PUBLIC BOARD MEETING
MINUTES (PUBLIC MEETING)
NESHAMINY BOARD OF SCHOOL DIRECTORS
March 25, 2003
The Neshaminy Board of School
Directors met in public session on March 25, 2003, at Neshaminy High
School – G9A.
The following persons were in attendance:
Mrs. June R. Bostwick, President
Mr. P. Howard Wilson
Mrs. Kimberly A. Jowett,
Mrs. 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 110 persons from the public, staff and press
Mrs. Anita E. Walls
Ms. Ashley McNult
Prior to the Public Meeting an
Executive Session was held.
School Board Candidates present at the
meeting were Mrs. Sue Barrett, Mrs. Diane E. Cvetkovic, Mr. Jason Bowman,
Mr. Stan Tokarski, and Mr. John Walter, Jr.
Mrs. Bostwick called the meeting to
order at 8:05 p.m. Mrs.
Bostwick called for a moment of silence for the men and women serving our
country during this time of war.
Mrs. Bostwick requested those in
attendance join in the salute to the flag.
Ms. Samantha Magathan and Ms. Ashley
McNulty provided the following report:
Gym Night was successful and the Blue
team had victory
Student Council raised funds during Gym night and one-half of the proceeds
were donated to the American Cancer Society
Interact Club sponsored Daffodil Day and is also raising funds for the
American Cancer Society
Junior Prom was held on March 22, 2003
Sophomores are planning dinner dance
Spring sports are beginning
Junior PSSA testing is April l-3, 2003
Practice AP Exams are beginning this week
Senior Graduation – June 11, 2003
Senior picnic plans are underway with Mr. Rosenblatt and Mr. Kahn
Third marking period closes on Friday, March 28, 2003
Spring Recess – April 14-18, 2003
Basketball teams competed in first round of District I playoffs
Girl’s Indoor Track took four athletes to indoor championships at Penn
Boy’s Indoor Track took seven qualifiers to Penn State
Girl’s swimming had five school and personal records set at District I
Greater Philadelphia Organization
1,000 books collected through the Smart Start Book Drive
Penny Races raised $97.94 and funds are being donated to the National
Walk America will take place shortly
Eye Glasses are being collected through Stephanie Mohn’s graduation
Project and the glasses will be donated to third world countries
Cancellation of class trips is a
concern amongst students due to world events.
FBLA, Technology Student’s
Association, Future Problem Solving and Debate competitions are coming up.
These are important due to the fact that students need to attend in
order to advance to National competitions.
Students have requested that this matter be discussed and if
considerations could be made regarding these trips.
Ms. Drioli provided a brief
presentation to answer questions and concerns regarding the high school
facility. Ms. Drioli stated that the building can be fixed, the sprawl
of the building, except from a security standpoint of seventy-one (7l)
doors, is the best thing we can offer students in the sense of them
receiving exercise and staying physically fit.
Ms. Drioli further stated that as the building currently exits it
presents a hardship on taxpayers. Ms.
Drioli provided the following information:
$8l.00 a year expense to taxpayers for
a new Neshaminy High school, with the next 30-40 years requiring little to
no renovations in the building
$40.00 a year expense to taxpayers to
renovate Neshaminy High School
$20.00 a year expense to taxpayers to
renovate Neshaminy Middle School
Additional costs involved:
loss of energy in old building, loss of revenue by not closing
Neshaminy Middle School, cost of Administration, continuing costs of
Ms. Drioli noted that it would be more
beneficial for taxpayers to have a new high school project than to attempt
to renovate the high school and have the additional upkeep of Neshaminy
Middle School. Ms. Drioli
noted that it would cost taxpayers approximately $l6.00 more a year to
build a new facility.
Mrs. Bostwick announced that public
comment would be limited to two (2) minutes per speaker.
Mrs. Bostwick further announced that public comment would be
limited to 45 minutes, which would give ample time to explore all
Mr. Kevin Knowles, Teacher at
Neshaminy Middle School and Advisor for the Future Problem Solving
Program. Mr. Knowles appealed to Mr. Wilson and the School Board
Members to please reconsider the decision concerning trips. Neshaminy Middle School, Maple Point Middle School and
Neshaminy High School have teams qualified for state competition.
