Friday, April 30, 2010
Potential Budget Reductions 04302010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Salary Increase (Board proposal):
Hatboro-Horsham - 1.67 to 1.77% ranging over 3 years
North Penn - 1.98 to 3.56 ranging over 5 years
Pennsbury - Total Pay Freeze
Neshaminy - 3% ranging over 3 years
Medical Contribution (Board proposal):
Hatboro-Horsham - 11 to 13% ranging over 3 years
North Penn - 10/11/11/12/12% ranging over 5 years
Pennsbury - 12%
Neshaminy - 15-17% ranging over 3 years
Neshaminy's original offer to the NFT was for medical contributions of 10-12% over 3 years for a reduced-cost plan, but the NFT insisted on maintaining its top tier insurance coverage. Due to the high cost of this plan, the Board increased the proposed medical contribution to 15-17% over 3 years. Also keep in mind that the Board did not decrease its proposed raise of an average 3% annually.
Had the NFT accepted the Board's original offer (reduced costs plan with 10-12% contribution), the annual cost savings would have been around $4 million; and if NESPA accepted the Board's original offer the annual savings would have been $1 million. Add those savings together and we would have already reduced our deficit below the Act 1 limit.
The Board's latest offer to the NFT (top tier insurance with 15-17% contribution) would save the district around $3 million annually.
If Selzer's name sounds familiar to you, it could be from a recent Courier Times article entitled Board members get lucrative rewards, which reported on companies who prospered during the Lower Bucks Hospital bankruptcy. Clearly this company knows how to make money.
Earlier this year we learned that our health care costs are scheduled to increase by 19% for the upcoming school year. So far we have not heard of any progress made by Selzer to negotiate that increase down. The last time we went through a similar situation under our old insurance broker, they were able to negotiate a double digit increase down to 5%. Now we need Selzer to come through and surpass the efforts of the broker they replaced. After all, if Selzer cannot do better than the former broker, then what was the point of replacing them in the first place?
If Selzer can match the efforts of their predecessor, we can look forward to savings between $1.5 to $2 million. I don't have to tell you what that means to closing our budget gap for next year. So I encourage every reader to contact the board members from their area who voted for Selzer, and emphasize the importance that this partner comes through for us.
Friday, April 23, 2010
To union teachers at Maple Point Middle School in the Neshaminy School District for sending a message to the school board by once a week standing at the front entrance of the school where special education students are dropped off by mini-buses and vans.
Educators are the first to say that special education students, not to mention all students, do best when they are able to maintain a regular routine. How does arriving to a throng of adults standing around in front of their school in the morning affect the rest of their day?
How much thought have union members given to the impact they are having on students when they engage in this weekly moment of solidarity? How are the union members' actions in the best interest of the children?
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Great turn out at Tuesday night’s meeting, probably 300-350 people. Many were teachers and support staff but there were also parents and students in attendance, mostly there to show support for the swim program. It was great to see the students speak during public comment, and I hope their parents will make an effort to come to more meetings throughout the year.
The dreaded LIST should be culled down as Board members submitted this week a ranking for each of the 31 potential expense reductions. There are a number of items on that list that we should not give any serious consideration to, and removing them will make it easier to focus on the ones worthy of debate (not to mention relieve some of the tension running through our community).
The Strike Free motion was tabled on Tuesday night. Expect to see it back on the agenda soon.
I voted against the Tech School budget because I wasn’t convinced they did everything possible to reduce expenses. The original increase was higher but thanks to the work of our own Kim Koutsouradis, the numbers came down. If the Tech School staff had worked those numbers I would have felt more comfortable approving the budget. But kudos to Kouts!
Rumors have been floating around that our Board is divided over the issue of negotiations, and that some members are starting to weaken. Well, I can tell you first hand that there is no sign of any dissension in our ranks. We spoke about a variety of topics during executive session on Tuesday, and it was evident that this Board is focused, committed, and in sync.
At Monday’s Education Development meeting I heard three of our Reading Specialists talk about the newly implemented Balanced Literacy program in our elementary schools. Kudos to Dory Fitzgerald, Mary Beth Tecce and Terri Magerr for their enthusiastic support of this very worthy initiative.
If you want to read the Courier Times recap of Tuesday's meeting, click here.
Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy the rest of your week!
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
I would like to commend teachers in the Neshaminy School District who made the recent PSSA tests a positive experience for my children.
For many students this can be a very stressful time. This was not the case for my children. Due to extensive preparation and motivation by their teachers, they actually enjoyed taking the test. I also found that it was thoughtful of their teachers to provide extra snacks for their class. That goes beyond what is expected of them. It shows how much they care!
Hats off to Herbert Hoover Elementary and Maple Point Middle School teachers.
That was a very thoughtful letter Chris, and I'm sure our teachers appreciate it.
Whether you are pleased or disappointed with my vote, please know that your opinions were considered carefully. Again, thank you for chiming in with your voice.
Friday, April 16, 2010
(Note - only comments that deal directly with the question posed above will be published)
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
In the meantime we continue to look at next year's budget from different angles. Earlier today I passed along a couple pages worth of questions/observations to Mr. Paradise in hopes it might unearth some savings. And I know that he and Dr. Muenker have been working diligently to come up with ideas to trim spending without impacting student programs. I want to be optimistic about our chances but we have to work based on what we have in front of us. And until we can address our labor costs, this means we have to work the dreaded list. Speaking of which . . .