Topics of discussion            
 

Forensic audit results
Lower your school taxes!
Library Expansion Plans
Our Education Fund
09 School Board Elections

 

9th Grade Academy
Old Schuylkill Elementary
Kimberton Elementary School
USA Today Article about school
air quality

French Creek Learning Center

 

New Middle School ($75 million???)
Right to Know Letter
Old Schuylkill School
9th Grade Biology
Register to Vote

 

This blog was created to help faciliate communication in PASD with a goal of better education, fiscal spending & improved property values.

To send an email, comment or question, click here. You may post anonymously or with your own name as long as it is factual and acceptable.


 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Happy Hannakuh and Happy Kwanzaa too.


Congratulations to Josh Gould

May he continue the ways of former board president Paul Slaninka by always voting no to tax increases and to continue weaning the library from the school district.


Middle School Rumors Squashed

In spite of persistent rumors that the high school students will take gym classes in the new middle school, Dr. Fegley has informed me that this is untrue.

As with all visitors, HS students will need to follow the procedures for building security. During the day, there will be one monitored avenue for entrance to the building – through the school office – for all. Safety of the students is paramount.

To comment, click here.


28% of Students Send Sexting Messages

So do parents never check their kids' phones or do 28% of parents check their kids' phones and ignore the sexting? Worst case is it's possession of child pornography.

Click here for story


Pay to Play Bills Arrived?

Given an average tax bill of $4,000 and a $100 bill to play sports, isn't that a 2.5% tax increase? The nickel and diming of America continues.


Teacher of the year fired

It's all about seniority, not success.

Click here for story


$381,000

Total salaries for fulltime library employees in 2011 according to rtk request. This does not include part time employees.

In light of the findings that the Carnegie agreement does not include financial support for the library, smart guess is the library will be self sufficient in 5 years.

To comment, click here.


Congratulations Phantoms, Cheerleaders, Students & Phoenixville!!!

We're all proud of our football team and their accomplishments this year!!

To comment, click here.


Cupcakegate

Due to the administration's concerns about losing education time, the "i-can-beat-what-you-did-for-a-party competition" and the concern over food allegies, all foods have been banned from kindergarten and elementary school parties.

Judging by the public's comments here and in the Patch, couldn't the admin have given the taxpayer a courtesy flush and reached out to us or the schoolboard for feedback before making such a terrible decision?
Click here for Patch article.

To comment, click here.

Anonymous said
Political correctness run amok by a bunch of liberal, elitist Socialists.

Anonymous said
Stalingrad Elementary.


Congratulations to the new school board candidates

Since neither party added a candidate after Dengler dropped out, here are the 5 candidates that will be sworn in next year. The election in November has become meaningless.

These candidates were chosen by 12% of the voters in the May primary who actually voted. If you're among the 88% who didn't vote, don't complain if you're unhappy with any of the candidates.

This demonstrates why the primaries are often more important than the elections. Of course, you could start a write-in campaign. Get going!

Kenneth Butera
Irfan A. Khan
Kevin Pattinson
David H. Ziev
Paul R. Slaninka

To comment, click here.


Here are the November ballots with results from 5/17 primary.

Congratulations to the School Board Candidates

Here are the November ballots with results from 5/17 primary.

Democrat
School Director-Phoenixville Area School District
Kenneth Butera: 21.71% (672 votes)
Irfan A. Khan: 17.12% (530 votes)
Kevin Pattinson: 16.80% (520 votes)
Leslie A. Dengler: 15.18% (470 votes)
David H. Ziev: 14.21% (440 votes)

Republican
School Director-Phoenixville Area School District
Paul R. Slaninka: 16.17% (722 votes)
Kenneth Butera: 15.76% (704 votes)
David H. Ziev: 15.58% (696 votes)
Leslie A. Dengler: 15.09% (674 votes)
Kevin Pattinson: 14.98% (669 votes)

Photos and video of candidates at Fenix Martini Bar from 5/16. Thank you Lynn Jusinski at The Patch!

http://phoenixville.patch.com/articles/video-pasd-candidates-voters-attend-forum#photo-6113145


"Pay to Participate" Fees

In earlier board meetings the board had dismissed pay-to-play as "unmanageable" and would not be instituted. What happened and how will this now work?

$75k is only about .1% of the entire budget. Seems like a small savings that will require an awful lot of administrative attention?

From the Philadelphia Inquirer. Click here to read article
Phoenixville would charge a "pay-to-participate" fee of $25 or $50 for activities including school clubs, theater productions, and sports.

To comment, click here.


Good luck Gini Salava

Everybody loves you. You'll be missed.


Thank you Schuylkill Elementary

Thank you for having all the candidates speak at your Home & School meeting last nite. Quite a lively debate. Some very smart and involved parents took part.

Leslie Dengler was not able to attend. She'll be at Barkeley on May 11 at 6 pm and at Molly McGuires on Monday, May 16th at 6 pm.


New School in East Pikeland

If you don't want your children taught in trailers, come to the meeting on June 6 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. If you're a neighbor and are concerned about runoff and traffic issues, you come on down too.

It will likely be held in the East Pikeland Township Administration Building, as the fire hall is booked that evening.

If they don't build it, you can expect a nursing home or 21 homes instead.

Notes from April 27th township meeting
Click here to view the notes


Anonymous said
Put the nursing home on the dump!! Get some use out of it.

Anonymous said

What nursing home wants to be next to a noisy school??

Anonymous said

There is a possibility of trailers. I think the biggest frustration to me is that 2 years ago parents were furious that PASD would consider building a building on a dump.... now that they have a viable solution, people are not willing to come out and support it. There is a good possiblity that 17 neighbors called the "East Pikeland Coalition" will slow down the process and possibly influence the Commission to vote NO. That is the big issue.

Anonymous said

If you think that PASD is spending too much of your money now it will be tripled if we lose this school plan.. AND do we really need another Assisted Living facility or 19 single family homes on the property?
To comment, click here.


