high school student.  Ms. Reinhardt questioned whether there was going to be any change in the curriculum for special education students.

Mr. Robert Tull, Levittown, PA, addressed the Board regarding leadership.  Mr. Tull stated that the community, parents and students at this particular time in our economy are dying and calling out for leadership.  Mr. Tull advised that at Samuel Everitt Elementary School that has been experienced, and a young principal has come on board, has turned the school around regarding parent activities, participation of staff, participation of students, and most importantly, the participation of each and every individual parent from our HUD housing in the district to the upper neighborhoods.  Mr. Tull wished to state for the record that it is imperative that our Board reward leadership of this nature and allow these people to continue their jobs moving forward.  Mr. Tull believes that the benefits that everyone derives from that as a school and as a neighborhood carries the parents to further involvement in their homes with the student’s grades and educational process.

Mr. Howard Lindner, Langhorne, PA, reminded everyone that the feelings in the public and community are that there is concern with the building of a new high school, but mainly they would like a binding referendum.  Mr. Lindner has received many phone calls from people who attended the informational meetings stating that why are the areas of the high school which have been rebuilt, i.e. cafeteria, auditorium not being shown.  Mr. Lindner stated:  “Caution, watch your school board.”

Mr. Alden Thorpe, Levittown, PA, stated that he attended the informational meeting.  Mr. Thorpe stated that he has been speaking with people in his neighborhood, Lower 7, and they are asking whether more tax can be gotten from the area.  Mr. Thorpe advised them that there are no more areas to obtain taxes, and the building in the area is finished.  Mr. Thorpe advised if businesses were taxed higher, the businesses would move out and more tax revenue would be lost.  Mr. Thorpe stated that the public is going to have to pay the bill, since there is no one else to pay the bill.  Mr. Thorpe advised that his understanding was that when student enrollment declined, the rooms would be expanded.  Mr. Thorpe noted that the film depicted leaking roofs and bathroom stall doors that had been removed.  Mr. Thorpe commented that the stall doors were removed in the 1985 when smoking was prohibited in bathrooms.  Mr. Thorpe noted that the Solicitor was looking into the possibility of a referendum under a different approach.  Mr. Thorpe requested if that could be looked into further.

Mr. Kevin Yeingst, Feasterville, PA stated the following: “I am here representing Ferderbar Elementary School.  I would like to show my support for tearing down the present Neshaminy High School and rebuild it, which would enable 9th graders to be in with their high school peers.  The opposition wants to remodel the high school.  I feel that the financial difference it not worth it.  Eventually it will need to be repaired again.  The classes are far away from each other causing students to run from one side of the school to the other.  Can you imagine how difficult remodeling will be for them?  It will increase the travel time and cause them to be late for class.  Not to mention the health issues related to remodeling.  Why should our children be subjected to fumes, dust and also the dangers of remodeling?  Won’t the noise of hammers banging, tearing down walls and the building of air ducts interfere with the learning process?  Who can concentrate when you have workmen talking to each other and the noise of the tools?

Another reason the opposition gives is that they feel the students don’t need air conditioning.  It’s a waste of money.  They stated that when they went to school, they didn’t have air  conditioning and they handled it.  Well, back then, homes rarely had air conditioning so it wasn’t a big transition from a hot house to a hot school.  Nowadays, it’s rare for homes NOT to have air conditioning.  So this is putting stress on the children, affecting their ability to concentrate.

One more point from the opposition is that they don’t want their alma mater torn down.  It holds great memories for them.  Memories aren’t tangible.  They will always be in our heads and NO ONE can take that away from us.  I would like to make a suggestion.  Why not have a fundraiser – buy a memory brick.  Everyone can purchase one and have it engraved with a special expression.  When students, faculty and visitors come to the school, they will see how much the alumni care!  However, the sale can be open to the public.  Any money made can be put toward the construction costs.

Neshaminy School district holds a high standard of education, shouldn’t the learning facility be held to the same high standard?

