Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Student Artist, Tax Loss, Relay for Life Questions

Photo by Evan Brandt
Lower Pottsgrove Elementary Fifth Grader Avery Huber received this certificate as a result of her artwork being selected for a state-wide anti-drug poster published by the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office. she was recognized Tuesday by the Pottsgrove School Board.

As is so often the case, the item most likely to generate headlines from last night's Pottsgrove School Board meeting was no where on the agenda.

It was essentially a re-hash of a discussion the school board had last year when asked by the Relay for Life of Pottstown for permission to once again use the stadium at Pottsgrove High School.

That permission was granted, and that has not changed, but questions were raised about using a public facility to raise money for an organization, the American Cancer Society, which some feel is less about research and more about paying salaries to its executives.

This is no small question given that the Pottstown Relay is among the five largest in the world and regularly raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for the charity.

Perhaps the only new rhetorical point raised was offered by Patricia Grimm, a long-time and enthusiastic supporter of the Relay for Life. She argued that if the board is going to start questioning the effectiveness and finances of organizations which rent its facilities, it will have to do so evenly.

That means asking the wrestling tournament how much money it raises and how its spent. "If we do it for one, we have to do it for all of them," she said.

A loop-hole however, was identified by solicitor Marc Davis who pointed out that the district policy is not to rent its football stadium, so the Relay's use of it puts it in a different category.

The whole emotional subject was raised by Business Manager Dave Nester, also a supporter, who said that the Relay organizers "are nervous" and, looking ahead to future years, wanted to know if they should start looking elsewhere to hold the Relay.

Ultimately, the board decided to invite a representative from the American Cancer Society to address the board at a future meeting, although a date was not set.

In other news that affects your pocket book, the board approved settlements on three assessment appeals for three year's worth of taxes that will require refunds of more than $200,000.

Two of the properties making appeals include the former Thriftway in Sanatoga, now home to Landis Market, as well as the strip center perpendicular to that building which runs along High Street.

The third property is on Laura Lane in Upper Pottsgrove.

The board also heard, and endorsed, a presentation on reaching out earlier to families of incoming kindergarten students to help reduce the achievement gap often experienced by those raised in low-income households.

That's the wrap for now, here are the Tweets:

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