Meet the School Board Candidates



J. Kenneth Butera
Born in Norristown Pennsylvania
BA University of Washington, Seattle 1996
JD Villanova University School of Law 2002
Attorney/Partner - Butera Beausang Cohen & Brennan

I have lived in the Phoenixville area (Schuylkill Township and Phoenixville Borough) for the last 15 years. In my time here, the Phoenixville area has experienced a remarkable rebirth. PASD has, likewise, made notable strides, pulling itself higher and higher in the rankings with each passing year. I believe the Phoenixville renaissance has far from peaked.

Many brilliant minds call Phoenixville home and PASD would do well to better engage and communicate with the district residents. PASD needs members committed to partnering with its citizens in a professional and respectful approach.

Tax increases should be avoided. Short falls should be addressed through administrative efficiencies, restrained non-curricular spending, and creative strategies for generating other revenue. Tax increases must be limited only to those essential to maintain the core mission of PASD in the event that administrative efficiencies, and revenue generation fails to provide sufficient funds for meeting the district's mission of preparing, inspiring, and graduating students to meet the challenges of the future.

My wife, Alissa and I have two children currently enrolled in Schuylkill Elementary. I serve on the Board of Directors of the Pathway School Board, an approved non-profit private school for children with special needs near Norristown (serving on the Finance Committee and as Chair of the Governance Committee). I coach youth soccer and little league baseball.

Please vote for me on May 17th Thank you.

Click here to email J. Kenneth Butera.


Irfan A. Khan

Experience:
I currently work as a Portfolio Manager and manage portfolio risk for a multi billion dollar international exposure. I have extensive experience with multi million dollar budgets and have worked on and managed a variety of complex projects. I am a team leader with a proven track record of running a profitable business unit.

Education:
St. John University, MBA – Finance (1993)
College of Aeronautics, BT – Aeronautical Technology (1990)

Local Volunteer Activities
Good Samaritan Men’s Homeless Shelter in Phoenixville
Good Works in Phoenixville & Coatesville
Mom’s House in Phoenixville
Cookie Dad for Daisy Troop 420

Why I am running:
We are facing a tremendous budget shortfall in the next 5 years; the 2011/12 budget shortfall is just a precursor to difficulties that lie ahead for Phoenixville Area School District (PASD).

The difficult decisions and sacrifice that is needed in the coming years cannot be laid at the door step of our children's education.

I believe everyone has to bring something to the table; this includes Administrators, Teachers, Parents and the community at large. I will work to cut expenses where possible and ensure our children's education and class size are not impacted.

I have a broad and unique background to help bring sound resolution to the difficult issues PASD is facing and I will work to ensure our children are provided with the best fiscally responsible educational environment which is reflective of PASD’s goal of educating, inspiring and graduating students to meet the challenges of the future.

I would greatly appreciate your support on May 17th, 2011.

Irfan A. Khan

Click here to email Irfan A. Khan


Kyle Shirkness
I moved to the Phoenixville area in September 2009 with my wife, Roseann. My wife is a graduate of Phoenixville High School, so I have a good idea of how long certain issues have been going on.

I currently work for the Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union as an Assistant Manager. I am on two committees at work for process improvement and employee recognition. I know how to delegate and what it takes to be in a leadership role.

Since there are so many issues happening currently in the school district, I decided to run for a position on the school board. This decision was easy for me, because I am tired of tax increases and tired of not seeing any improvements to the educational standards. I have a daughter who will utilize what the school district has to offer, in a few years.

When I decided to run, I also wanted to let the voters know what kind of a person I am. The most powerful way I could get that message out was by running as a straight Republican and not cross filing. I am a firm believer in budget cuts because that is how I live. I am backed by Schuylkill Area 6 Republican Committee.

Click here to email Kyle Shirkness


Kevin Pattinson
11yr resident of Phoenixville
BA St. Joseph's
Master's in Education Temple University
2 Children in PASD schools
13 years as an English Teacher

True transparency is important to me as is real fiscal responsibility. As an educator I feel I can bring real insight into educational matters that are important to the parents of PASD. I see myself as a representative of the parents and children of PASD.

Providing the best education to the children of PASD is paramount. I know a balance can be achieved between educational needs and spending.

If elected to the board I will work hard to help reach that balance. I have no fear speaking my mind and am very capable of working with all involved.

Please vote for Kevin Pattinson PASD Board of School Directors.



Click here to email Kevin Pattinson.


Slaninka, Paul
This is my fourth year as a school board member. I am currently president of the board. I have been retired for a number of years and am a Villanova graduate , with an M.A. in counseling. I have been living in the district since 1970 and both my children have gone through the Phoenixville public school system.

I am a fiscally conservative board member and believe that increases in taxes are not necessary to achieve the educational level of excellence which our children deserve in order to succeed in the 21st century.
Email Paul Slaninka, click here




Upcoming School Board Elections

Candidates on the Republican Ballot:
David H. Ziev (currently school board member)
Kyle Shirkness
J. Kenneth Butera
Leslie A. Dengler
Kevin Pattinson
Irfan A Khan
Paul Slaninka (currently school board president)

Candidates on the Democratic Ballot:
David H. Ziev (currently school board member)
J. Kenneth Butera
Leslie A. Dengler
Kevin Pattinson
Irfan A Khan
Paul Slaninka (currently school board president)

For the primary, candidates who cross filed will be on both the Dem and Rep ballots. Of course Dems and Rep voters will only see one of those ballots in the primary, and they will vote for up to 5 candidates.

The top five on each slate (Dem and Rep) will be on the ballot for the general election in Nov. If the same five win each slate then the election is basically over, unless someone mounts a successful write in campaign.

But if different people win on each of the slates then the top five in the general election win. In that case the candidates who are in the top five on both primary slates have an advantage because they get the votes of everyone who votes straight party line in the general election, where someone who is only on the Rep ballot (for example) only gets the Rep straight party line voters.