Students have worked diligently to get into this position.
Eleventh grade students have worked since sixth grade and this is
the first year they have qualified. Mr.
Knowles noted the following facts to consider:
Neshaminy High School is the defending
state champion in the Problem Solving competition
None of the other teams in the state
that have qualified have canceled
Decision needs to be made by Friday
Mr. Knowles stated that if a field
trip to Hershey Park, for example, is canceled, he can accept that.
However, these students have worked hard and this type of
competition is incredibly academically difficult.
Lauren Richmond, Josh Pongan, Amanda
Schwemzer, Jill Brainard, Sarah Rogerson, students at Neshaminy High
School and members of the Greater Philadelphia High School Partnership
spoke regarding their partnership meeting with Mastermann High School.
The project the students are working on deals with the prevention
of teen suicide. A health fare is scheduled for April 4, 2003 at
Mastermann High School and the students requested the Administration
reconsider their decision regarding trips.
Mr. Josh Pongan suggested that a
shadow program take place in which community members who oppose the
building of a new high school come to Neshaminy High School and shadow a
student for a day and see what life is like at the high school.
Mr. Wilson commented that the decision
made regarding field trips was not made in isolation.
The decision was made in consultation with the FBI, CIA, and Law
Enforcement Facilities. Mr.
Wilson noted that he is continuing discussions with these organizations
and a meeting is scheduled for Thursday.
Mr. Wilson noted that this decision was made with much reservation;
however, it was done based upon the safety of the children.
Mr. Wilson stated that the FBI has advised no trips to any major
cities. Mr. Wilson stated
that he cannot in clear conscience allow the students to travel where
officials have advised that safety is a concern.
Mr. Wilson noted that the situation is being assessed on a daily
Mrs. Butville suggested that some of
the competitions be postponed. Mr.
Wyatt has been in touch with the field trips scheduled.
Mr. Wilson noted, however, that some competitions are set and are
unable to postpone the event.
Mrs. Rita Geddes, Lower Southampton
Township, commended the Neshaminy School District Administrators for their
efforts in up-dating the Emergency Contingency Plans for all of the
schools within Neshaminy School District.
Mrs. Geddes works for another school district and was recently
advised that in the event of an emergency lock down situation they would
not be able to leave their buildings and be with their families.
Mrs. Geddes approached the principals of Ferderbar and Poquessing
Complex to obtain information. Mrs.
Geddes was impressed with the plans that Neshaminy has developed and
giving attention to small details. Mrs.
Geddes advised that while she was at Ferderbar water was being brought in
to be stored in the area where students would be evacuated to.
In the event of an actual emergency it gives Mrs. Geddes piece of
mind to know that her children would be in good hands and well cared for. Mrs. Geddes thanked Neshaminy officials for making the plans
available on the website and updating them.
Mrs. Sharon Binder, Feasterville, PA,
whose daughter attends Ferderbar Elementary School, supports a new high
school. Mrs. Binder has
listened to the comments and examined the figures and has attempted to
make an educated decision. Mrs.
Binder is a registered nurse and stated that the EPA recommends that no
school have any type of renovations while students are in the building.
The high school renovation plan would take seven years and students
would be in the building under renovation conditions.
Mrs. Binder feels the students should not be exposed to these
conditions. The EPA
recommends that renovations take place during the summer months. Mrs. Binder advised that the asthma rate at Ferderbar
Elementary School is 24% of the population.
The World Health Organization has decided that asthma is developing
in epidemic proportions. Mrs.
Binder advised that new research shows that being exposed to renovation
conditions can actually cause asthma.
Mrs. Binder noted that since costs are so close she does not see
how the district can move forward considering a renovation project when
such great health concerns are known.
Mrs. Janet Spanudis, Feasterville, PA,
Treasurer of Ferderbar Elementary School Home and School feels that her
children are worth $l6.00 a year extra.
Mrs. Spanudis is for a new high school.
Mrs. Kristin Bryson, Feasterville, PA,
Co-chair of the Ferderbar Elementary School Home and School Association.
Mrs. Bryson stated that the school board members were elected to
make a good decision and she is in support of a new high school and hopes
that the school board is also.
