Tuesday, October 30, 2012

United We Stand, Divided We Fall

WCASD School Board Meeting:  Monday, October 22, 2012

Walking into Stetson for this month’s board meeting, it was evident that there would be much less fanfare than the last one.  The teachers weren’t holding a rally in front of the school, gone were the Fox News vans and, thankfully absent, was Mrs. Adsett’s voyeuristic friend with the video camera.  On a side note, I hope that the District continues hold the meetings at a larger venue in the future since it was so much better than cramming everyone into a small room in the Spellman Building.

I always really enjoy hearing the reports from the Student Representatives from our three high schools.  They told us about what was going on in their schools – homecoming events, community service efforts, interesting projects, awards and accolades. They each had a reoccurring theme of school unity.  The students are trying to end the division between the grade levels and work together as one. Brilliant idea!

Unity.  Interesting.  u·ni·ty: the state of being united or joined as a whole; harmony or agreement between people or groups.  One can only wish that our school board can learn a lesson from the students in our District.


There was but one public comment on Agenda items this week.  Matt MacKenzie offered alternatives to closing an elementary school.  The District could: increase class size by 3 students in the elementary schools, ask some students to transfer to different schools, or – my favorite idea – just redistrict EVERY SUMMER.  I’m all for innovative ideas, but really, it’s obvious that he doesn’t have kids in school or understand that these are not feasible options.


On this note, please save the date: Sean Carpenter, chair of Property & Finance Committee,  encouraged all in attendance to attend the 11/19 Property & Finance Committee meeting (held at Spellman, 6:30 PM) to voice opinions/concerns/suggestions on the “10 to 9” plan.


Here is a link to the summary that the school district posted.  All agenda items passed unanimously with the exception of the Personnel Recommendations.  For some reason, Mrs. Snook abstained from voting.


Board President Vince Murphy prefaced public comment with the latest Board statement on negotiations.

Click here for statement.

Mr. Murphy pointed to the recently negotiated Tredyffrin/Easttown School District teacher's contract as a frame of reference. He stated that it should sound familiar because it is the same compensation package that is being offered to our teachers in the WCASD. He would like dialogue that yields results. He stated that the School Board has been waiting for a month for a response from the teacher's union and urged them to "sharpen its pencils and prepare a health insurance proposal and a response to our salary proposal that demonstrates a commitment to balancing achievement and affordability."

Deb Fell, WCAEA (Teacher's Union) President responded during the 2 minute public comment she is permitted to have during the school board
 meeting.  She pointed out that T/E beginning salaries are $51,000; WCASD begins at $46,000. T/E’s top salary is $110,000 while WCASD’s is $99,000. T/E took a salary freeze this year; WCASD took one last year - saving the district $2.6 million. To date, salaries are still frozen. Regarding benefits, T/E is just beginning to pay 9%.  WCASD has been paying 10% for almost 10 years.  The teacher's union has compromised over $19 million dollars during negotiations and has collaborated to save the district more than $10 million in the past 2 years.

Bob Marks, teacher and Teacher Union Representative, stated that the WCAEA has compromised while the School District hasn’t moved at all from their original offer.  Minnie Porter, President of the Support Staff Union, tried to paint of picture of the climate of the support staff.  She said that they would just like to make a living wage and she explained that some employees are on welfare and some work multiple jobs.  They need the benefits they earn, yet their services are currently being threatened with outsourcing.
I requested, once again, for the members of the school board negotiation team to begin attending negotiation sessions.  I called for them to step up to do what is right for our school district and its children.  The members of the School Board's Negotiations Team - Vince Murphy, Sean Carpenter and Karen Miller have not attended a single negotiations session; instead choosing to spend taxpayer money on lawyers and a PR firm to write statements, press releases and updates. In reference to T/E School District, their members were not participating in negotiations sessions with their teacher's union for a long time.  They settled their contract during the very first meeting that they attended. See Patch Article.
Former Board President Rick Swalm paid tribute to Marc Bertrando, our Assistant Superintendent, since he will soon be leaving our District to be Superintendent of the Garnet Valley School District.  Jack Hurd, our Human Resources Director is also leaving the District for a position closer to his home.  Hopefully, this is not the beginning of a mass exodus of administrators being driven away from a school district led by an unreasonable school board with a political agenda that does not take into consideration what is best for the children and education in West Chester.  Members of our current Board may have made political promises to their party in order to get elected, but now that they are school board directors they need to put their personal philosophies aside and serve in a nonpartisan manner.

