The Neshaminy Board of School
Directors met in public session on September 24, 2002, in the Auditorium
of Herbert Hoover Elementary School.
The following persons were in attendance:
Mrs. June Bostwick,
Mr. P. Howard Wilson
Mrs. Yvonne Butville
Mr. Harry Dengler, Jr.
Dr. Raymond Boccuti
Mr. Harry Jones
Ms. Carol Drioli
Mr. Joseph Paradise
Mr. Richard Eccles
Mr. Bruce Wyatt
Mrs. Kimberly Jowett
Dr. William Spitz
Mr. Edward Stack
Ms. Samantha Magathan
Ms. Meghana Nene
S. Wiercinski, Esq.
Approximately 28 persons from the public,
staff and press
to Order – Mrs.
Bostwick called the meeting to order at 8:00 p.m.
Mrs. Bostwick announced that Mr. Schoenstadt was not in attendance
due to a loss in his family.
Mrs. Bostwick requested those in attendance join in the salute to the
– Mr. Dengler made the following announcement:
“In September, 1959 Levittown was still in the process of being
built. I was fortunate enough
to be hired to teach music in the elementary schools of Neshaminy.
Over the next thirty-one years I taught music to students in every
grade level, K-12. After
retiring from Neshaminy I was elected to the Board of School Directors, a
post that I have held for the last eleven years.
Many changes have taken place in Neshaminy Over these many years.
Schools have been closed and new schools have been opened.
Curriculum, grade configuration and personnel have changed, but
Neshaminy remains a strong educational institution where kids come first.
I had the privilege of knowing and working with every
Superintendent of our district from Dr. Oliver Heckman to Mr. P. Howard
Wilson. For many years my
wife and I have looked for our dream house and in July we purchased it.
Since we will be moving into the Council Rock School District in
mid-October, it will be necessary for me to resign as a member of the
Neshaminy Board of School Directors.
Tonight I will give my letter or resignation to Mr. Wilson to
become effective September 30, 2002.
Although we will be living in the Council Rock School District, our
hearts will always be with Neshaminy.
Between my wife and I we have over seventy-five years of service to
the students of Neshaminy. Best
wishes to my fellow Board members and Mr. Wilson, as together you lead
Neshaminy into the future.”
Student Representatives: Miss Samantha Magathan and Ms. Meghana Nene student representatives,
reported the following:
pictures took place today
Homecoming Dance is scheduled for
October 18, 2002
Football Game and Carnival is scheduled for October 19, 2002
Back to School Night will take place on Thursday, October 3, 2002
Guidance will be handling applications and transcripts in the beginning of
October 3, 2002
Kaleidoscope of Bands will take place on Saturday, October 26, 2002 at
Fall play has been casted and rehearsals will begin immediately.
All sports teams are doing well and the Golf team is undefeated.
Comment – Mr. Paul Schneider, Langhorne,
advised that he would like to set the record straight regarding the Guest
Opinion piece under his name in last week’s edition of the Courier
Times. Mr. Schneider did
indeed write the piece, but Mr. Schneider contacted the Courier Times
three (3) times to hold it, then cancel it, in the wake of the September
10, 2002, School Board meeting. Following that meeting Mr. Schneider had a
discussion with Mrs. Butville at which time he advised her that he had
written a guest opinion piece for the Courier, but that he would ask them
to hold it while he considered her view point.
At l0:30 that evening Mr. Schneider sent an E-mail to the Courier
asking that the piece be held for a few days.
Mr. Schneider spoke directly to the Editorial Desk the next day and
asked that the piece be held until further notice.
Mr. Schneider also suggested that he might want to substitute
something fresher that would speak about the lack of public involvement at
Neshaminy Board meetings during a time when several important issues had
surfaced. Mr. Schneider
contacted the Courier a final time by E-mail on September 16th
and asked the paper to kill the piece.
