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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, Vice-President

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

SOLICITOR:   Kristina S. Wiercinski, Esq.

Mrs. Anita Walls

OTHERS:  Approximately 28 persons from the public, staff and press


Call 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.

Pledge of Allegiance- Mrs. Bostwick requested those in attendance join in the salute to the flag. 

Announcements – 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:

Student 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 7:00 p.m.
Fall play has been casted and rehearsals will begin immediately.
All sports teams are doing well and the Golf team is undefeated.

Public 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.

Superintendent’s 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 Pennsylvania.

Approval 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.

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

Bid/s Mr. Paradise presented the following bid/s for approval:

Bid No. 03-20 Musical Instruments

Bid Amount:  $11,643.30

The bid is for musical instruments and accessories for K-12 instruction throughout the District.

Bid No. 03-21 Stationery Supplies

Bid Amount:  $40,000.00 Estimate

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.

Certified and Support Personnel ActionsMr. 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 nays.

Mrs. Bostwick announced a short break at 8:20 p.m.

Mrs. Bostwick reconvened the meeting at 8:35 p.m.

Motion:  Student/Advisor Attendance at PASA/PSBA Conference

Mrs. Butville presented the following motion:

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.

Motion:  Adoption of Section 40l(a) Plan

Mrs. Drioli presented the following motion:

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 be included.

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.

Motion:  Adoption of Section 457(b) Plan

Mr. Stack presented the following motion:

                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 participates; and

                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 IRS regulations
at no cost to the District; and

                WHEREAS, Lincoln Investment Planning, Inc. and VALIC Retirement Services Company

                NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Neshaminy School District will make
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.

Federal 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 $l63,l70.00.

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.

Other 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. 

 Mr. 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 position.

CorrespondenceNo correspondence.

Public 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 Southampton Township.

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.

Board Comment No comment.

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.

Respectively submitted,

Anita E. Walls
Board Secretary


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