Mrs. Donna Sellnow, Penndel, PA, is a
l98l graduate of Neshaminy High School and PTO President at Herbert Hoover
Elementary. Mrs. Sellnow is
in favor of a new high school. Mrs.
Sellnow knows what the conditions were like at Neshaminy when she was a
student. Mrs. Sellnow is
aware of the conditions and a positive, nurturing environment is necessary
for our children to receive a proper education.
Mrs. Sellnow is in support of a new high school.
Mr. Jim Barrett, Feasterville, PA
stated that he feels it is not the right time to make a decision on the
new high school because he feels that it has not been studied carefully
enough. Mr. Barrett noted
that when he toured the school he feels that the board has been derelict
in its duties, because maintenance money has been taken out the budget for
so many years. Mr. Barrett is
concerned that the students are not being treated properly because the
right maintenance is not being put into the facility.
Mr. Barrett feels that there are many other ways to look at what
this school district needs. Mr. Barrett feels that it is a setup- new school or one of
the three cases – propaganda.
Mr. Tim Kane, Feasterville, PA,
resident for over forty years. Mr.
Kane’s parents and in-laws are also residents of the district.
Mr. Kane noted that he is a building contractor for over twenty
years, doing government and commercial contracts.
One of the items, which causes concern, is that the architectural
firm is from out of the region. Mr.
Kane stated that an architectural firm costs anywhere from $90 - $110 hour
plus travel time. Mr. Kane
feels that is inappropriate dollar spending, since numerous architectural
firms are in the area, which are very qualified and capable.
Mr. Kane noted that the roof structure is massive at the high
school, the heating and air conditioning system and window system can be
addressed individually. Mr.
Kane suggested that the Federal Government (l982) end of Carter
Administration provided funding regarding solar energy.
Mr. Kane noted that a case study could be performed and federal
funds could be received. Mr.
Kane also suggested that the windows could be addressed a wing at a time.
Mr. Anthony Russo, Feasterville, PA
stated that the seniors do not have the money and the seniors do not get
raises and do not hold jobs. Mr.
Russo feels that the school can be repaired with the right local
Mr. Fred Thomas, Langhorne, PA stated
that for every $9.00 he receives in his pension $l.00 goes to Neshaminy
School District. Mr. Thomas
stated that 47l.8 mils per thousand and Mr. Thomas’ residence is
assessed at 8700. Mr. Thomas
stated that if the middle school is closed or rented it will still need
renovations. Mr. Thomas questioned how many mils will be required for the
teacher’s salaries. Other
schools require repair. Mr.
Thomas feels the current high school has advantages in case of fire,
evacuation, etc. Mr. Thomas
would prefer to see the school refurbished.
Mr. Thomas sees no structural damage.
Mr. Alden Thorpe, Levittown, PA
advised that he is sick and tired of hearing the same comments and Mr.
Thorpe does not agree with the figures.
Mr. Thorpe advised that he traveled to Abington and did not see
those older buildings in the same shape as this high school is being
depicted. Mr. Thorpe
expressed that he was upset with Mrs. Bostwick for not wanting to listen
to the community.
Mr. Bob Feather, Levittown, PA,
Neshaminy Girls’ Swim Team Booster President, is in favor of a new high
school. Mr. Feather advised that he does not want his taxes to go up,
however, no one is suggesting a better solution.
Mr. Feather noted that money needs to be spent.
Should a band aid be placed on the existing high school and then
need to deal with it again in the future or do something that will benefit
not only our children but the future students.
Mr. Feather emphasized that he hears a lot of complaining however
no other solutions.
Mrs. Connie Burns, resident of
Middletown Township for over thirty years, knows that the taxes need to
stop somewhere. Mrs. Burns
noted that people have limited incomes.
Mrs. Burns stated that issues should have been addressed as they
arose. Mrs. Burns took
the tour of the high school and did not see too many problems.
Mrs. Burns noted that a mistake was made with Maple Point.
Mrs. Judy Dreisbach, Levittown, PA
requested to see all the tax money that has been paid and the expenditures
to where that money has gone. Mrs.
Dreisbach does not feel that a new high school is necessary.
Mrs. Dreisbach stated that she sees vandalism and lack of
maintenance. Mrs. Dreisbach
viewed the video and felt it was wasted money.
