Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Board to attend workshop

Despite such matters as school closures, budget deficits, contract negotiations and PSSA scores, the most serious issue of all is the conflict within our school board. It didn't get this way overnight. It's been many months, even years, in the making.

Many of last night's meeting attendees were expecting fireworks as rumors of an all-out war between board members were abound, but there was none. Just prior to last night's session, all nine school board members agreed that the situation was preventing them from focusing efforts on decisions that benefit the community. We agreed to meet soon in a facilitated workshop to hammer out our differences.

For those of you who came to the last two board meetings or who have been so vocal in recent weeks about what has been going on in our school district, I thank you for your input. All of us on the board benefitted from hearing/reading your opinions, and now it is up to us to put our collective effort into making positive strides forward.

During the next couple of weeks (until the board has met), I would appreciate your comments to be focused on primary issues such as the budget, facilities, test scores, the students, etc. Please refrain from any personal attacks on individual board members at this point as I want our board to head into the meeting without any further conflict. Please trust me when I say that your opinions have made a difference, and now I want to turn your sentiments into action when I meet with the board in the coming days.

Thank you!


Hoover mom said...

Thank you, Mr. O'Connor, for helping us all to navigate this difficult time. I have been reading the blog for a while now. I truly hope that the board members can work out their differences and work together for the good of all of our children. Please keep the blog going so that we may all stay informed. We trust you and we want to trust the whole board. Hopefully that can happen.

got the blues said...

Here's something to chew on...I am concerned that even with closing Neshaminy Middle and Tawanka, we have a deficit. $10 million is nothing to sneeze at and how are we going to close that gap? It's not just the seniors who are hurting with taxes...please remember there are working families out here too. Some may or may not get a raise this year and would have to squeeze even more money out of their budget as well to pay the higher taxes. I keep hearing the seniors well what about us? I have a senior parent who is barely making ends meet so I can understand their position, but it's not just them suffering. I can't get 'another job'...I work 10-12 hours a day now? I am deeply concerned that the board will turn its attention to cutting programs. I sure hope we don't have to go there...I believe there is fat in the budget. I would love to discuss it with you Mr. O'Connor but in private. Thanks for firing back last night and keeping things in perspective!

Staying-Focused said...

Thanks for trying to keep us focused on what's important, education. But sometimes that is hard to do, when you see a packed auditorium of seniors from Flowers Mills and only ONE of them is concerned about education. Don't forget, this the Board of EDUCATION. It is not the Board of TAXES. Everytime I see that I again turn negative.

Wed. morning residents of Warminster opened the Courier Times and had reason to celebrate.
Their taxes went up $250 and their homes went up $2,500 overnight. The Centennial Board approved a $79 million new high school. Once construction begins, their homes will go up even more. Smart financial decision. The residents complainied that there was no referendum but they are lucky because it would have failed. So the score is 3-1 with Neshaminy making the only mistake.

So the point is, if you make smart EDUCATIONAL decisions for the long term, the community benefits in many ways. Your house value goes up in value and more people
want to move into the district.

Closing a grammer school should not be based on driving around and picking one before a meeting. Get the proper re-districting data as one board said, and figure out which school closing impacts the students the least. The 6-3 vote by the board was a good one.

Anonymous said...

I think the first issue needing resolution is whether Mr. Kadri is staying or going. Can the board support him and let him do his job??

Peace ,Love and Understanding...

William O'Connor said...

Dear Blues: You can always reach me via email. There's a link on the main page of this blog on the right side to send me an email.

Anonymous said...

With the way things are going, I hope the board's willingness to iron out problems isn't a smoke screen to push things through. In the past the board would chastise people of dissenting opinion, sometimes in public. Mostly the problem is a trust issue and now with the Kadri issue you will have your work cut out for you. I hope these issues are aired and corrected for the district has a lot of issues that need to be resolved .

Anonymous said...

I would suggest that former Superintendent Gary Bowman or Bernard Hoffman lead this workshop for the board and the administration. These two people know and understand the inner-workings of the district. They are great leaders as well.

Anonymous said...

Mr O'Connor,
If we are interested in meeting with you and Mr. Kadri and any other board members willing to sit down and discuss some of these issues how do we go about it?

William O'Connor said...

Per the district's website, you can reach Mr. Kadri and all the board members via 215-809-6500.
You can always reach me via the email link on the front page (right side).

ST319 said...

We all need to realize that Mr. Kadri will be leaving Neshaminy. Yes, the best Superintendent this district has ever had will continue to look for work elsewhere. The damage has already been done. Certain members of this board have made it impossible for him to remain. Because the board has agreed to meet to smooth out their differences, doesn’t take away from the fact that the public has the right to know what has driven Mr. Kadri away. My fear is that those who have caused all this trouble will bargain to keep their involvement a secret in return for playing nice at the meetings.
Advice to the board members who never speak up...SPEAK UP!!! You weren’t put on this board to take the “I’m going to stay out of it” position. Whether you like it or not, you are in it. This isn’t a matter of two people arguing about which sports team is better. This is something that has driven our Superintendent to look for employment elsewhere. Just how much more serious does it have to get before you do something! You are just as much to blame for things getting this far. I’m saddened to think how great things could have been for Neshaminy if you had just stood up to anyone who has acted inappropriately for this district. Shame on you.
(Editor's Note - This comment has been edited for content)

Another-committee? said...

In addition to the workshop, how do people feel about having a CC (Community Committee) which would meet quarterly. The committee would give the board and administration input based on what we see happening in the Neshaminy school district from the outside looking in, rather than the inside looking out. Many people have good ideas and comments but are reluctant to speak during public comment. The committee would consist of 9 representitives based on 1 nominee for every board member.

Just an idea to help us move forward.

Anonymous said...

There are many simple solutions to the problems that plague our district. Not relying upon the McKissick report as a "bible" in one of them. It is a flawed report with many inaccuracies. That report alone seems to divide the board. How can you all be expected to make decisions based on the results if many members don't agree it is even accurate??
I think the public should have a representative at least involved in this meeting. It is embarassing to our district to have this negative publicity.
(Editor's Note - This comment was edited for content)