The question remains if a portion of the $6.5 million the school board expects the teachers to "find" in order to balance the budget includes the 5% the district would like the Union to pay as a service fee for the cost of taking out the dues from their check even though, in reality, the actual cost of performing this service to the District is negligible.   The sticking point in negotiations may be that 5% service fee for payroll deductions which is not done by one other district in the state.  Is this merely a tactic to union bust?  The teachers seem to think so.  The actions of the Board seem to support this view.  Let’s hope that the School Board will step up to their responsibility and do what is best for the entire school district – the taxpayers, the teachers and especially the students.


Please consider contacting the School Board to urge them to attend the next Negotiations session on November 29th.  You can send an email to the School Board Secretary Pauline Bachtle and she will see that the School Board Directors promptly receive it. 

The Teacher's Union made a video with some meeting highlights that is worth watching:

To read more:

Teacher Contract Still Not Settled - West Chester Patch (10/23/12)

West Chester school officials eye T-E settlement - Daily Local News  (10/23/12)


Friday, October 26, 2012

Are Rules Made to be Broken?

October 15th Property and Finance Committee Meeting:

In attendance: Committee Chair Sean Carpenter and members Ed Coyle, Karen Miller, and Linda Raileanu. Also in attendance were Board President Vince Murphy, Maria Pimley, Maureen Snook, and Sue Tiernan. Heidi Adsett was absent, the 2nd consecutive P&F meeting that she has missed. 

It was a relatively short and uneventful meeting.  There have not been any significant changes in the 11/12 Actual, 12/13 Projected, or 13/14 Estimated financials.  The 11/12 year ended with expenses approximately $8M lower than budget, revenues nearly $2M higher than budget, and total fund balances (committed and non-committed) nearly $12M higher than budget.  The 12/13 expenses are currently projected at about $1M lower than budget and revenues about $500k higher.  Our projected 13/14 shortfall remains over $5M; while we have sufficient fund balance to cover that, we do not have enough to cover the significantly larger shortfalls currently projected for the 14/15, 15/16, and 16/17 years without spending cuts and/or increased revenues.

As the Business Office begins more detailed planning for the 13/14 year, Dr. Moore reviewed several factors used during that process:
  • Enrollment projections for the next 5 years remain relatively flat with 13/14 enrollment expected to be 11,649, 38 fewer students than the current year
    • enrollment projections drive building level budgets and staffing needs
    • the flat projections are primarily due to lower births in the district
    • over the last 10 years WCASD enrollment has increased by 97 students
    • the Share of Total Student Population Analysis shows the following:
      • over the last 10 years, total # of students residing in the WCASD borders have decreased 4.6%; within that, students attending district schools has increased almost 1% while students attending non-district schools (e.g., private, parochial) has decreased almost 17%
      • within the population of students attending non-district schools, Religious schools have experienced the largest decline in attendance, falling more than 26%; Alternative schooling (e.g., Glen Mills Day School) were next with a 19% drop, followed by Homeschooling (-12%) and Private (-10%)
      • non-district school categories that experienced increases in attendance included Charter Schools (up 51% from 431 students to 650), Chester County Intermediate Schools such as CAT Pickering and CAT Brandywine (up 191% from 11 to 32 students), and Special Education Schools (up 410% from 21 students to 107) 
  • Building Budgets are comprised of Per Pupil Allocations (PPA) as well as Fixed Activity Budgets for the Secondary Schools
    • the 13/14 PPA factor of $134.20 is the same as the 12/13 school year which was down from $150 in the 09/10 year, $142 in the 10/11, and $143.10 in the 11/12; the schools have been carefully monitoring their spending which has allowed the budgeted amounts to decrease
    • while the PPA factor is the same as the 12/13 year, the total PPA allocation for the 13/14 year of $2.4M is about $27k less due to the lower projected enrollment
    • the total Secondary School Fixed Activity Budget will be $555k, the same as the 12/13 year
    • Rustin will no longer be given a $10k Gate Receipts Supplement due to the installation of lights at the stadium and the resulting expected increase in the school's gate receipts.
Dr. Scanlon discussed the status of the decision whether to close an elementary school.  Twenty-five members from the Space Consolidation Task Force, which was formed during the 2nd Budget Task Force, have reconvened and will be collecting data through November.  This information will be presented to the P&F Committee and then the full Board at their November meetings and a final decision must be made in December.  The data to be collected includes # of students impacted, impact on class size, number of sections per grade level (e.g., how many 3rd grades a school will have), cash flow scenarios, and verification of the previously projected $1.3M/year operational savings from closing a school.  The committee will also be looking at the option of closing 2 schools and building a new one, as well as other possible cost savings measures if a school is not closed. 