Mrs. Dreisbach noted that the community does not have the money to
spend and money is being wasted. Mrs.
Dreisbach felt it should be put up for a vote and Mrs. Dreisbach feels
that she should not be told how to spend her money.
Mr. Warner Heisner, Lower Southampton,
inquired whether people residing in apartments pay taxes.
The apartment complex pays very little for each building, why
can’t they be taxed?
Mr. Henry Dunn, Levittown, PA,
graduated in 1960 from Neshaminy School District.
Mr. Dunn toured the building and stated that the corridors look
nicer now then when it was a brand new building.
Mr. Dunn noted that it is better now due to the library, computer
center, weight room, etc. Mr.
Dunn is concerned that computers will be thrown away and eliminated.
Mr. Dunn questioned why a referendum is illegal.
Mr. Dunn who worked as an engineer in the service does not see any
structural damage. Mr. Dunn
is concerned about “overruns.” Every project has them.
Mr. Bob Wheatley, Langhorne, PA urged
the board to listen to the community.
Mr. Wheatly noted that the majority of the public is saying that we
need time before the school is built.
Mrs. Michelle MacKay, Langhorne, PA
asked the board to be fiscally responsible to the taxpayers and voters. Mrs. MacKay has attended the informational meetings and has
toured the high school twice. Mrs.
MacKay does not feel there is a need for new high school.
Mrs. MacKay feels that some work is necessary.
There are leaky roofs but that can be repaired.
The issues on uneven temperatures in classrooms is also very
fixable. A good heating and ventilation person can fix this problem.
Mrs. MacKay takes offense to the comments that the school looks
like an inner city school and she takes personal offense thereto.
Mrs. MacKay does not see it. Mrs.
MacKay is insulted by the arrogance and elitism of the people who say that
their children deserve better. Mrs.
MacKay stated that if they feel that way they should exercise their right
as an American citizen and pay for them to attend a private school, not
require taxpaying citizens to pay for their idea of what they deserve.
Mrs. MacKay does not feel that bricks and mortar makes Neshaminy
great. Mrs. MacKay graduated
from Neshaminy and has children that attend Neshaminy.
Mrs. MacKay noted that her children are excelling, despite the
problems. Nothing to do with
facilities, but with teachers who are too comfortable with guaranteed
increases and unrealistic job security.
Perhaps that is where the dollars should be spent, instead of going
into the buildings. Mrs.
MacKay pleaded with the board not to throw the baby out with the bath
water, do the fiscally responsible thing and save our school, keep the
maintenance dollars in the budget the next time you are looking for a
place to cut. Mrs. MacKay
stated to take out Administrative pay increases, even that won’t be
popular with your friends. Stop
letting the Administration play the board like puppets on a string.
Be responsible for the people who have put you in office in good
faith only to be patted on the head and told that you know best.
Mrs. MacKay begs to differ. Mrs.
MacKay remembers and has heard it time and time again, that it is for the
kids. Mrs. MacKay urged the
board to stop wasting the tax dollars, take responsibility and do the
right thing. Repair the
current facility, it is feasible and it is sensible.
Mrs. MacKay stated that when and if you do build this new school
and the enrollment declines and you begin to close schools, she will be
here to tell the board she told you so.
Mrs. Bostwick announced that public
comment has gone 15 minutes beyond the 45 minutes of time allotted, and
Mr. Suter will be the last individual to speak during this portion of
Mr. Brian Suter, Langhorne, PA,
teacher at Neshaminy High School, commented that are we housing students
or educating them. Mr. Suter
noted that as a teacher he has learned through his master’s program that
school climate is very important to the education of students.
It promotes a positive atmosphere, which allows students to learn
at a higher level. Air
conditioning, heating, roofing are all very important things, but so is
providing the proper space so that science can be taught, be able to
provide areas where teachers can share together and foster learning for a
particular student. Mr. Suter
needs to walk 5 minutes in order to speak with a colleague in social
studies and then walk 5 minutes to reach guidance.
If an emergency occurs, there is a problem.
Mr. Suter stated that at the middle school level he could work with
a team since the middle school structure allowed for that.
The state is mandating numerous programs and technology.