While a candidate may be cross registered, this does not imply they are endorsed by a party. I'll update which candidates have a party endorsement when available.


Click here to email or comment.


Ads on PASD School buses, buildings and roofs?

More schools are advertising on buses, buildings and roofs. Now is the time to generate revenue to help halt tax increases. Not 3 years from now as Dr. Fegley said he'd like to wait in a recent meeting.

Click here to see how other school districts are generating revenue. $500,000!!

Click here to email or comment.


No More School Buses?

Overheard at a recent school board meeting was a mention of eliminating school buses next year to save $2 million. Plan on attending the budget meeting on Thursday, March 31, 2011 - 06:00 PM - 09:00 PM in the high school cafeteria to discuss.


Click here to see how other school districts are generating $500,000.


Congratulations to the cast, pitband and crew of the show Annie Jr.

Outstanding performances were turned in by Julia Richter, Donnie Jackson and the entire cast.

Click here to email or comment.


Congratulations to PAMS Cheerleading Squad

They won 1st place at Kedron Regional Cheerleading Classic. Also got best overall stunting. Good job ladies!

Click here to email or comment.


PASD Admin is Hiring!

Grant Writer is the first position and the 2nd position is an Assessor who will help PASD come in under budget on a 3-year contract.

Do we really need more bloated administrative positions? 4.4% tax increase plus this? Doesn't PCEF handle grant writing and this should be their hire?

Click here to email or comment.


Anonymous said

Why can't the borough hire a cop instead of pasd hiring another administrator?

Anonymous said

I believe a grant writer is exactly what PASD needs. I look at a grant writer as a person that is a "Treasure seeker". Just this year alone, I have found thousands of dollars (literally) in grants. Unfortunately many of the grants I have tried to get for East Pikeland must be filled out by PASD teachers or administration. It is not a few pages and it takes time and energy. These employees are already bombarded with paperwork and are trying to keep up with the needs of their classrooms.

As far as PCEF, they do not see themselves as "grant writers". They give grants, but their staff is limited.

Some areas that I believe PASD could get a grant:
1. The green roof/educational space proposed in the new East Pikeland bldg.
2. Lowes offers thousands of dollars towards playgrounds and hardscapes.
3. Mascaro, the trash Co. offers 5,000 given towards schools that come up with a respect program.
4. Target gives money for buses for field trips (this year our teachers couldn't get one b/c they waited too long)


Thank you Paul

The taxpayers appreciate the fact that you were the only board member to say no to a huge tax increase. What happened to fiscal responsibility? What happened to the board members who ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility and have consistently rubber stamped everything with a yes?

Click here to email or comment.


Anonymous said

By state law the board has to have a preliminary budget by the middle of Feb. The board is having many budget meetings over the next few months (the public is invited to all and their input will be considered).


Methacton teachers secure 14% raise in new contract

Plus Methacton teachers pay zero for their healthcare then 10% ($100 bucks/month?) after 2 years. PASD teachers are awesome, but we can't afford raises and perks like that.

Remember, $27,000 is the annual cost of each teachers and admin's insurance, fully funded by the taxpayer.

Recommendation is to reach out to your school board and discuss. Remember Social Security recipients receive 0% raise again this year. Click here to email or comment.

Anonymous said
It was reported in the local paper that there will be a 0% INCREASE in their healthcare in the first 2 years of their contract.


Act93 Update

I'm informed the Cost of Living Adjustment will be zero as it should've been last year. This is one small step forward. Preliminary budget for 2011-2012 shows zero raises for admin.

Salaries click here.


PASD secures $26 million loan for turf fields and school

The loan is for 20 years with an interest rate starting at 2% with a max of 4%. PASD credit rating was recently upgraded from Aa- (which is good) to Aa2 (which is better). Based on that good credit rating, the buyer did not require bond insurance, which saved PASD $100,000. Click here to email or comment.


Congratulations to Phoenixville Area High School Robotics Team

For winning the Pennsylvania State Robotics Championship


Congratulations Phoenixville Latin Teacher Nicole Curry

Best of Philly Schools teacher


Welcome to our new Superintendant

Dr. Allan Fegley, 484-927-5010, fegleya@pasd.k12.pa.us


Schuylkill Elementary Update

While it's sad to see an old building go away, it was definitely time for Schuylkill Elementary to go to old building heaven.

An agreement is in place between pasd and Schuylkill township to demolish the landmark. A memorial wall and other features will be created from the stone and the cupola to memorialize the building.


Congratulations

To Debbie Dawson, the Building & Grounds Committee, faculty and all those involved in breaking ground for the new middle school.


One Step Forward. Two Steps Backwards

In a failed attempt to manipulate the taxpayer, Dr. Stevenson took back a small percentage of the admin's merit raises. No merit raises were ever deserved since they did not improve the overall program when they killed Spanish.

Her admin is still happily taking a 3% cost of living increase in spite of the fact that the Social Security increase this year was 0%. The first 0% increase since 1975.

There are over 300 houses in bankruptcy in Phoenixville. By taking a 3% cost of living increase when they've gotten zero, you've just insulted the taxpayer yet again. Have you spoken to one senior citizen about this? I can't imagine you have.

When will this lunacy end? When you hand out zero raises, be a hero and rescue Spanish with that $200,000. Why do you think we're so stupid? You're raising taxes to kill Spanish and fund your raises.

In addition to a selfish superintendant, blame can be shared equally by all. While this blog helped pressure Dr. Stevenson into giving back 50k, why didn't any taxpayers or board members step up and stop this nonsense before they killed Spanish to finance their raises? We're all to blame!

Call Dr. Stevenson @ 484-927-5010 and ask when will the insults end? How many senior citizens will lose their houses because she had to give out raises again? 15 years of raises is not enough for her admin. We can't take it anymore.


