PUBLIC BOARD MEETING MINUTES (PUBLIC MEETING)
NESHAMINY BOARD OF SCHOOL DIRECTORS
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
Approximately 60 persons from the public, staff and press
SECRETARY: Mrs. Anita E. Walls
Mrs. Bostwick called the meeting to order at 8:05 p.m.
Mrs. Bostwick requested those in attendance join in the
salute to the flag.
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
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
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
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.
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
Upon motion of Mr. Schoenstadt and seconded by Mr. Soifer, the Board
unanimously approved the minutes of the January 28, 2003 Public Meeting.
of Treasurer’s Report, Bills for Payment, Investments, and Exonerations
of Personal and Per Capita Tax
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
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 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
Bid No. 03-28 Bituminous Concrete Paving, Resurfacing and
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.
and Support Personnel Actions – Mr. 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
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.
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
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
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.
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
WHEREAS, the District
needs to continually update aging vehicles for security and facility
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
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
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.
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
“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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
Anita E. Walls