Mr. Suter stated that a new school would be a positive thing for
Mr. Wilson thanked the Board for
making the track available to Our Lady of Grace School for a track meet on
Sunday. Mr. Wilson personally
thanked the members of the community for attending the meeting and sharing
their honest, open and candid opinions.
Mr. Wilson asked that respect be given to people who do not share
the same viewpoints. Mr.
Wilson felt it was not fair for people to yell at Mr. Suter just because
he does not share the same opinion.
of Minutes – Upon
motion of Ms. Drioli and seconded by Mr. Stack, the Board unanimously
approved the minutes of the February 25, 2003 Public Meeting.
of Treasurer’s Report, Bills for Payment, Investments, and Exonerations
of Personal and Per Capita Tax – Mr.
Paradise presented the following for approval:
February 28, 2003 Treasurer’s
Report, subject to audit
Bills for payment Check Register- February 2003
Two Escrow Funds and Four Investment Funds
Budget Transfer Report 03-5 (Working Copy)
Personal and per capita tax exonerations for February 2003 totaling 8
Ms. Drioli moved the February 28, 2003
Treasurer’s Report be approved, subject to audit, the February, 2003
bills for payment, Budget Transfer Report 03-5 (Working Copy), 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, Budget Transfer
Report 03-5 (Working Copy) and exonerations of personal and per capita
and Support Personnel Actions – Mr.
Wilson presented the following for approval:
Elections – Certified Personnel
Resignations and Leaves of Absence – Certified Personnel
Elections – Support
Resignations and Leaves of Absence – Support Personnel
Sabbatical Leaves – Certified Personnel
2002-2003 Recommended Extra-Curricular Staff and Salaries
Mr. Wilson noted that three individuals are listed
to move into contractual positions and a number of long term substitute
positions, which have become available due to leaves.
New day to day substitutes have been hired. Mr. Wilson noted that three sabbaticals have been requested,
two (2) for professional development and one (1) for restoration of
health. Mr. Wilson noted that
also in the personnel report is the 2002-2003 Recommended Extra-Curricular
Staff and Salaries, which are by contract.
Mr. Wilson recommended the approval of
the personnel report for certified and support personnel and recommended
extra-curricular staff and salaries.
Mr. Soifer questioned whether teachers
can retire in January by contract or is it a state mandate.
Mr. Wilson advised that teachers can retire whenever they choose.
Mr. Wilson noted that the district is usually aware of when a
person is considering retirement, and the proper measures are taken as far
as the students are concerned with a good staffing of long term
Ms. Drioli moved the personnel actions
be approved. Mr. Stack
seconded the motion. The
Board unanimously approved the personnel actions as presented.
2003-2004 Proposed School Calendar
Mr. Stack presented the following
WHEREAS, each year the
Board of School Directors must establish an official school calendar for
the coming year; and
WHEREAS, the six
participating school districts of the Bucks County Technical High School
strive to establish a common school calendar; and
WHEREAS, the Board of
School Directors reviewed the proposed calendar at the March 11, 2003
Board Public Meeting;
WHEREAS, the proposed
calendar was forwarded for comments to each of the employee bargaining
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT
RESOLVED, that the Neshaminy Board of School Directors adopt the
attached school calendar for the 2003 –2004 school year.
Mr. Schoenstadt seconded the motion.
The Board unanimously approved the
Intermediate Unit No. 22 – 2003-2004 Budget
Ms. Drioli presented the following
WHEREAS, the Neshaminy
School District is one of the thirteen school districts in Bucks County
that utilizes the services of the Bucks County Intermediate Unit No. 22;
WHEREAS, the Neshaminy
School District contributed to the support of the Bucks County
Intermediate Unit; and
WHEREAS, the School Code
requires that the Intermediate Unit budget be presented and acted upon by
the Board of School Directors.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Neshaminy
Board of School Directors approves the Bucks County Intermediate Unit
Program and Services and Instructional Materials Budget for 2003 – 2004
in the amount of $1,848,800 with our District share to be $111,129.
Mr. Stack seconded the motion.
