Tuesday, December 30, 2008

District eyes smooth transition

With 9th grade moving up to the high school next year, the district has undertaken efforts to prep middle schoolers for the transition. Today's Courier Times has an article highlighting a symposium held by the district designed to ease the transition and to address any questions or concerns the students may have.

My greatest concern for next year remains the building capacity of the high school which is still estimated to be in the low/mid 90 percent range. Ideally building capacity should be in the mid 80's to allow for maximum flexibility of class scheduling. When a building gets too crowded, flexibility is limited and so are the class choices available to students.

During one of our recent Town Hall meetings, board member Bill Spitz questioned the wisdom of possible relocation of the alternate education (Tawanka) program to the high school BELC area next year when we may need that space for student overflow. Business manager Joe Paradise countered that we could still relocate the alt ed program to the BELC, and we could also delay moving Facilities and Purchasing up to the BELC for another year or so if necessary to allow for student overflow. Spitz asked for additional enrollment projections for next year to see if Paradise's plan would provide sufficient space for students.

There is no doubt that it will be crowded at the high school next year. The important question is how much impact will it have on the students?

SEC Reverses Opinion

Neshaminy's solicitor, Tom Profy, advised the board of a recent ruling by the PA State Ethics Commission regarding board members participating in labor negotiations when they have a family member employed by the district. The SEC has reversed its earlier opinion and now states that board members can participate in negotiations under such circumstances. This means that Joe Blasch and I can now be involved in the negotiations with the teachers if we so choose.

I can't speak for Mr. Blasch, but I don't anticipate being involved in the active negotiations but rather will remain updated on developments and offer my opinions to those board members who are on the negotiating committee.

Committee Appointments

Newly elected Board President Rich Webb announced his committee appointments for 2009. Below is a partial listing of the committees:

Board Policies: Irene Boyle (Chair), William O'Connor, Susan Cummings
Education Development: Bill Spitz (Chair), Susan Cummings, William O'Connor, Joe Blasch
Finance & Facilities: Rich Webb (Chair), Frank Koziol, Bill Spitz, Kim Koutsouradis
Technology Committee: Joe Blasch (Chair), William O'Connor, Bill Spitz
Negotiations (Certified Staff): Rich Webb (Chair), Frank Koziol, Irene Boyle, Bill Spitz
Negotiations (Support Staff): Frank Koziol (Chair), Joe Blasch, Irene Boyle, Rick Eccles

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Fire them!

That's what Neshaminy resident Larry Pastor, Jr. said should happen to teachers if they should strike against the district. Mr. Pastor also said that the board should withdraw its current contract offer to the teachers and reduce it.

You can read all that Mr. Pastor had to say in this Courier Times Guest Opinion.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Let's try this again

Prior to Monday's Strategic Planning session, the Board will meet to appoint a vice president to serve under Rich Webb. Both meetings are open to the public beginning at 7pm at Herbert Hoover.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Well, that was different

Customarily a new president and vice president are named at a reorg meeting, but only half of that formula was present at tonight's event. After Rich Webb was named president by a 5-4 vote (supporting votes were Cummings, Eccles, Koutsouradis, Koziol, Webb), the board failed to reach a consensus on vice president. After three sets of votes for the nominees (Blasch, Koutsouradis, Koziol) failed to produce a winner, the board agreed to revisit the VP spot at its first meeting of 2009.

In other moments of interest, the law firm of Begley, Carlin and Mandio was once again approved as solicitor by a 6-3 margin (affirmative votes from Boyle, Cummings, Eccles, Koutsouradis, Koziol and Webb). And former Neshaminy educator Howard Lindner spoke up at public comment to take shots at our former superintendent, Paul Kadri, until Mr. Webb asked him to move on.

It was announced that the board's Strategic Planning Committee will meet next Monday, December 8th, at Hoover beginning at 7pm.