After the article had appeared, Mr. Schneider learned that the
Courier’s E-mail system was down that day and that particular E-mail
might not have been delivered. Mr. Schneider stated that he assumed that it would have
remained on hold until further notice, but Mr. Schneider stated that he
should have made the final call confirming that the piece was dead. Mr. Schneider continues to be concerned that the needs
of the taxpayers, especially those on fixed, stagnant and declining
incomes, are not being fully addressed by the school Board and
Administration, especially at a time when an $80M high school project is
being discussed. In light of
the September 10th meeting, discussion with Mrs. Butville, and
things that were to be done by the Board at the September 10th
meeting, Mr. Schneider deemed the article that had appeared last week is
no longer the best way to approach that issue and Mr. Schneider was very
dismayed that it had appeared. Mr.
Schneider advised that most of all, regardless of his philosophical
positions, he is a man of his word and it upsets Mr. Schneider that his
promise to Mrs. Butville was broken and he apologized to all concerned.
Mr. Michael Gaul, Middletown, spoke
regarding the hiring policies and patronage.
Mr. Gaul stated the problems with patronage are that qualified
candidates are discouraged from applying and those that are hired usually
rely on their political connections rather then the performance to keep
their job. Time that could be
spent pursuing skill improvement or review of your own job performance
instead is spent maintaining political connections.
Mr. Gaul stated that unions negotiating with the Board correctly
view them as having an agenda inconsistent with their supposed purpose, as
to say they will see you as corrupt.
School Administrators inevitably give too much weight to politics,
skewing judgments beyond the employment considerations.
Mr. Gaul stated that there is only one way to get out of this and
that is to reverse yourself or have Mrs. Wallace resign.
Mrs. Helen Kostar, Middletown, spoke
regarding the procedure of how the School Board addressed the Wallace
hiring. Mrs. Kostar asked that the Board give a full explanation to
the taxpayers regarding the hiring procedure.
Mrs. Kostar stated that what has been in the newspaper and how it
has been handled has not been an explanation.
Mrs. Kostar feels that the Board is running away from the issue and
Mr. Eccles is the only Board member who has attempted to explain the
situation and he has been put down for that.
Mrs. Drioli advised that the Board has
offered an explanation and the Board has issued a statement that is on the
Internet and was read at the last meeting.
Mrs. Drioli advised that the fact that the Courier Times has chosen
not to print it is not the Board’s fault.
The explanation has been given and it is the same as past policies.
Report – Mr. Wilson was pleased to
announce that Jane Gibbons, Health and Physical Education teacher for
Neshaminy was awarded the honor of Teacher of the Year by the State of
of Minutes – Upon
motion of Mrs. Bostwick and seconded by Mrs. Butville, the Board approved
the minutes of the June 11, July 2, and July 23, 2002, Public Meetings by
a vote of eight ayes and zero nays.
of Treasurer’s Report, Bills for Payment, Investments, and Exonerations
of Personal and Per Capita Tax – Mr.
Paradise presented the following for approval:
June, July and August, 2002
Treasurer’s Reports, subject to audit
Bills for payment Check Register- June, July and August 2002
Personal and per capita tax exonerations for June and August 2002,
totaling 2,694 exonerations
Mr. Bostwick moved the June, July and
August, 2002 Treasurer’s Report be approved, subject to audit, and the
June, July and August, 2002 bills for payment, and June and August, 2002,
personal and per capita tax exonerations be approved.
The Board approved the Treasurer’s
Reports, subject to audit, bills for payment, and exonerations of personal
and per capita tax with a vote of seven ayes and zero nays.
Mrs. Jowett abstained from the vote.
– Mr. Paradise presented the following bid/s
Bid No. 03-20 Musical Instruments
The bid is for musical instruments and
accessories for K-12 instruction throughout the District.
Bid No. 03-21 Stationery Supplies
Miscellaneous office supplies
purchased throughout the school year as needs arise.