The Board unanimously approved the
SUMMER PROGRAMS – Summer of 2003
Dr. Spitz presented the following
WHEREAS, the Neshaminy
School District has operated a successful summer school program for 45
WHEREAS, in recent years
has operated completely on a self-sustaining basis via student tuitions;
WHEREAS, the following
programs have been discussed with the Neshaminy Board of School Directors:
Secondary Summer School (Make-up and
Summer Fine Arts including Art, Dance,
Instrumental Music, and Summer Stock
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Neshaminy
Board of School Directors approves the request to operate summer programs
for the 46th year.
IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the students residing
in Neshaminy School District be given first preference for program
involvement and related program activities.
Ms. Drioli seconded the motion.
The Board unanimously approved the
Amendment to the Articles of Agreement to Bucks County Technical
Mrs. Butville presented the following
WHEREAS, the Bucks
County Technical School Articles of Agreement set forth the name of the
Technical School Board;
districts are being asked to approve an amendment to the Articles of
Agreement to reflect the name change to a comprehensive high school;
WHEREAS, Article IV sets
forth the formation and composition of the present Technical School Board.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT
RESOLVED, that the Neshaminy Board of School Directors approve the
amended Article IV, which creates the Bucks County Technical High School
Joint Board hereafter referred to as Joint Board, which shall be composed
of all board members of all member school boards, which are parties to
Mr. Stack seconded the motion.
The Board unanimously approved the
Mr. Wilson advised that Dr. Costanzo
was successful in obtaining another $l5,000 grant to support ESL (English
as a Second Language) and regular education teachers.
Recently, there was a lawsuit filed by the Right to Education
Center against the Pennsylvania Department of Education for not providing
appropriate programs for English as a second language, and as a result we
did have a monitoring from Harrisburg.
Mr. Wilson fully believes that this will be another mandate without
funding. Mr. Wilson commended
Dr. Costanzo for the total grant monies awarded to Neshaminy School
District in the amount of $l,535,000.
Mr. Stack proposed an agenda item for
the next Work Session would be to review specific potential expense
initiatives. Mr. Stack would
like to review the response and survey and review all items where there
are six or more board members in agreement.
Ms. Drioli addressed the issue of
accountability. Ms. Drioli
requested a review of the Superintendent.
Ms. Drioli noted that an individual has stated that the
administration and board should be held accountable for the condition of
the high school. Ms. Drioli stated that she has been calling for this type of
review for over ten (10) years.
Mr. Schoenstadt noted that the
audience has brought out some valid points regarding the long term
deterioration of the high school. Mr.
Schoenstadt stated that it did not happen over night, it happened over the
last fifteen years. Three
previous boards, one administration.
Mr. Schoenstadt stated that perhaps those boards had a tremendous
problem determining priorities. For
whatever reason, those boards and the previous Administration chose to do
less and not raise taxes. They
passed on some lesser priority requirements.
Mr. Schoenstadt noted that this board has decided to do a serious
study, involve the community, both in a study of the student population
and the requirements of the educational programs and the requirements of
the maintenance and upkeep of the building.
Nine and one/half months were spent providing information.
Many people of the community were asked to participate and some
chose not to. Mr. Schoenstadt
advised that the business community, republicans, democrats, Middletown
residents, Lower Southampton residents, senior citizens, parents of
students, etc. participated. Six
meetings were held in the high school, the Business Administrator provided
financial information; educational staff and administrators provided
educational information and that is what is being digested at this point
and communications are taking place with the public.
The public who did not participate in those meetings will only get
a superficial feel for the problems that the prior administration, who was
here for twelve years, and the three previous Boards had to deal with.
Mr. Schoenstadt stated that it is easy to throw stones when you are
not in the glass house.
Mr. Soifer agreed with Ms. Drioli
regarding accountability of the Superintendent with regards to the
condition of the schools, but then the Board better begin to fund
maintenance so that the Superintendent can turn around and take care of
what needs to be done.
The Board Secretary advised that there
was no correspondence. Mrs.
Walls requested that any individuals that are school board candidates
please sign in so it can be so noted.
Mrs. Dawn Wheeler, Hulmeville, PA,
l982 graduate of Neshaminy High School and her son was a 2002 graduate and
currently has a junior at Neshaminy.
Mrs. Wheeler disagrees with a lot of what has been heard, but Mrs.
Wheeler has strong interest in seeing a building improved, but preferably
a new facility. Mrs. Wheeler
educates in another district and Mrs. Wheeler is appalled at the condition
of the high school. Mrs.
