BOARD MEETING MINUTES (PUBLIC MEETING)
NESHAMINY BOARD OF SCHOOL DIRECTORS
April 22, 2003
Neshaminy Board of School Directors met in public session on April 22,
2003, at Walter Miller Elementary School.
The following persons were in attendance:
June R. Bostwick, President
P. Howard Wilson
Kimberly A. Jowett, Vice-President
Mrs. Yvonne V. Butville
Ms. Carol A. Drioli
Raymond J. Boccuti
Mr. Harry P. Jones
Mr. Richard S. Marotto
Richard M. Eccles
Joseph V. Paradise
Steven E. Schoenstadt
Bruce M. Wyatt
Michael A. Soifer
|Dr. William H. Spitz
Edward T. Stack
Approximately 41 persons from the public, staff and press
Mrs. Anita E. Walls
to the Public Meeting an Executive Session was held.
Board Candidates present at the meeting were Mr. Jason Bowman and Mrs.
Call to Order
Bostwick called the meeting to order at 8:10 p.m.
Pledge of Allegiance
Bostwick requested those in attendance join in the salute to the flag.
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.
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.
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.
Samantha Magathan provided the following report:
– June 11, 2003
Art Show – May 19th – 23rd
Show “The Butler Did It” runs May 1st – 3rd
Prom – May 24th
day for Seniors/Picnic – June 6th
Society Induction – April 28th (140 students to be inducted)
testing May 12th – 16th
returned from States and two students will attend Nationals
Project Presentations – May 19th – 20th
Problem Solving will attend States next week
Prom/Sophomore Dinner Dance were very successful
student body was disappointed due to the canceling of the Junior trip,
however, are very grateful about the reconsideration of all academic trips
athletes were 1st or 2nd team all league in the
winter season and more then l/2 were on the honor roll
for spring sports and most teams are competing for 1st or 2nd
students went to the PMGA All State Festival (John Clark – band, Julie
Pacheco – band, Kevin Levinberg – orchestra, and Joe McDonough –
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Board approved the resignation by a vote of eight ayes and one nay (Ms.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Drioli made a motion to appoint the law firm of Begley, Carlin &
Mandio and Thomas Profy, III, as Solicitor.
Mrs. Jowett seconded the motion.
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).
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
Bostwick called for a recess of the meeting at 8:50 p.m.
Bostwick reconvened the meeting at 9:l0 p.m.
Treasurer’s Report, Bills for Payment, Investments, and Exonerations of
Personal and Per Capita Tax
– Mr. Paradise presented the
following for approval:
March 31, 2003 Treasurer’s
Report, subject to audit
for payment Check Register- March 2003
Escrow Funds and Two Investment Funds
Transfer Report 03-6 (Working Copy)
and per capita tax exonerations for March 2003 totaling 46 exonerations
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.
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.
Paradise presented the following bids for approval:
Bid No. 04-02
Athletic/Physical Education Supplies
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 is for supplies for the instruction of industrial technology including
design, problem solving and research and development for school year
Bid No. 04-05 School
bid is for agendas and teacher planners for all secondary school students.
Bid No. 04-06
Transportation Parts Supplies
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.
Butville moved the bids be accepted.
Dr. Spitz seconded the motion.
The Board unanimously approved the four bids.
Certified and Support
– Mr. Wilson presented the
following for approval:
Elections – Certified
and Leaves of Absence – Certified Personnel
– Support Personnel
and Leaves of Absence – Support Personnel
Leaves – Certified Personnel
Recommended Extra-Curricular Staff and Salaries
Wilson noted on H-2 Resignation and Leaves of Certified Personnel, Ms.
Cynthia Mariotti, rescinded her retirement and decided to continue with
Wilson noted the 2003/2003 Recommended Extra Curricular Staff and Salaries
is also included.
Wilson recommended the approval of the personnel report for certified and
support personnel and recommended extra-curricular staff and salaries.
Schoenstadt moved the personnel actions be approved. Ms. Jowett seconded the motion.
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.
Board unanimously approved the personnel actions as presented.
Approval of the IU Special Education Contracted Services for
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
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.
Schoenstadt seconded the motion.
Board unanimously approved the motion.
Wilson advised that the district is working on concluding this years
Other Board Business
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.