Sean Carpenter stated that the predominant criteria for making this decision should be whether the closure of a school is in the best interest of the students of WCASD.  He did qualify, however, that this must include consideration of the fact that any endeavor that saves money will allow for the funding of other initiatives, thus contributing to the best interests of the students.  Ed Coyle pointed out that from a parent perspective, no one is going to be happy to see their school closed, and Maria Pimley questioned how they can truly define what is in the "best interest of the students" since many non-financial, subjective criteria impact this as well.  Maureen Snook stated that she felt this decision was being rushed, and that she thought the East Bradford renovations should be put on hold until a more extensive analysis could be performed.  My perception was that the majority of board members are not fully behind the notion of closing a school, however do feel it is necessary to go through this exercise.

Several members of the public spoke out against the closure of a school, one of whom was former Board Director Terri Clark.  Mrs. Clark stated that the district had closed elementary schools in the past, and that invariably they ended up needing the space down the road.  She also pointed out that research shows that smaller elementary schools with 325-350 pupils are optimal, and so she would not want to see us creating significantly larger schools to accommodate this plan.  It is interesting to note that currently only East Bradford falls within this 325-350 optimal enrollment with 339 students, and this is only due to its headcount being down (after the last redistricting in 2006 it had 439 students).  Additionally, in prior discussions on this topic the administration had stated that it was comfortable with headcount up to about 600, which Starkweather currently exceeds and Hillsdale is nearly at with September enrollment of 596.  No matter what the outcome, the district will still need to go through a redistricting effort since some schools are nearly at full capacity while others are significantly under.  This will occur in either 2015 or 2016 depending on the outcome of the school closure discussion, and student populations will need to be pushed from the southeast part of the district up toward the northwest.     

The last item on the agenda was a presentation on the status of the Penn Wood and Westtown-Thornbury renovations by Facilities Director Kevin Campbell.  The Penn Wood renovations have not been going smoothly.  The first phase was completed just prior to the opening of school and only with the help of district employees who donated their time.  The second phase is currently 2 months behind schedule, and Mr. Campbell has been meeting with the contractors to ensure that Phase 3 will be completed prior to the opening of school next year.  The project is still within budget and the district is seeking damages from the contractor.

Westtown-Thornbury's renovations, on the other hand, have been progressing very smoothly and there was no issue with completing Phase 1 prior to the start of school.  Phase 2 is progressing easily as well and is expected to complete on or ahead of schedule which will allow some movement into the new spaces over winter break.  Included in Phase 3 is the renovation of the kitchen, and the district is currently working with the contractors  to allow this portion of work to start early due to the magnitude of work to be performed.  It sounded as though this could impact the school's ability to serve lunches while school is in session, although this was not said outright so don't quote me.  Both Westtown-Thornbury and Penn Wood's renovations are expected to be completed in August of 2013, in time for the start of the 13-14 school year.