Wheeler feels that what needs to be done is build a new facility, which
would be most cost effective. The
students deserve technology, teachers deserve a better means of
communication, parents deserve a better method of communication where they
can reach a teacher directly rather then going through ten people to leave
a message. Mrs. Wheeler noted
that the school is a maze and firetrap. Mrs. Wheeler agrees that renovations would be a health hazard
and highly disruptive to the educational process.
Mrs. Wheeler has no vested interest except for children of the
community who deserve a nicer building, better and more efficiently run
building, and where that exists you will see improvement in education.
Mrs. Wheeler wants to see maintenance built into the new building,
and Mrs. Wheeler supports a Board that would support maintaining any and
all of the district’s buildings.
Mrs. Margie McCurdy, Trevose, PA, l977
graduate of Neshaminy, one son graduated and an eight year old attends
Poquessing and Mrs. McCurdy is a Poquessing employee.
Mrs. McCurdy believes that the Superintendent should be held
accountable and believes that the Board better hold the Superintendent
accountable. Mrs. McCurdy
stated that schools should be examined and the work should be completed.
The only school in this entire district that has been maintained is
Maple Point. Mrs. McCurdy
stated that at Poquessing a new roof is necessary.
Mrs. McCurdy stated that mold is dripping; students are sick,
students with asthma. Mrs.
McCurdy stated that she does not have the money for higher taxes, but it
will need to be figured out. Mrs.
McCurdy would like to go see the new school built by the architects who
Mrs. Diane Cvetkovic, Langhorne, PA,
graduate of Neshaminy Maple Point, two children in Neshaminy.
Mrs. Cvetkovic does not like the idea of closing Neshaminy Middle
School, the Blue Ribbon School. Mrs.
Cvetkovic expected to see a horrible school.
Mrs. Cvetkovic noted that is not what she saw. The person giving the tour did not have an engineering degree
and could not answer most of the questions, however, Mrs. Cvetkovic does
not say she is opposed to a new high school, but she is in favor of a
referendum. Mrs. Cvetkovic
strongly suggests that the Board reconsider closing Neshaminy Middle
Mrs. Joan Thomas, Langhorne, PA,
inquired if the district sells the school or rents the school will
renovations still be needed. Mrs.
Thomas cannot image selling or renting a school in poor condition.
Mrs. Thomas cannot understand why BASCO was fired, however, their
estimate to renovate the school was $30M -$45M and a lot of renovation has
already been done by them, so she would assume that the cost would not be
as great if they were allowed to continue with the renovations.
Mrs. Thomas does not understand why they were fired. Mrs. Thomas advised that people on the committee did not feel
that the school board was open to their suggestions. Mrs. Thomas felt is was necessary to obtain many bids and
Mr. Keith Pacheco, Langhorne, PA,
parent of Neshaminy High School senior and also a graduate of the class of
2001. Mr. Pacheco first
entered Neshaminy High School in 1982 for back to school night for a
foreign exchange student that the family was hosting.
Mr. Pacheco was astonished at the architecture of the building. Mr. Pacheco’s own high school was much more compact having
three stories. Mr. Pacheco
sees two big issues:
Do we continue to throw good money
after bad? The buildings are
not efficient, not up to code, inefficiency of miles of hallways and areas
of roof and outside walls.
Large amounts of money can be saved by
consolidating our buildings into one uniform set of energy efficient
buildings with multiple stories. Students
can have a better learning environment and safer facilities.
Mr. Pacheco asked his daughter
regarding the conditions and it was confirmed that conditions are not the
best. Mr. Pacheco is in favor of a new high school.
Mr. Pacheco spoke with numerous teachers who pointed out teaching
detriments that could be improved immensely with a new facility.
Mrs. Rita Geddes, Lower Southampton,
PA, member of the Steering Committee disagrees with Mr. Barrett’s
comments that only three options were investigated.
It was made clear that other options could be investigated and, in
fact, two meetings were added at which time the fourth option ($99M option
to renovate completely from floor to ceiling, knock out central core and
replace with classrooms units). Mrs.
