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April 22, 2003 

The Neshaminy Board of School Directors met in public session on April 22, 2003, at Walter Miller Elementary School.  
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 41 persons from the public, staff and press

SECRETARY:  Mrs. Anita E. Walls



Ms. Samantha Magathan

Prior to the Public Meeting an Executive Session was held.

School Board Candidates present at the meeting were Mr. Jason Bowman and Mrs. Susan Cummings

Call to Order

Mrs. Bostwick called the meeting to order at 8:10 p.m. 

Pledge of Allegiance

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


Mr. Wilson advised that a very dear friend, teacher, and school board member, Mr. Harry Dengler, passed away on Easter Sunday morning.  Mr. Wilson expressed that there are no words that anyone can say about how the district feels about this loss.  Mr. Dengler touched many lives and was involved in the Neshaminy music program and instrumental in the quality of the Fine Arts program at Neshaminy.  Mr. Wilson advised that the Board would appropriately honor Mr. Dengler in the near future. 

Dr. Costanzo advised that the services will be held on Thursday at 11:00 a.m.  Calling hours will be at Faust Funeral Home on Wednesday evening 6:00 p.m.- 9:00 p.m. and Thursday 9:30 a.m.- 11:00 a.m.

Mr. Wilson advised that there will be a public Board Meeting on Tuesday, April 29, 2003, at 8:00 p.m. at Maple Point Middle School.

Student Representative Report

Ms. Samantha Magathan provided the following report:

·         Graduation – June 11, 2003

·         PSSA testing completed

·         District Art Show – May 19th – 23rd

·         Drama Show “The Butler Did It” runs May 1st – 3rd – G9A

·         Senior Prom – May 24th

·         Last day for Seniors/Picnic – June 6th

·         Honor Society Induction – April 28th (140 students to be inducted)

·         AP testing May 12th – 16th

·         FBLA returned from States and two students will attend Nationals

·         Graduation Project Presentations – May 19th – 20th

·         Future Problem Solving will attend States next week

·         Junior Prom/Sophomore Dinner Dance were very successful

·         The student body was disappointed due to the canceling of the Junior trip, however, are very grateful about the reconsideration of all academic trips

·         28 athletes were 1st or 2nd team all league in the winter season and more then l/2 were on the honor roll

·         Midseason for spring sports and most teams are competing for 1st or 2nd place

·         4 students went to the PMGA All State Festival (John Clark – band, Julie Pacheco – band, Kevin Levinberg – orchestra, and Joe McDonough – jazz band)

Public Comment

Mr. Fred Thomas, Langhorne, PA referred to the March 25, 2003 minutes, page B-11, regarding BASCO.  Mr. Thomas stated that the prior report included four different options, renovate from ceiling to floor, new roof, boiler, wiring.  Included in the third option there was supposed to be 8 classrooms added and the figures were no more then $40M.  Mr. Thomas stated that $5M has already been spent on the C wing, F wing, auditorium and the cafeteria.  Mr. Thomas stated the district has declining enrollment and 4 junior highs at 51%.  Mr. Thomas noted that if a junior high is closed, there is probably a $2M turnaround that might pay for the renovations we need to do now at the high school.  Mr. Thomas would like this to be researched.

Mr. Todd Tranausky, Hollywood Avenue, stated that this Board has forgotten that the pockets of the taxpayers in this district are not endless.  At the informational meeting at Maple Point, Mr. Paradise provided a presentation detailing to the attendees that the cost to the taxpayers for this project would be 12 mills, before insurance increases, pension plan, teacher contracts, or any other union obligations the district needs to pay.  Mr. Tranausky stated that Mr. Wilson commented regarding capital improvements and the budget, saying that the Board attempted to put $1.5M into each year budgets, but is sometimes taken out for tax considerations.  Mr. Tranausky questioned why for the 2003-2004 school year there is $2.5M budgeted capital improvements, but how does the school district plan to pay for this. The 5 year plan includes $l5M of capital improvements ($3M per year) which is $1.5M more then the Board currently puts into capital improvements.

Mr. Solis Basen, Flowers Mill, Langhorne, PA stated that their has been a letter to the Editor from a Board member stating that most of the people are in favor of the building of a new school.  This is not a fact, and if so, he would like to see it substantiated by a survey of not only 15% of the people, but all the people.