Other interesting tidbits....
Usually at the end of the committee meetings, the Committee Chair will ask if there are any other questions or comments.  However, after the last agenda item at this meeting, Sean Carpenter moved to adjourn.  He said it was due to an Executive Meeting scheduled to occur following the P&F, however none of the board members moved out of the room too quickly following the adjournment.  Dot Krikorian did chime in and asked if there was any update on negotiations since the 2 sides had recently met yet there had not been a press release from the board as had been occurring until this point.  Mr. Carpenter deferred to Mr. Murphy, who stated that there was no update but that some form of communication would be forthcoming (which we can assume was the statement read at the 10/22 Board Meeting where we also learned that the 2 sides will not meet again until 11/29).

I had a question that I wanted to ask as well, but did not get a chance.  Policy KBCC Board Meeting News Coverage deals with the Board’s interactions with the media.  The last paragraph of the policy states that “When individual Board members receive requests from news media representatives for information about Board opinions, members shall refer the information-seekers to the Board President who shall be public spokesperson for the Board except as he/she delegates this responsibility to others.”  When I had previously inquired regarding Mrs. Adsett’s interview with Fox News following the September Board Meeting, Mr. Murphy stated, “Regarding the Fox news report and Ms. Adsett speaking on behalf of the school board, she was not my choice to speak for the board. I didn’t know she was speaking until I saw her being interviewed while I was walking into the board meeting”.  Clearly the Board President had not delegated this responsibility to Mrs. Adsett, nor did she decline the interview and refer the Fox news reporter to Mr. Murphy.  Since I did not get to ask this question at the meeting, I emailed Mr. Murphy and Dr. Scanlon.  While I have corresponded with Dr. Scanlon on the subject, I never received a response from Mr. Murphy and don’t expect to.  Really, what could he say?  There is no doubt that the policy was broken, it’s pretty straightforward.  So what is one to do about a School Board Director who does not follow the rules she has been entrusted to enforce?  What indeed….

Saturday, October 13, 2012

To transform feelings into actions

October Pupil Services Meeting:

Pupil Services begins with an informative presentation from Mr. Scott Van Vooren  from the Transformational Education Academy (TEA). The Lincoln Center, an alternative education provider in partnership with WCASD, runs the TEA, which has a beautiful home in the Charles A. Melton Arts & Education Center on East Miner Street.  

 What is transformational education?  From the Lincoln Center website:

“Transformational Education (Trans Ed) is an educational approach focused on the personal growth and development of the whole person towards their becoming a critically thinking individual, empowered with the values and skills essential for successful living and participation in family and community life… one filled with caring, contribution, and commitment... The Trans Ed curriculum is student-centered, wherein teachers and counselors act as facilitators in creating self-paced, experiential lessons designed to appeal to the multiple intelligences and diverse learning styles of students.”

Mr. Van Vooren discusses the need for multiple certification of staff members to deal with the “multiple intelligences and diverse learning styles of students” and also the importance of the staff working together on a daily basis.  All in  attendance are provided with the TEA@WC (Trans Ed Academy at West Chester) September 2012 Comprehensive Report.   
Mrs. Snook cites a phrase from the report: “TLC’s wisdom principles incorporate the personal values of caring, contribution, and commitment, the life skills of vision, courage and will and the growth processes of struggle, transformation and enlightenment” , and questions “what is enlightenment?”  Mr. Van Vooren explains that many TEA students have never had a healthy relationship or home experience that many in WCASD take for granted.  Their “norm” may indeed be “struggle “, which is  transformed through the educational process and ideally ends in enlightenment.   
There are questions about expenses and enrollment from Dr. Pimley.  Mr. Van Vooren defers to Dr. Ranieri for expenses:  between $350-400,000.00 is spent per year on the program and the program attempts to “max out” at 25 students, but has 32 students “throughout the year”.   
Mrs. Tiernan interjects with a short history of alternative education in the District: prior to the Trans Ed Academy, alternative education students were sent to different locations.  In contracting with the Lincoln Center and utilizing space at the Melton Center, our students have a home in their district community.  Mrs. Tiernan admits it is a difficult concept to fathom…until one actually visits.  We are told the Board is planning a visit to TEA@WC on October 24.  We wish the Board a healthy journey to  “enlightenment” at TEA  and thank the TEA staff for their continued commitment and passion.   

Meeting ends with a brief discussion of previously introduced Board Goals*.  Going forward, it is hoped that all agenda items will  “fit” within Board goals.