The devil carries a Louis Vitton handbag

What a slap in the face by the pasd admin delivered to the taxpayer at the Workshop Meeting.

Not one board member or taxpayer questioned what Dr. Stevenson plans on doing with the planned $200k in raises for her admin while she was busy killing our Spanish programs.

That $200k is more than enough to keep World Languages alive for another year.

Dr. Stevenson previously mentioned insurance costs are up 30%. She failed to mention her admin said at a budget meeting they didn't feel like getting new quotes. I'm sure they could've attempted to get new insurance quotes and saved money to keep Spanish. But they didn't even bother trying so we lose.

Too bad for the taxpayer. Too bad for anyone who enjoys Spanish. How insulting.

Anonymous said
Mr. Slaninka. 2 years ago, you stepped up and shot down the former superintendant's Kimberton Elementary School on a dump. We were very proud of you for doing so.

At yesterday's meeting, you kept saying "this is the admin's recommendation." Why the change? When did you start rubber stamping bad ideas? Why couldn't you question the admin's raise?

Anonymous said
Public Education at its very, very worst.

Anonymous said
I cannot even begin to report how disgusted I am in the school board at this moment.

In a 5-4 vote to kill world language, world language was killed.
In a 7-2 vote to kill Spanish Immersion, Spanish Immersion was killed.

The school board members said things like - we have to go with what the administration recommends (because apparently we vote them into office to sit and rubber stamp the administrations decisions?) It was horrible! Person after person got up and told them not to cut either program.

Only one person spoke in favor of the cuts and that was only because his second grader that moved into the district could not join the Spanish Immersion program and because the program is limited so not everyone who wants it can get it.

The decision was made before we even got there.

To comment, click here.


Adios Spanish

With the exception of Josh Gould, the curriculum committe made some of the stupidest decisions we've seen or heard in a long time.

Why does the committee confuse cutting student programs with cutting costs of bloated admin?

They voted to cut World Languages to save $150k. Nobody mentioned the administration is expecting raises totalling $200k.

Dr. Stevenson mentioned insurance costs are up 30%. She failed to mention her admin said at a budget meeting they didn't feel like getting new quotes. Too bad for the taxpayer. How insulting.

Why is this such a drawn-out affair? We've been asking the Superintendant for weeks to forego their raises and rescue Spanish.

I'm told the Superintendant will address the raises at the Board meeting, but to listen to what and how she says it. This implies she'll be spinning and won't be telling the truth. If they kill Spanish tomorrow then the admin gets a 5% raise, the damage is done.

To comment, click here.

Non Compos mentis: Latin for can not grasp the meaning or the context of life as it is in 2010


Can this be verified? If so, sounds like time for a change

It is my understanding that the current cafeteria vendors contract is about to expire.

The Board should look into hiring a different company to provide these services. The current vendors prices are to high. At $2.60 a day for lunch a family with two kids pays $104 a month. The food is not that good and a lot of kids end up eating junk like cookies and pretzels.

The staff in at PAMS room has a soda machine that costs .65 The vendors machine charges 1.25

The company also practices questionable business practices. There have been times when the district has purchased food and leftovers have been resold to students.

They take advantage of the district by using district supplied manpower. This is not the type of partner the taxpayers of Phoenixville deserve.

To comment, click here.


Overheard at a recent PASD Budget Meeting

Taxpayer: Wow. According to pending budget, benefit costs are increasing 27%. Most people get new quotes when their insurance goes up. Won't PASD get new quotes?

Business Manager: That would require Request for Proposals. The answer is no.

Why get new quotes when the cost can get passed on to the taxpayer in higher taxes?

To comment, click here.


The Results Are In!

After 3 right-to-know requests, dozens of emails & phone calls and 2 trips to pasd admin building over a span of 5 weeks, pasd has finally and reluctantly coughed up the Act 93 Admin Salaries Contract. This doc confirms that pasd administration plans on receiving 3 - 6% raises this year.

View and download the doc by clicking here.

A Request to the Superintendant

We respectfully request that your administration forego the 3 - 6% raises that they receive EVERY year and use these savings (~$200,000) to rescue our World Languages Program.

Everyone in this down economy is cutting back, taking zero raises, etc. We want our PASD administration to do the same. It's especially appalling that the school board asked you to take a zero percent raise earlier this year as a courtesy to the taxpayer and you refused.

I'm not referring to the immersion program. I'm under the impression that Spanish Immersion may not survive the cuts due to monetary and logistical concerns. Perhaps it can be revisited in a year or 2 when there are new buildings to house the program.

But World Languages is extremely important, especially in our global economy. I work in ecommerce on major brand sites and use French & Spanish every day. One can't overstate how important language skills are in today's job market.

Please contact superintendant Dr. Barbara Burke-Stevenson. She told everyone on television that she's happy to field your calls.

PASD Support Staff has been offered a raise of 20 cents per hour. Maintenance staff, nurses & other support staff work hard and I believe they deserve their small raises. Please exclude them from the above administrators, many of whom earn 6 figure salaries and can afford to forego their raises for one year to help rescue World Languages.

484-927-5010

And please do everyone a favor. DO NOT blame the school board for this mess. They asked the admin to take a zero percent raise and the admin refused.

To comment, click here.

Related Stories Around the Country

School Administrators’ pay reduced by 5 percent

School Administrators's Pay Frozen

School Administrators’ to pay 20% of insurance premiums

Many, many more related stories. Click here.

Anonymous Said: And so Dr. Stevenson. Is it all about the kids or your administration's raises?

