Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Stadiums, New Superintendents and School Choice

The stadium at Boyertown Area Senior High School is currently closed to the public
It's probably safe to say that both the school board and parents who attended Tuesday's meeting hoping to get some glimpse of how long the district will have to go without the use of its structurally-challenged stadium left the meeting disappointed.

Tom Slowik, from the firm of Barry Isett & Assoc. outlined some proposed fixes for the stadium -- specifically a steel "exo-skeleton" as one board member put it, for the underside of the stadium and brick fixes and extra fasteners for the brick facade.

But the unanswered question is how bad are the pre-stressed concrete forms that hold up the seats and the riders?

The problem, said Slowik, is that the condition of the cables in the interior of the concrete is unknown and requires special testing from a special lab that could take several weeks. The absence of that information prevented him from giving either the school board or the anxious parents in the audience the two answers they crave -- how much? and how long?

Some of the parents conceded that with the timeline expanding the way it seems to be, it would be unlikely the stadium would be ready by the fall athletic season and alternative plans -- like using the stadium at Ursinus College, which plays on Saturdays -- should be explored.

Several board members spent some time explaining why the problems at the stadium -- stewing for as long as 10 years -- are not their fault.

Also of interest was the announcement by School Board President Donna Usavage that Juniata School District Superintendent Keith Yarger is the leading contender to be Boyertown's new superintendent. Richard Faidley resigned last year.

Yarger will visit on April 23 and the public will be invited to meet him, details to follow.

And in the guess-what-else department, Usavage also allowed the board to propose and pass a resolution not on the agenda and suggested by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association in opposition to proposed Senate Bill 2.

The bill would allow students in failing districts to take their state subsidy and go elsewhere, including a private school. The resolution passed 6-3, but not without some spirited opposition from board member Clay Breece.

Here are the Tweets from the meeting:

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