Friday, June 16, 2017

Graduations, Congratulations and a Tax Catastrophe

Photos by Evan Brandt
Air Force Col. Jake Porter, commander of Pottstown High School's Air Force JrROTC Unit PA-951, left, helps Pottstown School Board President Amy Francis affix the 19th consecutive distinguished unit ribbon to the units colors at the beginning of Thursday night's board meeting.

As the school year winds to a close, its not unusual for a school board meeting to be awash in awards and year-end accomplishments and Thursday's meeting was no exception.

The honor guard at work.
In what has become an almost routine accomplishment, remarkable for nearly 20 years of consistency, is the recognition now earned 19 times in a row by the high schools Air Force JrROTC program.

It's called a "distinguished unit" award and is provided to those which have performed above and beyond normal expectations, and that have distinguished themselves through outstanding service to their school and community while meeting the Air Force Junior ROTC mission of producing better citizens for America.

All too often, at school events, community events, it is the  ROTC cadets who are volunteering, setting up, cleaning up and very often providing a note of dignity with a presentation of the flag and the colors.

Keep up the good work cadets!

Also on hand for kudos were graduates of the district's Early College program.

Joe Ruscewicz, executive director of the Foundation for Pottstown Education, which sponsors the program at Montgomery County College, said this is the third year of the program and that 11 students graduated with their freshman year of college under their belts.
Six of the 11 graduates of the Early College program, from left,
Kenil Patel Alivia Lopez, Yuliza Cruz, Kaleah Jeter, Devonna Douglas
and Nyles Rome, 
were at Thursday night's board meeting.

Nyles Rome, president of the Class of 2017 and a student member of the school board, was among them and told the board members that the program gave him confidence he didn't know he was lacking and helped him understand what to expect at college.

Also significantly, "it saved me thousands of dollars," said Rome.

But a dark note wormed its way into the otherwise sunny board meeting -- the potential loss of nearly $1 million in tax revenue.

For a school district already under-funded by $13 million by Pennsylvania's disgrace of a public education funding system -- the most unfair in the country by most measures -- losing another $ million is a hut they literally can't afford.

Board member Thomas Hylton raised the specter and said the district had better begin to prepare for the impact of the pending sale of Pottstown Memorial Medical Center to Reading Health Systems.

Because Reading Health Systems is a non-profit businesses, there is some concern that they may apply for a tax exemption for the hospital property, which is the school district's biggest taxpayer and provides more than $900,000 a year in tax revenue.

Hylton called that loss "a potential catastrophe for this community."

Stay tuned for more on that. 

In the meantime, here are the Tweets you crave.

1 comment:

  1. "losing another $ million is a hut they literally can't afford."--This should have been written as "losing another million $ (or dollars) is a hurt (not hut) they literally can't afford."

    As you have it written it reads "losing another dollar million. . ."