PASD TITLE
2009-10
SALARY
Superintendant $205k
Librarian
$80,000
Director of Pupil Personnel Services/Special Ed
$137,354
Principal
$140,000
Principal/Dir of Comm Relations
$137,000
Principal
$139,000
Principal
$138,000
Principal
$120,000
Assistant principal
$124,000
Assistant principal
$118,000
Assistant principal
$108,000.
Assistant principal $96,000
Director of Technology $132,000
Supervisor of Reading/Language Arts $132,000
Supervisor of Mathematics $111,000
Assistant Principal $121,000
Assistant Principal $97,000
Supervisor of Special Ed $99,000
Supervisor of Special Ed $94,000
Director of Operations $123,000
Comptroller $85,000
Supervisor of Technology Ops $78,000
Business Specialist $67,000
Employee Benefits Admin $54,000
Athletic Specialist $42,000
Director of Human Resources $138,0000
Business Administrator $150,000
Assistant Superintendant $137,000
Admin assistant $31/hour
Admin assistant $35/hour

Responses from the Superintendant at 4/15 Board Meeting

"No admin is getting a 6% raise"

She ignored the details in the contract. The admin's contract guarantees a 3% raise plus up to 3% merit raise for a total of 6%. Assuming your administrators do an awesome job, they'll be granted 6% raises.

"I am not getting a raise"

This blog states the superintendant earns $900/day plus reported 80k taxpayer-funded pension. She must be referencing another blog as there has been no raise mentioned here.

Dr. Stevenson can be reached at 484-927-5010 and looks forward to your calls. Ask her why her admin deserves a big raise while they're raising your taxes 7% and cutting Spanish.

She must have a ton of voicemails because I haven't heard from anyone who has gotten thru... send an email, comment or question, click here


Daniel Boone School District Admin Take a Smaller Raise

This article says they're taking a 2% raise instead of their typical 5% raise after the school board asked them to take a 0% raise. Sounds like pasd, except our admin wants their 6% raise. Read article

To comment, click here.


Turf for the high school football field?

There are strong arguments for both sides of this issue. Is it the right time to spend $565,000 on one field and $581,000 on another when the middle school is done in this environment? Let's delay this till next year unless someone can say why this MUST be done now. While the state is kicking in some funds, it's still your taxpayer money.

At the Board Meeting on Thursday 4/15 , the proposal for the turf field was voted on. The vote passed 6-3.

Anonymous Said: The track there is only 6 years old. And I think it's only that long ago when they redid the football field with new dirt and sod/planting and an irrigation system as well.

Anonymous Said: I know there are schools in the area who have the artificial turf fields but has anyone done any research to see what the numbers are vs. grass fields regarding injuries, especially joint injuries.

I remember not too long ago the owners of the professional football teams announced that they were going back to natural grass fields as their research showed an increase in injuries to the players.

I think this should have been researched more completely before voting to spend money here in little old Phoenixville for artificial turf fields. There is no way that the artificial surface is cheaper in the long run to maintain. The more it is played on, the more the surface stretches, tears, etc. and these are the things that cause injuries.

Big Mistake, PASD school board!!! Wrong vote again!!!

To comment, click here.


Cutting the language programs?

PASD admin has recommended we cut the language programs. The school board is discussing and analyzing the costs, logistics, staffing etc of the program.

Don't many colleges require language skills???

World Language is NOT mandated by the state so this important program can be dropped in spite of how needed it is for college admissions and many other situations in a global economy.

The next curriculum meeting is May 11th, 6:30, at the high school library.

I would think they must keep World Languages and teach a language one or 2 days per week. Not sure if Spanish Immersion, while popular, is sustainable? Again, Barbara wants to kill this program to finance their raises.

To comment, click here.


What does your administrator earn?

Click here to find out.

PASD Admin has an awesome benefits package. Thanks taxpayers. Click here to see it.

Plus remember, administrators pay $45/month for their insurance premium. That's a cheap premium for their Cadillac plan! Thanks taxpayers.

Also note, if you read the PASD 2010-11 budget, costs of providing benefits to pasd employees rose 25% this year. I don't see any mention of anybody, but the taxpayer, kicking in extra money towards this cost.

View the 2010-11 PASD preliminary budget, click here


Superintendant Search

To apply for PASD Superintendant, please mail your information to:

Paul Slaninka
PASD Administration Building
1120 S. Gay Street, Phoenixville, PA 19460

The Chester County Intermediate Unit is also assisting with the search. Contact Joseph J. O'Brien, Ed.D., Executive Director, 484-237-5010.

The search firm has failed for the third time. As of March 18, 2010, PASD has spent $21,533 on the superintendant search with McPherson & Jacobson LLC, 7905 L St., Suite 310, Omaha, NE 68127, 888-375-4814.

OJR did their own search with help from the public and they're very happy with their choice after a very harrowing year. After 3 failed attempts, OJR's model is looking better and better.


SAVINGS BY FOX ROTHSCHILD LLP TO
PHOENIXVILLE AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT TAX PAYERS
CATEGORY
AMOUNT OF SAVINGS
Ohio Casualty
$250,000.00
AIG Policy
$91,991.00
Denial of Additional Fees for Construction
$225,000.00
Elimination of a standard retainer for Special Education
$45,000.00
Engineer claim on modular installation
$7,500.00
Savings for accepting a proposal of a local land surveying firm for East Pikeland property
$4,000.00
Architectural Fees for East Pikeland
$10,000.00 (est.)
Energy Consultant
$210,000.00
Reduction in Architectural Fees for the
demolition of PAMS
$30,000.00
Settlement of PASD litigation initiated by the prior Administration $275,000.00
Savings associated with recommendation of
competitive proposals for CM firms for new
PAMS Project
$613,880.00
Minimum savings on the contested claim of
the former CM for the KES Project
$42,680.00
Educational Savings $13,037.89
Solicitor attendance at Bi-Monthly School
Board Meetings
$17,100.00
TOTAL $1,835,188.89
Subtract FOX ROTHSCHILD's fees of approximately $800,000 for a savings of $1,000,000

Anonymous Said: How much of this lawyer's fees were a result of all of the basketball nonsense? Tens of thousands I am told. All for what? The people who perpetuated all of that nonsense should foot the bill.

Also, the district had to take a stand with the 200 thousand that is missing and was revealed as part of the audit. 