Mrs. Michelle Mackay, Middletown, commented regarding the prior Work Session.  Mrs. Mackay commended Mr. Paradise for a wonderful job.  Mrs. Mackay questioned the pension and interest rates.  Mrs. Mackay stated that was done by the School Board not the public.  It concerns Mrs. Mackay that the School Board thinks the public does not know enough about the new high school to put a referendum, but they do things like that without a referendum.  The Board should never have cut the amount of money put into the pension, so low, that now, we need to bail it out.  Mrs. Mackay stated that it is ludicrous that the public needs to pay that kind of money.  The public did not have any ability to make that decision, however, the public needs to pay.  Mrs. MacKay stated that the public cannot afford to pay for the pension, increased insurance premium, building renovations, and a new high school.  Mrs. Mackay stated that we cannot afford to build a new school when all these other things are also necessary.   Mrs. Mackay stated that the money needs to be put into the budget to maintain the existing facilities.  Mrs. Mackay noted that the School Board may have been elected into this position “to speak our minds” but not all of us elected this School Board, unfortunately.  Mrs. Mackay is concerned about the public just coming out to the polls and pulling a lever and not being aware of who the candidates are.  Mrs. Mackay stated the pension plan should be turned into a 401K like in private industry, so the taxpayer does not have to bail it out.  Mrs. Mackay stated that at this time the school should not be built.

Mr. Paradise clarified that the state government, not the School Board, dictates the contribution rate to the retirement system.  Mr. Paradise noted that it is a Pennsylvania School Employees Retirement System for all school employees.  Mr. Paradise noted that the contribution rates during the last six years were dropped significantly by the State, not by the School Board.

Mr. Alden Thorpe, Levittown, PA, stated that in April 2000, there were floor plans in the amount of $45M and it included a 24 room science addition.  In November 2000, an article in the paper stated that BASCO would be the architect and it was predicted to last for thirty years.  Mr. Thorpe cannot understand why that has not already happened and why gears were switched to build a new school.  Mr. Thorpe, during the past week has walked through Red Rose, Cobalt, and many other sections, and the findings are the public does not want this new building.  Mr. Thorpe stated that a referendum is necessary for the sake of the School Board knowing how the people really feel.  Mr. Thorpe suggested that the Board is just continuing without any other input than the informational meetings, and Mr. Thorpe stated he has attended several of those and he does not see the people in favor of same, other than school children who want a place to swim.  Mr. Thorpe stated it is just not practical, the economy is not stable, people are loosing jobs and pensioners are just making it.  Mr. Thorpe stated he will go house to house and see how the people feel. 

Mrs. Joan Thomas, Langhorne, PA, commented regarding a statement that was made by Mrs. Butville at the last meeting, which was “if we build a new school it will be forty years before we need to worry about maintenance.”  Mrs. Thomas stated that the more she thought about that statement the angrier she got, because if we do not maintain our schools, why build a new school and then build a new one in forty years again, because we have not put money away.  Mrs. Thomas believes that the School Board does not put money away every year for maintenance.  Mrs. Thomas questioned how can you maintain schools when you cut out the maintenance money. 

Mr. Myrl Brut, Langhorne, PA, requested to speak regarding the plight of the retired people in the Neshaminy School District.  Mr. Brut stated that over the last several weeks he has been watching war coverage and then turns to the Neshaminy channel.  Mr. Brut noted there are many similarities, both Iraq and the Neshaminy School District did a poor job with the videos.  Mr. Brut stated that he worked in the high school for 18 years.  Mr. Brut worked in the guidance department that was state of the art, and still is.  Mr. Brut does not feel it is necessary to build a new high school and the district has dug pretty deep to find things that are not always there for the general public to see.  Mr. Brut commented regarding propaganda and the average homeowner is only going to pay $l30 more.  Mr. Brut has been in the district since 1972 and he was never the average homeowner.   