Thank you for your time and consideration.”

Ms. Darlene Hauss, has a student in Poquessing Middle School, and visited the school after her daughter advised her that the classrooms were leaking and smelled.  Ms. Hauss presented the Board with pictures of the 6th grade social studies and science classrooms.  Ms. Hauss is aware of the unfortunate weather, however, this is uncalled for.  Ms. Hauss stated that things need to happen at Poquessing, since it is not safe for the students to be in this type of environment.  Airing of the classrooms was still taking place at 7:00 p.m. and science projects had been destroyed from the leaks.  Ms. Hauss stated that Poquessing should be considered to be refurbished in the upcoming bond issue, since the students should not be exposed to this type of environment.

Julie Geddes and Kailie Nagel, are 5th grade students at Ferderbar Elementary School.  The students stated that they hope the Board chooses to build a new high school.  Julie stated that she has really bad allergies and asthma and if the high school is renovated her allergies and asthma will both be bad at school.  If a new high school were built they would be better. Julie and Kailie stated, “Please build a new high school so we can go there with our friends.” 

Mr. Tom Gallagher stated that the community up-date mailers have not reached his area, however, his tax bills always seems to arrive.  The information regarding the informational sessions did not reach his neighborhood.  Mr. Gallagher stated that he is aware when the meetings will occur, however, his neighbors have not received them.  Mr. Gallagher quoted Dr. Spitz “That this is a good time to do this, because registration is down and tax rates are down.”  Mr. Gallagher noted that the economy is down as well.  Mr. Gallagher advised that people are being laid off and businesses are closing, salary freezes are in effect.  Mr. Gallagher noted that the Board was forced by Harrisburg to have a large increase in taxes last year to make up the pension plan deficit, which is likely to occur again this year.  Mr. Gallagher stated that to add on the cost of a bond issue would be ridiculous to the senior citizens and people on a fixed income.  Just because interest rates are down does not mean that it is a great time. 

Mrs. Rita Geddes, Lower Southampton Township, stated that the new sections of Neshaminy High School have leaking roofs, the same as the rest of the building.  Mrs. Geddes was aware of a computer being lost at the high school due to a leaking roof in the computer lab.  Mrs. Geddes wanted to know if anyone has addressed “If we choose to do the basic renovations, just fix the infrastructure of what needs to be done, which is roughly $40M and will take approximately 7 years to complete, when that is complete, parts of the building are 25-30 years old, how much will it cost to renovate those parts at that point?”  How much more money will be spent on a building that cannot house the educational programs that this district offers to its students?  The insurance costs – old versus new.  Mrs. Geddes can only assume that insurance costs would be less with a new facility with fewer risks.  Mrs. Geddes participated in the Enrollment Study Committee and noted that the population and enrollment will be steady by the time the new facility would be completed.  Mrs. Geddes further noted that the tax increase would not be in effect next year based on the information received at the Steering Committee meetings.  It would be two years before there would be any tax increase and four years before the tax increase would be fully implemented.

Mrs. Bostwick recessed the meeting at 8:30 p.m.

Mrs. Bostwick reconvened the meeting at 8:45 p.m.

Superintendent’s Report

Mr. Wilson received a letter stating that the Business Department under the leadership of Mr. Paradise and Mrs. Anne Donovan received the GFOA award for distinguished budget presentations.  Mr. Wilson noted that this award has been received by the Business Department for many years.  Mr. Wilson thanked Mr. Paradise and Mrs. Donovan for working diligently.

Approval of Minutes Upon motion of Mr. Schoenstadt and seconded by Mr. Soifer, the Board unanimously approved the minutes of the January 28, 2003 Public Meeting.

