Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Going out with a bang

Was it just me, or did this school year seem like it would never end? It has been a long, tough, and very emotional road we traveled over the past 12 months, but things ended on a positive note.

First the good news from last night's meeting: Next year's budget is flat. That's right, no increase in taxes . . . zero, zilch, nada. And we didn't have to cut any student programs in the process. Thanks to the last minute heroics of the NESPA contract, we were able to close the deficit with some reductions/cuts to maintenance items, and postponing purchases of some white boards. We also tapped into our fund balance (savings) to the tune of $886,000, but the bottom line is that we were able to hold the line on next year's budget.

Also let's not forget that participating homeowners will receive a $208.73 rebate applied against their real estate tax bill as a result of gaming revenue. So from a tax payer standpoint, it was a very good night. Special thanks to Superintendent Lou Muenker, Business Manager Joe Paradise, and Board Prez Ritchie Webb for all their hard work in making this happen.

On a bittersweet note, it was announced last night that Joe Paradise would be retiring towards the end of 2010 after 36 years of service to Neshaminy. I'll save the sappy good bye speech for later in the year, but just one quick comment for now . . . Thanks, Joe!

If there was a down side to the meeting, it was the confirmation that tonight's negotiation meeting with the teachers' union was cancelled by the NFT because they "needed more time to prepare." That explanation seems a little odd to me since it wasn't that long ago the NFT leadership criticized the Board for not hosting a session since the beginning of the year, and they claimed to be ready to meet any time. Now suddenly, they need more time. Hopefully we will hear from them soon regarding a rescheduled date for our next negotiation session.

Before signing off today, I wanted to pass along a major thanks to all the parents and tax payers who became actively involved in our Board meetings for the past few months. You all played a role in the positive things that came out of this school year, and I (and my fellow Board members) want to thank you for your help and support.

Now it's time to enjoy the summer break. Usually not too much happens in the district during these months so there probably won't be too many updates on the blog until the next school year begins.

Have a great summer vacation!

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