Mrs. Helene Kostar, Levittown, PA, stated the school brings back many memories for her and the loss of Mr. Shanken and Mr. Dengler is very upsetting.  Mrs. Kostar inquired regarding BASCO and ATS&R and she stated that in the November 200l Board minutes noted that BASCO was the architectural firm that was decided by the entire School Board as the firm to be used to build the new high school.  Mrs. Kostar stated that one of the reasons they were chosen was because it was local.  One reason why ATS&R was not chosen was because the company was from Minnesota and the additional charges involved were because of the travel expenses.  Mrs. Kostar requested an explanation as to why ATS&R was chosen.  Mrs. Kostar noted that people are upset about this topic since she does go door to door because Mrs. Kostar is a committeewoman.  Mrs. Kostar has been asking for the referendum and she knows that many Board members are against the referendum, however, it needs to be discussed.

Mr. Howard Lindner, Langhorne, PA, stated “slow it down.”  Mr. Lindner worked in the high school for 34 years as an administrator, coach and teacher.  Mr. Lindner noted that the people are tired of the nonsense and the district that exists.  Mr. Lindner noted that Mr. Dengler and Ms. Drioli started back years ago with SOS and we always stood for integrity.  Mr. Dengler was excellent.  Mr. Lindner does not want to hear that it is the needs of the kids, because it is the teacher that does the job.  Mr. Lindner requested that any teacher that is incompetent be let go.  Mr. Lindner stated that it takes good teachers, good parents who will spend time with the students when they come home from school, but don’t tell him that a new building is going to guarantee learning success.  Mr. Lindner stated that the public is tired because the Board is not listening.

Mrs. Bostwick made a motion to amend the agenda and it was seconded by Mr. Schoenstadt.  Mrs. Bostwick announced that a letter of resignation was received from the district’s Solicitor.  The Board unanimously voted to amend the agenda.

Dr. Spitz made a motion to accept the resignation of the Law Firm of Robert R. Fleck as Solicitor of the Neshaminy School District.  Mr. Schoenstadt seconded the motion. 

Ms. Drioli stated that under no circumstances did the School Board ask for this resignation.  Mr. Fleck resigned on his own.  Ms. Drioli stated that Mr. Fleck served nothing but Neshaminy School District, and if anyone thinks that this is as a result of this Board because of comments in the paper it is absolutely not.  Ms. Drioli stated that the Board did not take this action, however this action is a result of this community’s actions, and it is a terrible thing to a person who has done nothing but serve this district.

The Board approved the resignation by a vote of eight ayes and one nay (Ms. Drioli).

Dr. Spitz made a motion to appoint the law firm of Sweet, Stevens, Tucker and Katz as Solicitor with compensation as per the agreement letter circulated at their interview.   Mr. Stack seconded the motion.

Ms. Drioli noted that two candidates are being considered and Sweet, Stevens, Tucker and Katz is the first candidate and depending on the outcome of this vote an additional motion to that extent will be made.

Mrs. Bostwick requested a roll call vote on the motion.  The roll call tally indicated four ayes (Mr. Schoenstadt, Mrs. Butville, Dr. Spitz and Mr. Stack), four nays (Mrs. Bostwick, Mrs. Jowett, Ms. Drioli and Mr. Soifer), one abstention (Mr. Eccles).

Mr. Eccles abstained from the vote due to the fact that he only became aware of a vote being taken for a Solicitor one day ago, and he does not feel that he has enough information to make an accurate vote.  Ms. Drioli noted that the two candidates were interviewed and everyone knew the vote would be taken this evening. 

Ms. Drioli made a motion to appoint the law firm of Begley, Carlin & Mandio and Thomas Profy, III, as Solicitor.  Mrs. Jowett seconded the motion.

Mrs. Bostwick requested a roll call vote on the motion.  The roll call tally indicated four ayes (Mrs. Bostwick, Mrs. Jowett, Ms. Drioli and Mr. Soifer), four nays (Mr. Schoenstadt, Mrs. Butville, Dr. Spitz and Mr. Stack), one abstention (Mr. Eccles).

Mrs. Bostwick noted that Mr. Eccles was in attendance at the interview of this firm.  Mr. Eccles noted that he never receives correspondence on a regular basis from the Board and has not for a long time, and Mr. Eccles finds it amazing that he would be informed one day prior to the vote.