Approval of Treasurer’s Report, Bills for Payment, Investments, and Exonerations of Personal and Per Capita TaxMr. Paradise presented the following for approval:

January 31, 2003 Treasurer’s Report, subject to audit
Bills for payment Check Register- January 2003
Two Escrow Funds and Four Investment Funds
Two New Investments
Budget Transfer Report 03-4
Personal and per capita tax exonerations for January 2003 totaling 45 exonerations

Mrs. Butville inquired how much salt the district had remaining for this year.  Mr. Paradise noted that the weather has put a strain on the district in terms of hourly overtime, materials, and vehicle maintenance.  The district has budgeted for the worst case scenario, and is still within the budget; however, it has put a strain on the district in comparison to previous years.

Dr. Spitz moved the January 31, 2003 Treasurer’s Report be approved, subject to audit, the January, 2003 bills for payment, Budget Transfer Report 03-4, and personal and per capita tax exonerations be approved.  Mr. Soifer seconded the motion.

The Board unanimously approved the Treasurer’s Report, subject to audit, bills for payment, two new investments, Budget Transfer Report 03-4 and exonerations of personal and per capita tax. 

Bids Mr. Paradise presented the following bids for approval:

Bid No. 03-28 Bituminous Concrete Paving, Resurfacing and Repair

Bid Amount:  $98,773.70

The bid is for paving repairs at Maple Point Middle School.

Bid No. 04-01 General School Supplies

Bid Amount:  $170,333.8l

The bid is for various classroom and office supplies for use throughout the district for the school year 2003-2004.

The Board unanimously approved the two bids. 

Certified and Support Personnel ActionsMr. Wilson presented the following for approval:

Elections – Certified Personnel

Addendum – Certified Personnel

Resignations and Leaves of Absence – Certified Personnel

Elections and Changes of Classification – Support Personnel

Addendum – Support Personnel

Resignations and Leaves of Absence – Support Personnel

Addendum – Resignations and Leaves of Absence – Support Personnel

Mr. Wilson noted that the district is very happy, however sad, that Dr. Broadus Davis, Principal at Carl Sandburg, has been named Superintendent of Bristol Borough School District.  Mr. Wilson noted that Dr. Davis did a fabulous job for the district.  Dr. Davis knew every student in the school and he was liked by the faculty.  Mr. Wilson personally wished Dr. Davis the very best.  Mr. Wilson noted that a long term per diem Principal is already in place at Carl Sandburg since Dr. Davis was on sabbatical.

Mr. Wilson further extended his condolences to all of the Neshaminy Middle family, and particularly, the family of Mr. William Whitehead, who recently passed away.

Mr. Wilson recommended the approval of the personnel report for certified and support personnel and addendums as presented.

Mr. Soifer moved the personnel actions and addendums be approved.  Mr. Schoenstadt seconded the motion.  The Board unanimously approved the personnel actions and addendums.

Motion:  Revision/Adoption of Policies 102,  120,  505,  50l and 129

Mr. Soifer presented the following motion:

                WHEREAS, in order to keep District Board Policies updated and current, new polices and revisions are recommended by the administration to the Board Policies Committee for review; and             

                WHEREAS, after review by the Board Policies Committee the District is ready to recommend:

                                Revised Policy 102 – Election of Administrative Personnel

                                Revised Policy 120 – Employee Records

                                Revised Policy 505 – Student Discipline

                                Revised Policy 501 – School Entrance Age, and

                                Revised Policy 129 – Public Records; and

                WHEREAS, adoption and approval of these policies will meet requirements defined in the Commonwealth’s “Right to Know” Law and Pennsylvania Public School Code.

                NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that said Policies be revised and approved by the Neshaminy Board of School Directors.             

Mrs. Jowett seconded the motion. 

Dr. Spitz noted that he received a letter from a parent regarding the school entrance age policy and delaying same for one year and Dr. Spitz inquired whether the Administration had an opinion regarding same.  Mr. Wilson noted that it is being delayed for one year allowing parents sufficient time for changes.  Kindergarten registration will be in March for September 2003.