Each of the people fired, and there were several, needed to have the school lawyer review their termination. Not one of the fired people, and there were many, has taken action against the school which means all firings had merit. How much did that cost? 10's of thousands I am told.

The district also had a horrible superintendent who was such an ego maniac he lead the district into multi million dollar land deals that were simply illogical.

The school district is finally on the right track. So, a little extra money went to the lawyers. Is there really a price on doing things right."

" How much of this lawyer's fees were a result of all of the basketball nonsense? Tens of thousands I am told. All for what? The people who perpetuated all of that nonsense should foot the bill.

Also, the district had to take a stand with the 200 thousand that is missing and was revealed as part of the audit. 

The district also had a horrible superintendent who was such an ego maniac he lead the district into multi million dollar land deals that were simply illogical.

Each of the people fired, and there were several, needed to have the school lawyer review their termination. Not one of the fired people, and there were many, has taken action against the school which means all firings had merit. How much did that cost? 10's of thousands I am told.

The school district is finally on the right track. So, a little extra money went to the lawyers. Is there really a price on doing things right."

To comment, click here.

TOP TEN NEIGHBORHOOD
Phoenixville was voted a Top 10 Neighborhood by Philadelphia Magazine. Awesome News. Also calls out Phoenixville's high ranking High School with 15:1 student to teacher ration. Read about it here:

http://www.phillymag.com/articles/real_estate_2010_10_
awesome_neighborhoods_to_call_home/page2

To comment, click here.

 

Dear God

Why do you allow so much violence to occur in schools?

Because I'm not allowed there.

Signed. God


Cyber Bullying

Should you ever see examples of cyber bullying on this or any local blog, please call the Phoenixville Police Department.


Camphill Kimberton receives Phoenixville Middle School’s Help4Others Grant

Camphill Village Kimberton Hills, a farming and handcrafting community that includes adults with developmental disabilities, recently received a $1,000 grant from Phoenixville Middle School ’s Help4Others group.

Help4Others, or H40, is a Youth in Philanthropy Group at the Phoenixville Area Middle School . This group of 14 eighth grade students meets once a week to learn more about needs in their community and how people give back. With guidance from their teachers, Gina Keenan and Monica Daley, they reviewed proposals submitted by non-profit organizations and visited sites in order to help them determine how to best distribute funds.

Out of nine area non-profits the students selected, Camphill Village Kimberton Hills received funding to purchase strawberries and supplies for the Sankanac Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Garden. The Sankanac CSA at Camphill Kimberton grows vegetables and produce on approximately 12 acres that feed the 100 village residents and an additional 150 families outside the community. CSA members sign up and pay a fee at the beginning of the year, which then enables the farmer, Todd Newlin, to buy seed, supplies, and equipment. Newlin, along with people with and without disabilities, ready the soil, greenhouses and seedlings. Starting at the end of May and continuing through October, CSA members visit the farm each week to pick up that week’s harvest. Every growing season differs slightly depending on the weather. Buying fresh and local produce has many benefits to personal health and to the environment.

Youth in Philanthropy, now its seventh year at both the middle school and high school, is supported by the Phoenixville Community Health Foundation. The program is intended to help young people gain a deeper understanding of needs, charity and volunteerism within their own community.

Lynn Pike Hartman, vice president of programs at the Foundation, spoke at the award presentation held on Wednesday. Hartman used the analogy of the strawberries purchased for Camphill Kimberton to express to the students how important their work in H4O has been. Just as the strawberries need careful, diligent tending in order to become thoroughly red and delicious, the H4O has been proof that through their hard work they now have evidence of reaping what they have sown.

“If you plant honesty, you reap trust,” said Hartman. “If you plant goodness, you reap friendships. If you plant hard work, you reap success, and if you plant charity, then you reap heartfelt joy. Remember this joy and that you can bring this feeling into your lives every day.”

Other award recipients included The Clinic, Police Athletic League, Good Samaritan Shelter, Mom’s House, PACS, Healthy Start, and the Southeastern PA Autism Resource Center.

The mission at Camphill Kimberton is to encourage individuals, especially those with special needs, to discover and fulfill their developmental and creative potential within a farming and handcrafting community. In valuing persons of all abilities, Kimberton Hills seeks to foster a living and working environment that is sustainable, productive and beautiful. Residents and volunteers uniquely contribute to the community through meaningful vocations such as gardening, dairy farming, and working in the café, bakery and craft workshops. As the community cares for one another, it also nurtures and improves the land by practicing biodynamic and organic agriculture and raising environmental awareness.

For more information about Camphill Kimberton, visit www.camphillkimberton.org.


What's in our students' food?

Please consider signing Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution petition by clicking on the attached link. If he gets enough support, the USDA will be forced to offer better school lunches to our children.

Right now they are eating over processed, chemically enhanced garbage that can barely be classified as “food.”

You would cringe when you heard what was permitted as “acceptable.” (let’s just say that a percentage of rat hair and “droppings” are considered acceptable)

French fries are classified as a vegetable! When in reality, they contain carcinogens that have been directly linked to cancer!

It only takes a second to sign the petition. Click on the link and fill out the section of the right side of the screen. BE SURE TO “uncheck” the box at the bottom if you are not interested in receiving updates on the Food Revolution!

www.jamiesfoodrevolution.com/usda

Anonymous said
The claim that french fries contain carcinogens that have been directly linked to cancer is not true. Rather, asparagine (found in fries) when heated with certain sugars, leads to the formation of acrylamide which is classified as a possible carcinogen. To report that fries contain carcinogens as fact is irresponsible. I also strongly believe we can feed our children healthier than we do and for less money.


Are you worried about itil v3 foundation besides Comptia network+ exam preparation? We offer up-to-date ccvp training dumps and 642-902 dumps with 100% exam pass guarantee of 1z0-053 wireless dumps.


Congratulations!!!!

