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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, Vice-President
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

OTHERS:  Approximately 110 persons from the public, staff and press

SECRETARY:  Mrs. Anita E. Walls



Ms.  Samantha Magathan
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.

Call to Order

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.

Pledge of Allegiance

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


No Announcements.

Student Representative Report

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 State
Boy’s Indoor Track took seven qualifiers to Penn State
Girl’s swimming had five school and personal records set at District I Championships
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 Kidney Foundation
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 maintenance

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.

Public Comment

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 opinions.

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 basis.

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 contractors.

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 public comment.

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 this community.

Superintendent’s Report

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.

Approval 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.

Approval of Treasurer’s Report, Bills for Payment, Investments, and Exonerations of Personal and Per Capita TaxMr. 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 exonerations

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 tax. 

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

Elections – Certified Personnel
Resignations and Leaves of Absence – Certified Personnel
Elections  – Support Personnel
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 substitutes.

Ms. Drioli moved the personnel actions be approved.  Mr. Stack seconded the motion.  The Board unanimously approved the personnel actions as presented.

Motion:  2003-2004 Proposed School Calendar

Mr. Stack presented the following motion:

                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 groups.              

                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 motion.

Motion:  Intermediate Unit No. 22 – 2003-2004 Budget

Ms. Drioli presented the following motion:

                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; and            

                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.

NOW, 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 motion.

Motion:  SUMMER PROGRAMS – Summer of 2003

Dr. Spitz presented the following motion:

                WHEREAS, the Neshaminy School District has operated a successful summer school program for 45 consecutive years; 


                WHEREAS, in recent years has operated completely on a self-sustaining basis via student tuitions; and

                WHEREAS, the following programs have been discussed with the Neshaminy Board of School Directors:

Secondary Summer School (Make-up and Enrichment)

Summer Fine Arts including Art, Dance, Instrumental Music, and Summer Stock

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Neshaminy Board of School Directors approves the request to operate summer programs for the 46th year.

BE 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 motion.

Motion:  Amendment to the Articles of Agreement to Bucks County Technical High School

Mrs. Butville presented the following motion:

                WHEREAS, the Bucks County Technical School Articles of Agreement set forth the name of the Technical School Board; 


                WHEREAS, school 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 this agreement.

Mr. Stack seconded the motion.

The Board unanimously approved the motion.


Federal Programs

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. 


Other Board Business

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.

Public Comment

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 were chosen. 

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 School.

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 proposals.

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.

Board Comment

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.

Respectively submitted,

Anita E. Walls
Board Secretary


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