Mrs. Butville noted that this parent is requesting delay until the Fall of 2005.  Mr. Soifer noted that moving the age is not an iron clad, cast in stone situation.  There are still areas for review and situations which exceptions will be made.

Mr. Marotto noted that exceptions will still be made in certain cases where an approved kindergarten outside of Neshaminy is attended and is successfully completed, and then application can be made to come into Neshaminy’s program.

The Board unanimously approved the motion.

Motion:  Acceptance of Donated Vehicles

Dr. William Spitz presented the following motion:

                WHEREAS, the Neshaminy School District is continually searching for ways in which to lower our costs, and              

                WHEREAS, the District needs to continually update aging vehicles for security and facility needs, and

               WHEREAS, Government Acquisitions, Inc. was formed to donate to governmental entities vehicles needed to protect and serve the community without having to obtain funding or raise taxes, and

                WHEREAS, this program will allow an appropriate sponsor (no alcohol, tobacco, firearms, gaming, or other inappropriate sponsors) to advertise on these vehicles in exchange for their purchase.

               NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Neshaminy Board of School Directors authorizes the Business Administrator to execute such an agreement upon review and approval of the School District solicitor.            

Mr. Stack seconded the motion.

Mrs. Butville noted that at the Work Session it was discussed that the Advertising Policy may need revisions, hence, it was reviewed and the district will be able to go forward with the current policy.

Mr. Eccles read the following prepared statement:

“I would like to take a moment to praise and congratulate Mr. Joe Paradise and Mr. Bud Hoss for the hard work they have done on this project.  For over four years, I have had a vision that we could earn money for Neshaminy School District by selling advertisements on our maintenance vehicles.  When I was Chairperson of the Finance Committee, we would always think of ideas to increase revenue through advertising.

Nothing happened to about one year ago when I was reading a trade paper called Automotive News.  An article described a company that would give local, state and federal law enforcement agencies a vehicle for $1.00 per year in exchange for their advertisement on it.  The article specifically stated law enforcement, emergency and government vehicles.  I though that we might fit in under the government vehicle category.  This matched the idea I had years ago, advertising on vehicles. 

I forwarded the information to Mr. Joe Paradise and asked him to contact the company and find out if we would qualify.  I praise Mr. Paradise, for I would constantly call him and asked what the status was or would it help if I personally called.  Mr. Paradise would assure me that everything was okay and he had asked Mr. Bud Hoss to apply and follow up.

Through the efforts of Mr. Joe Paradise and the hard work of Mr. Bud Hoss, the idea resulted in Neshaminy School District receiving four vehicles, two for maintenance and two for security.  The total cost to the district and taxpayers is just $4.00.  That is $l.00 per year on each vehicle.  I hope the district and taxpayers realize what these fine men have accomplished.  A savings to the district of well over $110,000 conservatively.  Congratulations and let’s continue to think outside the box and maybe we can all contribute to helping this district and the taxpayers with cost-saving ideas that do not affect our children or our educational responsibilities.

However, there is one other item that needs to be addressed.  I had asked the present Board President to allow me the opportunity to present and read the motion in reference to these four vehicles.  Due to a total disregard and continued hostilities towards me, I was denied my request to read this motion.  When will the continued retribution against me cease?  This is the same blatant retaliatory behavior that was taken when I spoke out against the Food Service Director position.  Then I was removed as Chairperson of the Finance Committee.  Is this behavior towards me due to jealousy or is it my present position for a referendum on the high school issue?  Either way, I will continue to represent my community no matter what actions this Board takes to silence me. “

Mrs. Butville noted that it was instituted by the Superintendent or Board President when they took office that each Board member would be listed alphabetically and assigned to the next motion.  A board member may request not to read a particular motion once assigned.  Mrs. Butville felt it is an extremely fair way of reading the motions.