Kudos to Debbie Dawson and the Building and Grounds Committee and all parties involved in closing out the Middle School Construction.

As a result of their efforts and teamwork, PASD has saved millions of dollars in the new Middle School.


Contacting your school board

Here are the names and emails of the PASD administration and school board members

Dr. Alan Fegley, Superintendent
Email Dr. Fegley, click here

Stanley Johnson, Business Manager
Email Stan Johnson, click here

Paul Slaninka, School Board President
Email Paul Slaninka, click here

Debbie Dawson, School Board Vice President
Email Debbie Dawson, click here

Mary Croke-Parris, School Board Secretary
Email Mary Croke-Parris, click here

Joshua D. Gould, School Board Treasurer
Email Josh Gould, click here

Jan N. Potts
Email Jan Potts, click here

Jill Slawecki
Email Jill Slawecki, click here

Dan Cushing
Email Dan Cushing, click here

Betsy Ruch
Email Betsy Ruch, click here

David Ziev
Email David Ziev, click here


9th Grade Biology

For the past few years, Phoenixville was the only local school district that did not have 9th grade biology. Thanks to Jan Potts, we now have 9th grade biology.

The school board decision to put a Biology section into 9th grade was 8-1.

The audit DID NOT suggest Honors Bio for 10th grade - it will stay in 11th grade.

Our issue was a track for students to be able NOT to take Investigating Earth and the Environment Honors in 9th grade so that they could take a more foundational science and WE ARE THE only school in this region that didn't allow that.

The audit committee finally suggested a solution that would involve having the highest science kids (maybe as many as 50 students) take IEE Honors in 8th grade over at the high school as an accelerated track. This would open up their schedule for a a foundational science in 9th grade.

We felt that this was a neat idea and represented some creative thinking and we applauded them for that and for their effort to solve the issue.


USA Today Article

USA Today recently published an article about air pollition in local schools. Review your school's scores here.

But wait. USA Today didn't even use accurate numbers as they described our kindergarten as having the worst air in the country among kindergartens.

Their supposed journalism is hurting our community by falsely informing people that the air at the kindergarten is bad. A recent letter to pasd superintendant shows the air is fine.


Right to Know Letter

If you desire information that your teacher or principal can't furnish, call the school district to request information that you feel should be furnished to a district taxpayer 484-927-5000.

If the school adminstrator can't answer the question, you can send a right to know letter to pasd's Right to Know officer. Use the template below. Kindly allow them 5 - 10 days to process your request.

[Date]
Stanley Johnson, Business Manager, PASD

Dear Mr. Stanley Johnson:
Please consider this an official written request for information from the [name of agency]. I would like to examine and inspect [and/or obtain copies or extracts of ] the following documents: [List individually the documents you wish to examine, inspect or copy. Be as specific as possible.]

I believe the above documents constitute public records pursuant to Pennsylvania's Right to Know Law, 65 P.S. §§ 66.1 et seq. You may contact me at [address and telephone number] regarding arrangements for the disclosure of the information.

If you decide to refuse this request, please provide me with a written statement of the reasons for denial. If your denial is based upon a statute, regulation or court decision, please cite that law or case, including the specific section or sections you rely upon, in your written response.

I look forward to the [name of agency] making this information available to me within (5 business days for local agencies; 10 business days for Commonwealth agencies). Sincerely, [Name] [Address]


Nepotism and Sunshine Law Violations

A board member can legally hire a family member IF they're qualified. It is not nepotism. Get over it. Call a lawyer.

2 members of a School Board Committee may meet in private with a school administrator without violating the Sunshine Laws.

5 members of the school board may NOT meet in private with an administrator. That WOULD be a Sunshine Law violation.

Section 13. Committee Meetings
65 Pa. C.S.A.
Sec. 703, 709
Pol. 006
Committee meetings may be called at any time by the committee chairperson with proper public notice or when requested to do so.A majority of the total membership of a committee shall constitute a quorum.

65 Pa. C.S.A.
Sec. 701 et seq
Unless held as an executive session, committee meetings shall be open to the public, other Board members, and the Superintendent.

To comment, click here.


Library Expansion Plan
According to a PottsMerc article on 10/27, the Phoenixville library has withdrawn its expansion proposal for 2nd Avenue. Hooray. Now we can all help find a place for an awesome library with parking that will make everybody happy.

Plus the borough undid the sale of 2nd Avenue to PASD for a buck. So hopefully, it is the end of the library mess.


CONGRATULATIONS
To the students, faculty, administration, school board and everyone at Phoenixville High School for achieving a Top 50 Ranking at Philadelphia Magazine. Congratulations also to Latin teacher Nicole Curry for achieving a top rank as teacher from Philadelphia Magazine too.


http://www.phillymag.com/articles/best_schools_2009/

CONGRATULATIONS
To Debbie Dawson for her appointment to Vice President of the School board and to Josh Gould for his appointment to Treasurer. Congratulations also to David Ziev for his appointment to the School Board to replace Lisa Star's seat.


Good luck Lisa Star
Thank you for all your time and help on the school board. May everybody be as honest & smart as you.

To comment, click here.


CONGRATULATIONS
To newly-sworn in school board directors Betsy Ruch and Dan Cushing and incumbents Jan Potts and Josh Gould.


Goodbye
To Barkley principal Stephanie Zdrazil who has accepted a new job as principal of North Coventry Elementary School. An awesome lady who will be missed.


Watch Your Kids!
A student was hit by a car on Hares Hill near East Pikeland on Thursday, November 12. Not sure of the details, but sounds like an impatient driver who may have been distracted by their cell phone.

If they were on their cell and at fault, they deserve charges pressed. Assume the worst and watch your babies.

Anonymous said
If you're waiting in line behind a bus and you see some idiot go thru the bus lights, try to take a cell phone photo of their license plate. That evidence along with the bus drivers testimony may get them prosecuted. Take back your streets. Just a thought...


