Thursday, January 31, 2008

Wow, what a meeting!

If you weren’t there last night, I’m afraid no recap I can give you would do the meeting justice. It was full of drama, emotion, and some controversy. You can learn more about it by reading this Courier Times account from Rachel Canelli.

There are a couple important points I do want to add:
1) Our budget gap is serious and we should have been in a position to fully evaluate a middle school closure last night, but we could not do so because of a board decision that occurred last summer. After Mr. McKissick’s presentation in July 2007, there was board consensus to not move the project further until after the November election. So the project went on a 6-month hiatus until McKissick was asked to update his findings last week. All of a sudden, we now have less than a week to make a decision even though we did not have all the necessary information.

2) There was much public criticism of McKissick’s study and accusations of misinformation. I believe the McKissick study is a reasonably accurate picture of our district, and I applaud his efforts. But before final decisions are made, more information is needed. A redistricting analysis must be performed by Neshaminy staff to verify McKissick’s data, assess transportation issues, consider the community impact of redistricting, and make recommendations. Unfortunately that information is not yet available to us for reasons noted above.

3) To all those parents that say not my school, please remember that every school is important to someone. Nobody on this board takes any pleasure in the possibility of closing a facility. But as enrollment declines and our buildings are underutilized, school board members are compelled to consider fiscally responsible uses for those facilities. Last night’s vote did not change the facts confronting our community. Building closures are not a matter of IF, they are a matter of WHEN.

Thank you to all attendees of last night’s meeting. It was heated and emotional at times, but the board was grateful for your opinions and participation.

There was one other newsworthy item from last night. Skip down to the next post for details.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bill,
I was in attendance at the meeting and it was heated but I would like to tell you that out of all the board members you really make a difference. You listened to all of the comments and applauded when a great comment was made. I wish that all of the other board members would be like yourself. The other members should refrain from talking,laughing, writing notes and texting. You are amking a difference. Thank you!
I hope Mr. Kadri will stay on as part of the Neshaminy family.

Bob said...

As a Neshaminy taxpayer who resides in Levittown, it is my feeling after hearing some of the comments at last night's meeting, that I beleive if the people from Langhorne are willing to pay the extra taxes in order to keep their schools open, then why don't all of them just foot the bill for the rest of us because I feel as a proud member of the Levittown community that it is not my obligation to pay the extra tax money in order the keep their schools open. A $15-$17 million deficit is not my resposnsible. I live on a fixed income, and do not think that I will be able to afford this new tax increase. I feel as if I am going to have to cut back on certain things that I need to make it. Schools should have been closed last night, and I am very dissapointed that that did not happen.

Heat Miser said...

tFood for thought...
I'm not sure who the board thinks is interested in "renting" one of these elementary buildings once they are closed but I encouraged you to spend a day in one them say....through the months of May, June, September & October...
The heat is unbearable. Choose to close a building with CENTRAL AIR!

Anonymous said...

Close a school
Opt for maximizing class size

Watch scores PLUMMET....

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure when the last time one of the board members were actually IN one of these schools they are considering closing.
Herbert Hoover is at MAXIMUM with one guidance counselor. There is no room for parents to sit at lunches and some of the kids sit on folding chairs...

Anonymous said...

Wow...all of those pesky parents, staff and taxpayers at the meeting last night? Not enough room? Overcrowding but wanted to save money on chairs, space and electric? The board should have just SISTER SCHOOLED them to Morrisville's board meeting..lol

ST319 said...

In response to Bob's comments...

Guess you didn't listen to all who spoke last night or left early. Several Levittown parents spoke in favor of keeping their schools open as well. Let's not turn this into a Langhorne vs. Levittown battle.

And one more thing...

We are responsible to provide what is needed for ALL of the schools in Neshaminy, not just the ones where we live.

what am i missing said...

im confused

i understand we chose to renovate instead of buidling new because it would be cheaper i voted no for the new high school
i understand we will save money when we close some schools i think we should close some schools
i understand why we shouldnt close schools until the high school construction is finished because its not always about money

what i dont understand is how the people who are supposed to be watching my taxes didnt think about all three years ago

how much taxpayer money have we wasted because we cant close schools until the high school construction is finished
hjow much will closing schools save us
when would a new high school have been finished being built
when will the renovation project be finished
where is the accounting and who is responsible for telling me renovating was cheaper

out of town guests said...

To: What am I missing, you make some good points. But I would contact your school board and find out why we are paying just as much for a renovation as a new school.
I assume lots of other vote no people were also lied to. The kids would have been in the new school by now and Neshaminy Middle would be closed. Not to mention the hassles caused by this renovation mess. If anyone has any kids in the high school they know the problems they have gone through. The other night at a wrestling match, I had family come in from out of town. They asked me where the $80 million dollars was spent. I tried to show them the new wing and they started laughing.

neshaminy middle parent said...

I forgot that had we gone with the new building that it would have been finished by now with 9th grade already up there, and Neshaminy Middle, and maybe a middle school, could have already be closed and taxpayers could be reaping the rewards of a wise financial decision.
How come when that one gentleman and his wife (I won't mention their names) got up a couple meetings ago and bragged at how they helped to defeat the new school hasn't bragged about the fact that his lack of financial acumen has cost the tax payers millions of dollars already? Someone told me he was responsible for the first time Maple Point was closed but then reopened. With his track record, why does anyone even listen to him?

Anonymous said...

Neshaminy Middle School parent...
You are so right...We have that certain "man and his wife" to thank and all of the elderly people in the community they herded into poor decision making. Notice how quiet he is at the board meetings these days?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
William O'Connor said...

To the person bringing up HR matters - I have deleted your post because I cannot comment on personnel matters that are not yet public. I don't want this to become a rumor mill although I understand your concerns. I can assure you that I will carefully watch all appointments to ensure that they are made fairly. If there is a problem, I will raise holy heck. But also I cannot object to a candidate because of a relation to a political adversary. That would make me as bad as those I've criticized in the past.
Please stay tuned. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Bill,
It has been made public. It was announced last Friday. This one is 100 times worse than the AD debacle. It IS time to raise holy heck!!

got the blues said...

Okay - out with it...what position was filled and by whom? So tired of all the secrecy, we have a right to know who are tax dollars are paying for....

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.