Ms. Drioli stated that she felt Mr. Eccles’ comments are totally and completely unfounded.  Ms. Drioli noted that she serves on the board to serve the community and the children.  Ms. Drioli commented that if Mr. Eccles feels that the board has stifled him and does not give him due credit, Ms. Drioli feels very bad, because she felt that he was working for the benefit of the students.

Dr. Spitz provided the following statement:

“It is apparent that Mr. Eccles is extremely upset about his not being selected to read the resolution regarding donated vehicles.  I must say that until now, never in my ten years of attending board meetings, have I ever heard any board member or member of the public, complain about something as trivial as who gets to read a resolution.  Of course it makes absolutely no difference who reads such things.  The only thing that matters is whether a majority of the board votes for it or against it.  Since I have been on the board many resolutions have been read and voted on.  Never has it occurred to me to complain or even to inquire about who was selected to read these resolutions.  My understanding is that our Superintendent or President picks different board members, either randomly or alphabetically, I am not sure which, to do these readings.  However, it now occurs to me that I personally have never been selected to read any resolution until tonight.  This is my first one.  It was an honor.  But according to minutes from past meetings that I reviewed it appears that Mr. Eccles himself has already read three resolutions during my term on the board, while I have read none.  So it would seem that my turn was overdue.  So now the score is three for you, Rick, one for me.  Just not fair.  But I promise I won’t throw a temper tantrum.”

The Board unanimously approved the motion.  

Mr. Wilson commended the Art Teachers at Neshaminy Middle School, Carol Rinker and Kate Stockton, for the lovely art displays in the building which are 9th grade portraits reflecting various art mediums.

Federal Programs

Mr. Wilson advised that Dr. Costanzo obtained a $10,000 grant from Sea World for Lower Southampton Elementary School.  Mr. Wilson thanked Dr. Costanzo and the teachers at Lower Southampton Elementary for a job well done.

Other Board Business

Mr. Stack inquired whether Mr. Wilson had additional information with respect to referendums.  Mr. Wilson stated that the one option the board has regarding a referendum is that of electoral debt.  The board can put a question out for referendum on electoral debt that would say, for example, “The Board is requesting $100M for a new Neshaminy High School.”  A vote would take place and would be binding for 155 days.  If the public turns it down, for 155 days the board cannot spend any money on that project.  Mr. Wilson stated that the board can spend money on other projects, and the board can borrow money for other projects.  Mr. Wilson noted that the original rumor regarding a referendum was not accurate.  The only monies a binding referendum would affect is the question on the ballot.  If the board then wanted to take a $l3M bond out for Poquessing, they could choose to do that, however, they could not do anything that relates to the question of $l00M for the high school if it is rejected.  Mr. Wilson stated that the board could then put it on the ballot after another 155 day period, of course, it would not happen every 155 days because it would occur at an election time. 

Mr. Stack noted that is the additional information that the board was seeking and the board has heard from the County, an opinion has been received by the Solicitor, and Mr. Stack stated the following:

“I do not support a referendum on the high school.  A nonbinding referendum is illegal, and a referendum for electoral debt does not adequately address the net tax effect on the community.  In moving the 9th grade to the high school it is estimated that we will need less then 5-6 staff members and that we will need but one athletic co-curriculum program instead of four.  More importantly, in closing a middle school, it is estimated that we will save $l.5M in annual operating expenses and another $750,000 to $lM in lease fees.  In addition, we would defer the bulk of $20M-$25M in necessary renovations if it were decided to close Neshaminy Middle School, for example.  When added all up, along with state reimbursement at the high school, we would cover most of the debt that the high school project will incur.  I repeat, we will cover most of the debt that the high school project will incur.  This is not to suggest that we will be able to avoid some tax increases since there will be differences in the timing in recouping these costs, but in a whole, a new high school facility is simply a smart investment that will stop the practice of throwing good money after bad.  I do not need a referendum to convince me otherwise.”

Mr. Stack invited other board comment and presented the following motion:

“That by a consensus of the Board of School Directors we agree not to put the high school construction project up for referendum, and that the Board desist from further discussion of referendum of any form.”