Education Committee meeting:

The entire meeting was devoted to recent  Student Achievement Reports, a subject we have all been inundated with in the past weeks.   District parents received both a  detailed email and  lengthy automated phone call on the subject,  illuminating  both District accomplishments and areas of need.  At the Education meeting, the reports were presented in a creative “gallery walk” style, and most were grateful for this detailed and time-efficient delivery method.  Meeting attendees were broken into groups and travelled to 4 separate areas to hear reports from supervisors in those areas:  Math from Ian Kerr  , English Language Arts from Susan Elliott, Special Education by  Dr. Ranieri and Lisa Phifer, and  Science from Paul Joyce.   Before our stroll,  Dr. Bertrando  supplied paper and encouraged all to submit questions which will be used to develop an achievement FAQ section on District website. 

On the subject of achievement,approximately 140 people attended a screening of the film “Race to Nowhere: The Dark Side of America’s Achievement Culture” on October 11 at East High School.  The film was co-sponsored by the WCASD Parent Teacher Organization Council  and West Chester Communities That Care, and is an effective catalyst for eliciting community response to the sometimes negative impact of our “culture of achievement”.  The film was highly advertised and Dr. Scanlon respectfully "plugged" the screening at September's Board meeting, yet only one Board member was in attendance. The documentary presents testimony from educators,  parents, education experts, and students who depict “an education system in which cheating has become commonplace; students have become disengaged; stress-related illness, depression and burnout are rampant; and young people arrive at college and the workplace unprepared and uninspired”. 
The discussion panel included  our WCASD superintendent, a district athletic director, 2 district guidance counselors, a student representative, and a private practice counselor. Public comment was overwhelmingly positive and conclusive:  we are all responsible for this culture and can do our part to change it.   A parent/coach commented that he needed to think, on a daily basis, how he portrays himself to his children, questioning if he is guilty of exemplifying the negative side of our American achievement culture. Nearly everyone in attendance could relate  to the parent who told the story of her 4 year old begging her to “get off the ‘puter, Mom”.   A mother/teacher emotionally shared  her “guilt” in succumbing to behaviors conveyed in the film with her older children and told the audience that it may not be “too late” for the rest of us.   
This was my second viewing of the film. In both instances, the epiphanies shared by most  in attendance are beyond description: the self-realization of the culture that we, on a daily basis, contribute to and complain about,  yet rarely think about stopping, and when/if we do, feel powerless to do so.  However, what was unanimous in West Chester,  and  very different from my first experience seeing the film, was the realization that we, as a community, can and must do something.   In the end, the evening was the advent of what will  hopefully  become an ongoing dialogue between all responsible adults involved in the education, guidance and health of our children. 

Nationally, there are numerous grassroots organizations affecting positive change to America’s  “achievement culture”. So, as we wait for West Chester to mobilize and rise to the challenge of truly transforming our educational system, please read up.
The National Center for Fair and Open Testing is a superb resource with numerous  easy to understand “fact sheets”.  The Center reminds us that the “same old firms”, such as Pearson, Educational Testing Service and CTB/McGraw-Hill,  produce  the “new” common core tests.  United Opt Out also “follows the money” to see exactly who benefits most from the standardized testing of our children.

Did you know it is your constitutional right to opt out of standardized testing?   

In  Texas, more than 360 school boards have successfully passed high-stakes testing resolutions.

Since June, more than 17,000 people have petitioned the National PTA to advocate for healthy homework guidelines.

On October 17, join the Campaign for Our Public Schools, which is asking everyone who cares about public education - students, parents, teachers, principals, school board members, and concerned citizens – to write to the President and tell him what needs to change in his education policies.   Click for sample letters.  You can mail copies of your letters to The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 20500 or send them by email.

On October 22, attend the WCASD Board meeting, 7:30 PM at Stetson Middle School and keep the conversation to "end the race" going. 


The greatest happiness is to transform one’s feelings into action. Madame de Stael

*Of interest, the aforementioned Board Goals section on Student Achievement:

Goal: The number of students taking and passing an AP course will increase by 2%
Assessment:  The number of students taking an AP course will increase from 1179 to 1200.

