Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Suspension of PHS Uniform Policy Extended

Mercury File Photo
Are school uniforms a thing of the past at Pottstown High School? Sort of.

I won't beat around the bush, I know why you're all here.

Although the school board left it to the very last item, I won't.

Yes, the school board voted 5-4 Monday night to continue its suspension of the uniform policy at Pottstown High School at least until the end of the year.

Unlike the discussion last week, in which board members assumed the vote would be to life the uniform requirements permanently, a motion to "suspend" the policy further magically appeared on Monday's agenda.

Board members Amy Francis, Andrew Kefer, Mary-Beth Bacallao and Board President Judyth Zahora constituted the nay votes.

As board member Tom Hylton explained, with the motion "we're suspending, not ending" the uniform policy.

He said with a new principal coming into the high school, (Danielle McCoy was unanimously hired Monday night); and new board members, it makes sense to continue to examine the results of the suspension before making a final decision.

Board member Amy Francis, who was integral to the adoption of the policy in the first place, said she was at least pleased to see more data would be collected and a decision put off.

Also on Monday night's agenda, a $57 million budget which does not raise taxes was unanimously approved.

And apparently some of the pre-publicity about the raises approved last night put at least one of them off-track, with the board tabling a $10,000 raise for transportation supervisor Lisa Schade.

Not put off was a new 3-year contract for Business Manager Linda Adams. The details of that contract were missing from the district web site until just before the vote.

And although the agenda listed every last paltry stipend for every staffer who will help produce "The Wiz" next year at the high school, Adams's salary and details had to be hunted down.

For those willing to troll down to page 189 of the board exhibits (I am not making that number up), the details are now laid out, and also now final.

It includes a salary for the coming year of $138,119 plus annual raises in the coming years matched to the increase of the Philadelphia-area consumer price index, plus a half-percent.

Perhaps more significant than the salary increases is the $15,000 we taxpayers will contribute every year to her retirement fund, as well as 30 vacations days a year.

Of equal (or perhaps greater) note to taxpayers was the appearance of Beth Yoder, art teacher and president of the Pottstown Federation of Teachers.

She told the board that the announcement of a 0 tax increase budget was a "slap in the face" to the teachers and an indication that reaching an agreement with the union, who contract ends in eight weeks, "is not a priority."

She said with the increase in health care costs and the absence of significant percentage raises., near 25 percent of the district's teachers, including those who have helped make Pottstown High School the second-best performing urban high school in the state are taking home less money than they were several years ago.

The teaching staff is depressed and demoralized by the fact that administrators get automatic annual increases and benefits that they do not, and will find it increasingly difficult to find motivation to do their best for Pottstown students under these circumstances.

"It's getting harder to work as hard as our children deserve," she said.
Without further ado, here are the Tweets from Monday night's meeting.

1 comment:

  1. Why not post the full compensation package of all the employees of the school district, this way the people will know what is going on. Telephone conversations to vote is a Joke. Also put the administration contracts on the internet so all can see them, school boards like to fool the people and keep them in the dark. A 10,000.00 raise is almost 200 dollars a week. Inform the people who pay the bills..