Mr. Schoenstadt seconded the motion.

Mr. Soifer responded that he personally will not vote for the motion since it was not on the agenda, it was not discussed prior, and a full discussion needs to take place at a Work Session.

Mr. Stack noted that the question of referendum has been a continual discussion at the past several Work Sessions, and it is not a new question to the community or the board.  Mr. Soifer noted that this is the first time the Board received an answer from the Superintendent that changed the parameters.  Mr. Soifer commented that three different projects could occur at one time and only one needed to be a referendum and the others could still continue.  Mr. Soifer noted that the information presented this evening reveals that each project stands and falls on its own merits and they would not be inter-related.

Dr. Spitz questioned Mr. Wilson regarding the information on electoral debt and whether that opinion was received from legal counsel.  Mr. Wilson stated that it is only specific to the project and the opinion was obtained from legal counsel. 

Mr. Schoenstadt commented that the board is elected in order to make the hard decisions in the community.  The board has access to information, no matter how hard the board tries to communicate all that information to the community, there will never be enough access to the information on the part of the voters, and that is why school board members are elected to sit, digest the information and make the hard decisions.  Mr. Schoenstadt stated that he is not in favor of a referendum, but he will not vote for a motion to make the decision tonight, in light of the new information, only because it deserves an open hearing at a Work Session where it can be discussed and debated. 

Mr. Eccles noted that he is in favor of a referendum and his position has been very clear over the past few months.  Mr. Eccles commented that he is also very concerned about the condition of the schools, and realizes that something needs to be done.  Mr. Eccles noted that the board are elected officials, however, he does not think that there is any greater decisions that can be made in this district and community then a bond issue for $80M, $l00M, or $120M.  Mr. Eccles stated that there are so many various backgrounds and socio-economic conditions that exist within the district.  Mr. Eccles noted that his community has told him repeatedly that a referendum is needed, and as an elected official he needs to represent his community, and for that reason he will continue his quest for a referendum on this issue.

Mrs. Bostwick recommended that this be moved to the Work Session for further discussion.  Dr. Spitz made a motion to table Mr. Stack’s motion.  Ms. Drioli seconded the motion.

Ms. Drioli noted that the feedback that she is receiving from her community is to build a new high school.  The community is worried about the value of their properties, the quality of education, the fuel that is being wasted, the conditions of the environment and the air quality in the high school.

Mrs. Butville stated that she is not opposed to a referendum, but the idea of the referendum is to get public input to let the board know what the public wants, however, the public cannot make an informed decision without the information.  Mrs. Butville strongly recommended that the informational meetings take place so that this information can get out to the public.  Seventeen informational meetings have been scheduled.  The district is willing to get the information to the public.  Tours of the high school are available.  Mrs. Butville commented that the public needs to know the information in order to make an informed decision, and then let the Board know.

Upon motion of Dr. Spitz and seconded by Ms. Drioli, the Board of School Directors voted to table the motion of Mr. Stack by a vote of eight ayes and one nay (Mr. Stack).

Other Board Business

Ms. Drioli stated that Lower Southampton would like to have Mrs. Rita Geddes serve on the authority.

Dr. Spitz noted that information was received from Mr. Paradise on additional financing options for the high school project.  Dr. Spitz felt that it was important for board members and the public to understand what a new building would cost, and what the net impact would be.  Dr. Spitz noted that he thought it was important to move quickly to digest the options that are available and zero in on the most favorable ones.  Dr. Spitz requested Mr. Soifer, the Finance Committee chair, set up a Finance Committee meeting as soon as possible to begin to look over the options. 

Mr. Soifer responded that he would schedule a meeting quickly, and hopefully, it would be done before the Work Session.


The Board Secretary advised that there was no correspondence. 

Mrs. Bostwick announced that the Work Session scheduled for March 11, 2003 would take place at the Board Room at Maple Point Middle School, and the Public Meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 25, 2003 would take place in G9A of the high school at 8:00 p.m.