The discount is based on the United Stationers catalog which is
used by many retailers in our portion of the country.
The Board approved the bids by a vote
of eight ayes and zero nays.
and Support Personnel Actions – Mr.
Wilson presented the following for approval:
Elections – Certified Staff
Resignations and Leaves of Absence – Certified Staff
Elections and Changes of Classification – Support Staff
Resignations and Leaves of Absence – Support Staff
Sabbatical Leaves of Certified Personnel
Mr. Wilson noted the contracted staff
positions are mostly individuals who have been teaching within the
district and Mr. Jones has determined that they are now ready to be
awarded contracts. Individuals
with the highest evaluations over a number of years are moved into the
certified contract positions.
Mr. Wilson recommended the approval of
the personnel report for certified and support personnel as presented.
Mrs. Butville moved the personnel
actions listed be approved. Mr.
Dengler seconded the motion.
The Board approved the personnel
actions recommended by the Administration by a vote of eight ayes and zero
Mrs. Bostwick announced a short break
at 8:20 p.m.
Mrs. Bostwick reconvened the meeting
at 8:35 p.m.
Student/Advisor Attendance at PASA/PSBA Conference
Mrs. Butville presented the following
WHEREAS, the Pennsylvania School
Boards Association and the Neshaminy Board
of School Directors encourage student
delegates and their advisor to participate in the workshops and activities
of the annual PASA/PSBA Conference; and
WHEREAS, in the past it was found that
student participation in the conference benefited the local student
government program and helped students to understand the purpose and
activities of a Board of School Directors.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that
two students and their advisor are authorized to attend the 2002 PASA/PSBA
Conference to be held in Hershey, Pennsylvania from October 2 – 4, 2002,
and that related conference fees and costs be paid by the District.
Mrs. Drioli seconded the motion.
Dr. Spitz inquired what the estimated
cost would be to the District and Mr. Wilson responded that it would be
approximately $l,000 for the three attendees.
The Board approved the motion by a
vote of eight ayes and zero nays.
Adoption of Section 40l(a) Plan
Mrs. Drioli presented the following
WHEREAS, The National Government
Employees Retirement Plan for “Special Pay” is offered by Bencor, Inc.
to help governmental units and their employees take maximum advantage of
the federal tax laws; and
WHEREAS, contributions made to The
National Government Employees Retirement Plan are Employer contributions
to an IRS approved 40l(a) qualified retirement plan at no cost to the
District and at a substantial savings of the employer’s share of FICA
and Medicare Taxes on existing “Special Pay” such as retirement
incentives, unused vacation and unused sick pay; and
WHEREAS, this 40l(a) Plan must be
reviewed and agreed upon by each bargaining unit before their members will
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that
the Neshaminy School District will make available to its employees The
National Government Employees Retirement Plan for “Special Pay”
offered by Bencor, Inc., in accordance with IRS regulations and, upon the
review and approval of their bargaining unit, the School District
Solicitor and School District Administration.
Mr. Dengler seconded the motion.
Ms. Drioli commented that she wanted
the audience and press to realize the operative word is “explore”.
The Board approved the motion by a
vote of eight ayes and zero nays.
Adoption of Section 457(b) Plan
Mr. Stack presented the following
WHEREAS, The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of
200l allows that the
dollar limit on contributions to a 457(b)
plan will no longer be reduced by contributions to a
403(b) plan in which an employee
WHEREAS, Neshaminy School District has offered for many years a
403(b) plan as a tax
Deferment for its employees; and
WHEREAS, this 457(b) plan will be administered in accordance with
at no cost to the District; and
WHEREAS, Lincoln Investment Planning, Inc. and VALIC Retirement
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Neshaminy School District
available to its employees 457(b) plans
through Lincoln Investment Planning, Inc. and VALIC
Retirement Services Company, in accordance
with IRS regulations and, upon the review and
approval of the School District Solicitor and
School District Administration.