Mr. Schoenstadt made a motion to appoint the law firm of  Sweet, Stevens, Tucker and Katz, which the district also uses as its special education legal consultants, on a per case basis, until such time as the Board resolves the question of who the full time Solicitor will be.  Mr. Stack seconded the motion. 

Ms. Drioli questioned whether Ms. Wiercinski was not the attorney being used for special education and why is Sweet, Stevens, Tucker and Katz being proposed.  Mr. Wilson clarified that when a case arrives at the fair hearing point, it is assigned by insurance.  The insurance carrier only certifies certain law firms and the firm of Sweet, Stevens, Tucker and Katz is assigned to Neshaminy School District.  Ms. Wiercinski works with the special education supervisors on an hourly basis trying to resolve issues before they become an issue and need to go to a hearing.  Mr. Wilson noted that Ms. Wiercinski helps the district resolve problems, however, if the matter goes to a fair hearing which can be very expensive, the insurance carrier forces the district to use Sweet, Stevens, Tucker and Katz.

Ms. Drioli noted that a motion was on the floor, however, could we not reinstate Mr. Fleck as Solicitor.  Mrs. Bostwick noted that the resignation letter stated that it was as of the time a new Solicitor was appointed. 

Mr. Eccles made a motion to amend the motion to appoint the law firm of Sweet, Stevens, Tucker and Katz as Solicitor of Neshaminy School District to include a time limit be placed on the motion of thirty days.  Ms. Drioli seconded the motion.

The roll call tally indicated seven ayes, (Mrs. Butville, Ms. Drioli, Mr. Eccles, Mr. Schoenstadt, Mr. Soifer, Dr. Spitz, Mr. Stack), two nays (Mrs. Bostwick and Mrs. Jowett) 

Mrs. Bostwick requested a roll call vote be taken on the original motion as amended.  The roll call tally indicated eight ayes (Mrs. Bostwick, Mrs. Butville, Mr. Eccles, Mrs. Jowett, Mr. Schoenstadt, Mr. Soifer, Dr. Spitz, Mr. Stack), one nay (Ms. Drioli).

Superintendents Report

No report.

Approval of Minutes Upon motion of Mr. Stack and seconded by Mr. Soifer, the Board unanimously approved the minutes of the March 25, 2003 Public Meeting.

Mrs. Bostwick called for a recess of the meeting at 8:50 p.m.

Mrs. Bostwick reconvened the meeting at 9:l0 p.m.

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

·         March 31, 2003 Treasurer’s Report, subject to audit

·         Bills for payment Check Register- March 2003

·         Two Escrow Funds and Two Investment Funds

·         Budget Transfer Report 03-6 (Working Copy)

·         Personal and per capita tax exonerations for March 2003 totaling 46 exonerations

Mr. Stack moved the March 2003 Treasurer’s Report be approved, subject to audit, the March 2003 bills for payment, Budget Transfer Report 03-6 (Working Copy), and personal and per capita tax exonerations be approved.  Dr. Spitz seconded the motion.

The Board unanimously approved the Treasurer’s Report, subject to audit, bills for payment, Budget Transfer Report 03-6 (Working Copy) and exonerations of personal and per capita tax. 


Mr. Paradise presented the following bids for approval:

Bid No. 04-02 Athletic/Physical Education Supplies

Bid Amount:  $92,092.48

The bid is for supplies for physical education programs and various team sports for school year 2003/2004.  

Bid No. 04-03 Technology Education Supplies

Bid Amount:  $12,324.28

The bid is for supplies for the instruction of industrial technology including design, problem solving and research and development for school year 2003/2004.

Bid No. 04-05 School Agendas

Bid Amount:  $22,309.76

The bid is for agendas and teacher planners for all secondary school students.

Bid No. 04-06 Transportation Parts Supplies

Bid Amount:  $110,214.18

The bid is for various supplies for maintenance of district vehicles for school year 2003/2004.  Quantities on this bid are estimated.  The actual quantities purchased may vary from this estimate but will not exceed the total recommended for award.

Mrs. Butville moved the bids be accepted.  Dr. Spitz seconded the motion.  The Board unanimously approved the four bids.