Public Comment

Mr. Howard Lindner thanked Mr. Eccles for being the voice of the people, and the board should have respected his request because he was the innovator.  Mr. Lindner noted that the public does not know the battles that go on behind the scenes, and even in Republican parties, and a lot is shown this evening.  Mr. Lindner noted that he does not feel that many people will attend the informational meetings.  Mr. Lindner stated that Ms. Drioli feels Lower Southampton is for a new high school, however, three parents commented to him that they are against a new high school.  Mr. Lindner noted that Mrs. Butville is not listening to the community because all the committee people for her party have knocked on doors and have gotten the feeling of the community, and because she has not listened she was not endorsed for this forthcoming election, because she is not listening to the people of the community.  Mr. Lindner requested the board not be vindictive.  Mr. Eccles has done more as a school board member in a short time.  Mr. Lindner noted that he helped some board members get on the board.  Mr. Lindner noted that people do listen and the Board will pay the price for not listening.

Mrs. Rita Geddes noted that she has been attending school board meetings for several years and for the past several months she has listened to the issue of referendum being debated.  Mrs. Geddes is very pleased to hear that hopefully next month the issue will come to a close one way or the other.  Mrs. Geddes is very tired of seeing politics being put ahead of student’s needs.  The issue of a referendum has turned into a political fight between factions of one or more parties and it is not a topic of whether or not we are doing what is best for the community and students.  Mrs. Geddes feels that as a member of the Steering Committee she spent more then twenty hours listening to information about the needs of the community and needs of the district and the needs of the students regarding programs.  Mrs. Geddes does not feel that she would have been qualified to vote on a referendum without having that information.  Mrs. Geddes noted that the average taxpayer does not know what the state mandates are for education, what the federal mandates are for education and the services that need to be provided to the students.  How does the current building support that, and how does the current building not support that?  How would a new building support same?  Mrs. Geddes stated that is why officials are elected to lead.  Mrs. Geddes encouraged the board to lead, let the people know, please put the issue of referendum behind, whether it is for or against it, and please stop being so political and let’s work for the good of the community, the good of the school, the good of the students.  What about the children?

Mrs. Christina Zettlemoyer, has children at Poquessing and Lower Southampton Elementary School who last year attended Tawanka.  Mrs. Zettlemoyer suggested that a referendum for a new high school is the only issue, why not a referendum for also the renovations?  The renovations cost more and are only a band aid to fix.  All of the options listed in the handouts will affect the community’s taxes.  Why put only the one issue on a referendum, and that is not even the most expensive issue or option that is on the table.  Mrs. Zettlemoyer noted that it is becoming confusing and her feelings are that if one option is placed for referendum, all options should be placed for referendum or skip it entirely.

Mr. Alden Thorpe is concerned about the community and students.  He would like to make an impact and difference.  Mr. Thorpe stated as a taxpayer looking at the condition of the schools that the school board has not done a good job for a good many years.  Mr. Thorpe noted that most of the windows in the building are original and the Board should not think that they would not leak at this point.  Mr. Thorpe wished that the Board would stop attacking the school as if it had nothing to do with them.  The Board is responsible for the condition of the high school.  The Board is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the building.  Buildings in Philadelphia are in better condition, with new windows, new stairs, etc.

Mrs. Judy Beck wished to let the community know that she has been coming to school board meetings for the last couple years.  Mrs. Beck has been listening to all the comments throughout the last three years and she has earned respect for each and every board member.  Mrs. Beck noted that each person on the board has an opinion; everyone reads their e-mails since a difference was made saving Neshaminy Middle School three years ago.  The Board listened to what the public had to say.  Mrs. Beck is certain that the Board will listen again.  However, Mrs. Beck is worried about a referendum, since people are not attending the informational meetings.  Mrs. Beck urged the community to attend the meetings, since if a referendum occurs; the people need to be informed.  Mrs. Beck noted that this public meeting should be packed.  Mrs. Beck stated that people have said they cannot afford the taxes.  Her husband’s business is not doing well, however, Mrs. Beck still says the children need to be supported.