Dr. Spitz seconded the motion.
Mr. Stack advised that as was
discussed at the Work Session this is a tax shelter annuity and there was
no set up cost to the district.
The Board approved the motion with
eight ayes and zero nays.
Programs – Mr.
Wilson was pleased to report that to date the district has received $l.3M
for the various programs that range from Title I to the Alternative
Education for Disruptive Youth Grant for which the district received
Mr. Eccles questioned when the grant
was received for Peer Mediation. Mr.
Eccles stated that he was aware that funding had been cut.
Mr. Wilson advised that there was a significant cut and Dr.
Costanzo advised that there was a 62% cut.
Dr. Costanzo advised that this funding was cut across the state.
Mr. Eccles stated it was safe to assume that this cut was due to
state budgetary concerns.
Board Business – Mr.
Stack had questions relative to the statement made by Mr. Eccles at the
last meeting and Mr. Stack asked Mr. Eccles to embellish upon his
statement that the District and Board has shown a lack of respect for the
citizens of this community. Mr.
Eccles had no comment.
Stack further stated that Mr. Eccles encouraged the Board to be open in
consideration of the statement on personnel policies and procedures at the
last Board meeting. Mr. Stack
questioned what specifically does the Board, in Mr. Eccles estimation,
still need to address. Mr.
Eccles responded that this Board had the opportunity three weeks prior to
the press reporting on this situation to just be open and honest.
Mr. Eccles stated he is not sure what happened.
There seems to be a lack of trust, lack of respect for this Board
at this time, because the Board waited so long to answer questions that
were put forth.
Mr. Stack advised that the Board had
only met for the first time the same evening that Mr. Eccles made his
statement. It was incumbent
upon all Board members to take the time to research the questions, contact
the Administration, contact other Board members, and to have dialogue.
Mr. Stack advised that it was only through the Board meeting and
coming to some consensus as a Board, that the Board was able to prepare
the statement that was released last week.
Mr. Eccles stated for the record that
he would request that Marie Wallace think about resigning from that
– No correspondence.
Comment - Mrs. Kostar advised that she does
not respect the Board and she does not trust the Board due to the Marie
Wallace incident. Mrs. Kostar stated that she felt Mrs. Drioli’s response
earlier of “go look on the web” was not courteous.
Mrs. Kostar was concerned about individuals who do not have access
to the web. Mrs. Kostar asked
that Board members “put it in words” for the individuals who are
present. That is the least
common courtesy that Board members can do.
Mrs. Bostwick informed all those
present that copies of the press release were available and it was also
located on the website. Mrs.
Bostwick advised that the web is available at the local libraries.
Mr. Eccles proposed that the School
Board meetings be televised in order that the public can view it. Mrs. Butville advised that only the individuals with cable TV
could access the meetings if they were televised.
Mr. Eccles stated that our job as a
Board is to reach as many individuals as possible so that they can
understand what is happening in our district.
Mrs. Geddes, Feasterville, stated that
she understands that it is important to get the word out to people in the
community; however, the people in the community have a responsibility to
know what is going on in their school district.
It is unfortunate that only ten (l0) individuals on an average
attend school board meetings. That
is not the school Board’s fault. That
is the fault of the community. Mrs.
Geddes advised that if people care about what is going they could attend
the meetings. Mrs. Geddes commended the representatives from Lower
Southampton for addressing concerns that have arisen, and they have been
very open and responsive to the needs of the community in Lower
Mr. Johnson, Penndel, agreed with Mr.
Eccles that the Board should look into getting the school board meetings
televised through the Neshaminy Channel.
Mr. Johnson also stated that Speak Your Piece is a good source of
communication with people who are interested in the district.
Comment – No
Mrs. Bostwick moved the meeting be
adjourned and Mr. Dengler seconded the motion.
The Board unanimously approved the motion.
Mrs. Bostwick adjourned the meeting at 8:50 p.m.
Anita E. Walls