CONGRATULATIONS
A belated congratulations to the 4 school board members who won the election. Betsy Ruch. Jan Potts. Josh Gould and Dan Cushing. Wendy Kelly and Kevin Patinson should also be commended for their efforts.

Vote for Kevin in the election,
Tuesday, November 8th.

CONGRATULATIONS KEVIN
ON YOUR VICTORY!!

Kevin Handforth
I have lived in Schuylkill Township since 1999 and Chester County since 1978.
I believe we need to get the township "Back to the Basics". Which means focus on three things.

  1. Maintaining the roads.
  2. Safety of the residents - police.
  3. Enforcing the Zoning laws.
I believe if we focus on these 3 things and not spend the taxpayers money on frivolous projects we should be able to have a surplus.

Please feel free to email me, click here.

Thank you.

Vote for Kevin in the election,
Tuesday, November 8th.

In spite of signs you may have seen, Kevin is in no way affiliated with Barbara Cohen.

To comment, click here.


Crowded Elementary Schools
The August school board meeting had a discussion about our crowded elementary schools.

Redistricting may be an idea to move students from a crowded class to a less-crowded classroom at another elementary school.

I don't think busing kids for an hour is a solution.

To comment, click here.


9th Grade Academy

The 9th grade Academy was created in 08 to ease the transition of middle school into high school - academically, socially, and emotionally.

For some reason, from Fall 08 to Winter 09, communication between the school board and the administrators was just about nonexistent. Don't any of them have phones, email or text messaging?

Now that goals have not been met, we've had an apology from the admin and finger pointing by the school board.

Please work together to make this program succeed

The Task Force is now done with its work and the meetings were wonderful - we got an incredible amount of work done in a short period of time because we worked collaboratively with ALL students' best interests in mind.


Relay for Life volunteers accused of embezzling

http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/5575407


French Creek Learning Center
Mentioned at a recent pasd board meeting was the fact that there are 20 students at French Creek Learning Center, but the third party institution that is running that school is billing pasd for 50 students.

Given the average cost per student in pasd is approximately $13,000 per student per year , have we been overbilled by $390,000 per year times 7 years equals $2.8 million?

Email comments here.


Who wouldn't like lower school taxes?
I just found out that OJR has a program for senior citizens to help them lower their school taxes. The seniors "work" for the school district as teacher assistants, tutors, all types of help and instead of receiving pay, their school taxes are reduced based on how many hours they work.

I think this is an awesome idea. It keeps the seniors busy when their schedule is light, it helps their taxes and it helps overworked teachers and administration.

Who could have a problem with this? I'm not going to go there, but there's always someone against a great idea.

Here's the link to OJR's program. If they can do this, why can't we?

http://www.ojrsd.com/community/tax.aspx?page=3320

Call PASD administration to see when we can start this program, 484-927-5000. If the taxpayer isn't heard, nothing will happen.

I'd also think this program could be expanded to all ages and all government agencies with a goal of getting tax help for everybody. It won't happen without people getting involved, making phone calls, following up & making some noise. What are you waiting for?

To comment, click here.


Kimberton Handyman
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Email MikeEllis

Forensic Audit Results
The results of a state forensic audit show that PASD employees misappropriated tens of thousands of dollars over the past 5 years.

Read the details in the Pottstown Mercury
http://www.pottsmerc.com/articles/2009/08/23/
news/srv0000006186131.txt

Note that neither the school board nor their council was involved in the investigation. Please don't blame them because many of the former employees no longer work for the school district.

According to a right to know letter to pasd, the cost of the forensic audit was $45,499.57. I think this was well spent. We need to clean up the mess and move forward.


East Pikeland Mobile Park Home
A developer has plans to build a 400-unit mobile home park in East Pikeland. If you don't want higher taxes, get involved and help stop this. Everyone in PASD will be affected thru higher school taxes, utility bills, more cops, more crime. The list goes on and on.

If you don't get involved, they'll build this monster and we'll all pay the price for a long time.

Anonymous said
So let's say there's a thousand kids there for our already crowded schools. They cost $13,000 per kid to send to pasd so that's $13 million added to our $80 million pasd budget.

People in mobile parks don't pay any taxes on their little plots and mobile homes so I guess our school taxes will go up 25% to support this?

To comment, click here.


Public Meeting Behavior
There are no state laws requiring PASD to host public Q&A during their school board meetings. A few more outbursts like on Thursday night, September 17 could end our public forums. This would be a loss for everyone as communication is #1 when it comes to working together as a community.

I really couldn't blame the school board if they omitted public forums because board members are unfairly & publicly accused of nepotism, kickbacks and violating sunshine laws.

To comment, click here.


PEEKABOO
Did Lower Merion School District spy on students via the webcam on their school-issued apple laptops? All the facts aren't in, but it looks shaky.

A student claims a principal approached him about inappropriate activities in his house. The administrator claims they saw the student with drugs via a webcam screenshot taken of the student in his own house. The student says they were Mike & Ike candies. The students family filed a federal lawsuit last week.

Today, 2/24, the administrator vehemently denies the student was monitored calling the accusations "offensive, abhorrent and outrageous." So is the student lying and the whole lawsuit frivolous? Very strange the family owes the IRS and PECO and has been involved in many, many lawsuits...

The school district claims the webcams were remotely accessed only to find lost or stolen laptops.

The FBI and Attourney General are conducting investigations. Glad it's not happening here and hopefully all administrations have learned from this.

We'll hear more facts and they'll be posted here as they happen. More info:

http://news.google.com/news/more?pz=1&cf=all&ned=us&cf=all&ncl=
dHj_7RWlmdlP6zMY1W2hk7wp1o8-M

To comment, click here.


If you can't come to PASD School Board meetings and workshops, email here to make your voice heard on this blog.

School taxes are going up across the country while property values are flat or going down in many areas. Only if you participate in the process can you hope to make a difference.

Thank you for reading. Get involved!