Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A New Board Member and Hidden Raises

Photos by Evan Brandt
Susan Lawrence.
The Pottstown School Board chose life-time Pottstown resident and former high school valedictorian Susan Lawrence as the newest member of the school board last night.

She was chosen over former board member Bonita Barnhill, who earned only vote from from the board.

Lawrence will replace Andrew Kefer, whose resignation from the board became official on Sept. 30.

Lawrence will be sworn in at the next school board meeting.

As Kefer was the board's vice president when he resigned, the board also had to act to elect a new vice president. The unanimous choice was Amy Francis, who was nominated by board member Ron Williams. There were no other nominations.
Mr. Woodley accepts his award from Stephen Rodriquez.

The board also moved ahead, by a split 4-3 vote, to proceed with a design phase and request for bid to improve the over-used fields along North Franklin Street.

And there were more than a few awards handed out.

David Woodley, was given a superintendent's award for his formation of the Management Information Systems team, as well as his work with the Trojan Man mascot and its use in boosting school spirit.

And then, Rupert Elementary School Principal Matt Moyer got up and announced that Preservation Pennsylvania had awarded the "Sustainability and Historic Preservation Award" to the school district for its preservation of the key architectural elements of the district's oldest school, built in 1928.

One of the main reasons for the award was that Rupert has been made energy efficient in its most recent renovation. Rupert also graced the cover of the program for the evening, said Moyer.
Acting Superintendent Stephen Rodriguez and
Rupert Principal Matt Moyer with the preservation award.

Let's see..... was there anything else ...?

Oh yeah, buried in the agenda, which was not available for the public Monday night for inexplicable reasons, was a small item about "approval of salaries."

Not "raises," but "salaries." Really?

If you check out the agenda on the school district web site, and you are willing to dig, you will find the item with three PDF's attached.

It shows new salaries for the support staff, non-union workers and "Act 93" workers, who are the administrators.

But even then, it tells you little.

Because rather than put last year's salary and the new salary, and the increase out there like grown-ups, the administration continues its practice of presenting only the new salary, giving you no fram of reference.

So we'll have to dig and dig and dig. Their reward for playing being less than transparent will be a story on the front page of The Mercury -- a story which might otherwise have been very routine.

This district talks about "transparency" and trying to get people involved, but this school district still makes secrecy its default position, while they spend more than $60 million of your money.

A hat's off to School Board Director Kurt Heidel for at least informing the public that the raise, for one year, represents a 4 percent hike. At least he had enough respect for the public to tell them how much more of their money the district will be spending.

Board members Thomas Hylton and Ron Williams cast the only votes against the raises.

Otherwise, enjoy the Tweets.

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