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 on H-2 Resignation and Leaves of Certified Personnel, Ms. Cynthia Mariotti, rescinded her retirement and decided to continue with the district.

Mr. Wilson noted the 2003/2003 Recommended Extra Curricular Staff and Salaries is also included.

Mr. Wilson recommended the approval of the personnel report for certified and support personnel and recommended extra-curricular staff and salaries.

Mr. Schoenstadt moved the personnel actions be approved.  Ms. Jowett seconded the motion.

Ms. Drioli commented that she does recognize several of the names in the reports, however, Ms. Drioli had nothing to do whatsoever with them being interviewed, let alone hired.

The Board unanimously approved the personnel actions as presented.

Motion:  Approval of the IU Special Education Contracted Services for 2003-2004

Mr. Eccles presented the following motion:

            WHEREAS, the Neshaminy School District is required by law to provide special education and related services to children from pre-school through age twenty-one; and


            WHEREAS, a significant number of our students have severe mental and physical disabilities for which we do not operate programs

            NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Neshaminy Board of School Directors approves the contract for special education services with Bucks County Intermediate Unit 22 for the 2003- 2004 school year.      

Mr. Schoenstadt seconded the motion. 

The Board unanimously approved the motion.

Federal Programs

Mr. Wilson advised that the district is working on concluding this years federal grants.

Other Board Business


Public Comment

Mr. Myrl Brut, Langhorne, PA, questioned how much money was saved closing the Tawanka School.  Mr. Brut stated that there were 14 students in the program, none of which were brought back from private schools.  Mr. Brut knows that thirty-four students are now in the programs, which very few who have been brought back from private schools.  Mr. Brut would like to see the numbers and Mr. Brut will observe at the school and will report on what he saw.

Mr. Alden Thorpe, Levittown, PA stated his taxes went up last year $115.00.  This year if the predicted 51 mills is approved he will pay another $295.00, which amounts to $410.00 in two years.  Mr. Thorpe noted he is retired and $410.00 is a lot of money to come out of your expenses.  

Mrs. Helen Kostar, Levittown, PA, requested that school administrators keep politics out of the district.  Concentrate on the schools.  Mrs. Kostar requested that all future administrators and current administrators not be involved in politics.  Put all your focus on the schools and students.

Mr. Howard Lindner, Langhorne, PA, stated that he is very disturbed that someone was thrown out of the meeting for interrupting.  Mr. Lindner repeated that Neshaminy High School is a school of tradition.  Number one in just about everything: debate, music, sports, art, ice hockey, etc.  Mr. Lindner stated that pride should be taken to be a part of this school and school district.  Mr. Lindner noted that the district has always had good administrators and we have good ones now.  Mr. Lindner stated that a lot of tradition exists, but it was done in this outdated building.  Does this mean that students that are there right now are not achieving.   Mr. Lindner knows the students are achieving.  Neshaminy is number one.



Board Comment

Mr. Stack noted on March 31st he, Mrs. Butville and Dr. Spitz attended a meeting in Doylestown with the state legislators making well known the concerns about the need to do something about real property tax reform.  Mr. Stack asked the candidates and others that go out and meet with the community members that it is just not a high school issue that we need to be concerned about.  The district has 471.2 mills that are being paid and the state is giving us 17% every year towards that amount.  Mr. Stack noted that is wrong and must change.

Mrs. Butville addressed Mr. Brut’s comments regarding the students at Tawanka.  Mrs. Butville noted that the students at Tawanka were not sent out of the district to receive their education and are not adding extra costs to educate them someplace else.   Mr. Schoenstadt further clarified that there are 52 students at the Tawanka facility. 

Mr. Wilson noted that students have been brought back that were in other placements into the Tawanka School.  Mr. Wilson advised that no one will go into the school and personally evaluate that program because no one has the right due to student rights and student records.  The public is welcome to speak with any administrator regarding the facility.  The information received this evening from Mr. Brut is incorrect and he will not be able to go in and personally evaluate the program.


Mr. Stack moved the meeting be adjourned and Mr. Schoenstadt seconded the motion.  The Board unanimously approved the motion.  Mrs. Bostwick adjourned the meeting at 9:25 p.m.

Respectively submitted,

Anita E. Walls
Board Secretary


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