Mrs. Helen Kostar stated that the referendum is not political.  The referendum is all about the taxpayers having the right to ask whether or not they can afford to have this done right now.  Many seniors and unemployed individuals and many other concerned citizens are asking whether this is the right time to build a new high school.  Mrs. Kostar stated that many people understand that a new high school is necessary, but because of the state of the economy they are concerned whether they can afford same.  Mrs. Kostar stated that is why people are requesting a referendum.  This is not a political issue.  Mrs. Kostar stated that she is a democrat, but it does not matter to her.  Mrs. Kostar stated she is present because she is concerned for the welfare of the children of this school district.  Mrs. Kostar does not care what your political affiliation is.  Mrs. Kostar at the last meeting asked for Mr. Fleck to be removed as Solicitor, and what she was going to ask for tonight is that not only school board members, but administrators of this school district remove themselves from political boards, as well as any political association.  Mrs. Kostar stated remove politics from the school board.  Mrs. Kostar urged the Board to concentrate on the children and the education.  That is important.

Mr. Paul Schneider, Langhorne, PA stated that one of the arguments that seems to exist against a referendum is that the board was elected to represent the people.  Mr. Schneider reminded that two of the nine board members were not elected by the people, but were selected by fellow board members.  Mr. Schneider noted that he is an independent and believes that people should have their say.  Mr. Schneider stated that three years ago people were polled on whether students should wear school uniforms.  The public has not had a chance to have their say as a group, unless they attend a meeting.  Mr. Schneider stated that this may absolutely be a great thing for the district, but Mr. Schneider requested all the facts.  What will the impact on taxes be now, and thirty years from now?  Let the public be part of the decision and the entire community can feel comfortable with the decision. 

Board Comment

Ms. Drioli stated that the people from Middletown are the people calling for the referendum.  Ms. Drioli asked how the people from Middletown allowed the new municipal building to be built, without a referendum.  Ms. Drioli further advised that the County is planning on building a new courthouse, and Ms. Drioli urged the residents of Middletown to ask those legislatures to put a referendum on for that new building.  Ms. Drioli does not want to be held to a standard that does not apply to other elected officials.  Ms. Drioli stated that if the residents are so inclined for referendums on bond issues, then the same standards should be held for all construction projects. 

Mr. Schoenstadt stated that the most appropriate statement this evening was “what about the kids.”  Everyone is worried about the politics, everyone is worried about their own self interests, and not looking at what the ultimate goal and objectives are of this school district.  Mr. Schoenstadt stated that it is not to enhance the political environment in any community, and it is not intended to enhance anything but the quality of education provided to the children.  Mr. Schoenstadt noted that the mandate under state law is to provide the best possible education within the means of the community to afford it.  Right now this district is spending less then 50% of the money for the capital programs of any district in southeastern Pennsylvania.  Mr. Schoenstadt stated that the band aids that have been put on in this school district over the past 15 years were inadequate, grossly inadequate.  This board has taken upon itself the responsibility to provide the best possible education within the ability of this community to afford it.  Mr. Schoenstadt stated that the fact is we have a lot of ground to catch up.  Mr. Schoenstadt urged everyone not to disregard the purpose, it is about the kids.

Mr. Eccles stated that he is not a politician and he never claimed to be.  Mr. Eccles stated that this issue is not whether you are a Republican, Democrat, or Independent.  It makes no difference.  This has to do with the people.  Please let the folks make the decision.


Dr. Spitz moved the meeting be adjourned and Mr. Soifer seconded the motion.  The Board unanimously approved the motion.  Mrs. Bostwick adjourned the meeting at 9:45 p.m.

 Respectively submitted,

Anita E. Walls
Board Secretary


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