Geddes noted that the Maple Point option was discussed and Maple Point is
not large enough to house either a 9-l0 or 11-l2 in the foreseeable
future. Maple Point has been
renovated as a middle school and would require millions of dollars in
renovations additionally to house two grades as a high school.
Mrs. Geddes advised that the architectural firm has been chosen
based on its record. ATS&R
has completed their past ten projects on budget and they specialize in
high school projects. This
firm was not chosen at random; rather they were selected after thorough
investigation. Mrs. Geddes
noted that while the travel expenses may be higher initially, she is
confident that these expenses will be saved over the long run because
other problems will be prevented down the road.
Mrs. Geddes has attended school board meetings for the past six
years, member of the enrollment committee and member of the steering
committee and this has been discussed for the past ten years.
The district can no longer wait; a decision needs to be made.
Mr. Howard Lindner, Langhorne, PA,
thirty-four years a teacher at Neshaminy High School and he loves this
high school and its traditions. Mr.
Lindner advised that his room was always full of academic students who
always seemed to achieve. Mr.
Lindner stated that Neshaminy is number one and it has been done in this
old building. Thank God there
were always good Administrators and good teachers in the classroom where
the job must be done. Mr.
Lindner was upset that 15 minutes of public speaking was cut out.
Mr. Linder suggested that a prayer was said for our service men,
but we are not practicing our constitutional right to speak at a public
school meeting. Mr. Lindner
disagrees with anyone being told they must leave a public school meeting
and disagrees with anything that takes away a person’s constitutional
rights. Mr. Linder stated
that the Courier Times praised the School Board for their options and
informational meetings; however, they told the Board what the people want
and that is a referendum. The
people want a referendum.
Mr. Stack advised that with respect to
the constitutional item, every person that chose to speak at this meeting
this evening was asked to speak and was able to speak.
Mr. Stack commented that the video
provided by the district does not do service to the issues.
The video does not examine the piping, electrical system, sewers,
heating, and 23 separate roofing areas.
That is the issue and a larger solution is necessary.
Mr. Stack advised that the real issue is taxes.
Mr. Stack advised that the governor is proposing to provide a
minimum of a l5% reduction in property taxes.
Mr. Stack advised that legislators need to be made aware.
Republicans and Democrats need to find a way to work together.
Mr. Stack advised that the board acts in an effort to bring about
legislative change. On
Monday, March 31st, a meeting will be held in Doylestown with
state legislators and Board members will be in attendance at that meeting.
Mr. Stack advised that change needs to occur now, and then the
district can begin to take care of its schools.
Mrs. Butville advised that each member
of the Board has the best interest of the taxpayers and students at heart. The Board has spent many hours investigating the details.
Several architects were interviewed, meetings were also had with
BASCO regarding renovations, and looking at everything that needed to be
done, BASCO’s estimates for renovation were the same as the architect we
are currently using. BASCO
has never built a new high school. ATS&R are number one in the country and they know
Pennsylvania laws, since they have constructed numerous high schools in
the area. They have built 32
schools in the past ten years and they have come in on time and on budget.
The Board is confident that the architectural firm is the best.
Mrs. Butville feels that a new building is the best way to go for
the student and the taxpayer’s money.
Ms. Drioli stated that she personally
liked BASCO, however, the Board selected the best architectural firm for
the job and our district. Ms.
Drioli stated that Board members went and saw work that the firm
performed. Ms. Drioli stated that the Board is not receiving anything
for using this firm.
Mr. Eccles stated that if the Board
has the best interests of the taxpayers at heart, then lets please put
this on a referendum and let the taxpayers decide this decision.
Mrs. Butville noted that maintenance
has been cut so the taxpayers would not have a 50 mil increase in their
tax bill. In the 1980’s the
state used to reimburse the district 54.2%, and in the last three years
the district has received state reimbursement which is less then 20%.
This year the reimbursement was 17.2%, but at the same time
unfunded mandates are in place. Mrs.
Butville noted that the way Pennsylvania funds its schools is worse then
41 other states.
Ms. Drioli stated that senior citizen
taxes should be frozen at a certain point.
Mr. Soifer moved the meeting be
adjourned and Mr. Stack seconded the motion.
The Board unanimously approved the motion.
Mrs. Bostwick adjourned the meeting at 9:50 p.m.
Anita E. Walls