Goal: The number of students participating in an activity will remain at or near 2011/12 levels.
Assessment: The board will establish a baseline for participation.

Goal: The number of students scoring advanced on PSSA will result in WCASD ranking in the top 10% state-wide in terms of percentage of students scoring advanced.
Assessment:WCASD will rank in top 10% in state on Advanced Scores.

Goal: The District will establish a relationship with the nation’s top universities.
Assessment: A baseline data report will be made tracking what colleges students are applying and where they are being accepted.  Develop a survey for recent graduates.





Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Two Monologues Do Not Make a Dialogue

WCASD School Board Meeting, Monday, September 24, 2012

I find it difficult to encapsulate last week’s School Board meeting.  There are so many layers of dismay and disbelief about the chain of events.  Walking into the building I was greeted by a few of my teacher friends who had just finished their rally and was given a hug by one of the policemen that I knew before I walked in the door.  I made my way through the hallways with my son’s former teacher who was asking me about his transition to high school.  The room was abuzz with activity. Administrators preparing for the meeting, taxpayers signing up for public comment, Fox news reporters, and another man setting up a video camera behind our school board directors so that he can record those brave enough to speak at the meeting.
This man was brought to our school district by one of our school board directors, the “WCASB VP” to be exact.  Were they creating a log of taxpayer issues and concerns so that they could find ways to understand them?  No, they were collecting footage to create political YouTube videos of themselves about “forced unionism” and their desire to bust teacher unions in Pennsylvania.

Here are the links to the two videos they created using two taxpayers in our district.

How can this be allowed? You may ask.  Surely there must be a policy against it.  Apparently not.  Mr. Murphy, the WCASB President, opened the meeting with a statement regarding Mrs. Adsett’s “Letter to the Editor” that was published in the Daily Local News.  He basically said that although she was using her title as “WCASB VP” her opinions expressed were hers alone and that she does not speak for the Board.

But then again, Mr. Murphy offered his own opinion in the DLN earlier in the day…
Would  this be considered to be the “official” opinion of the Board?  I don’t think so. Seems more of an individual opinion followed by stating the biographical fact that he is the school board president.  It’s all so confusing.

The School District sent out a meeting summary that pretty much covers all the official business.  Click here if you haven’t already seen it.

The only commentary to offer about the school business part of the meeting was for the approval of a salary adjustment for administrative staff and non-union employees to equate to the 1.7% Act 1 Index.  Mrs. Snook went into a lengthy diatribe about the military looking at salary cuts and how her son was in the military and would not receive the same relocation reimbursement as in the past.  Mrs. Adsett asked Dr. Moore, our business manager, to explain the budget deficit for the next couple of years. (0 next year, $11.6 million deficit in 14/15 (due to PSERS balloon payment), $5.3 million deficit in 15/16 (PSERS again), and a surplus of $1.9 million in 16/17).  Ed Coyle pointed out that the salary adjustment was a contractual obligation to “bring people up to market”.  Snook and Adsett voted against both agenda items, but they passed 7-2.

To begin the Committee Reports, Mrs. Snook tells us that the General Assembly only reconvened on September 24, so she does not have much to report at this time.  Charter/cyber reform legislation is on the table and Mrs. Tiernan will address that topic later in the meeting (referencing the Board’s letter to legislators).  

So with really nothing to report, Mrs. Snook continues, telling those in attendance we can expect many changes at the end of 2012, including paying more taxes, some of us up to  $4000 more.  While most in attendance realized Mrs. Snook was most likely referring to the "fiscal cliff" we face as Bush tax credits expire and sequestration looms, one notices many puzzled faces and hears whispers of “where did she get the $4000?” and  “is that true?”  As a service to you, we tried our best to come up with a source for the amount cited by Mrs. Snook.

Interestingly, a blog in the Wall Street Journal, a paper Mrs. Snook has been known to cite in the past, contains a calculator for readers to see just how much more we can expect to pay, pointing out the fact that, “Workers only are charged payroll taxes on the first $110,100 of income, so whether your income is $110,101 or $110 million the most your 2013 increase can be is $2,202.”

The $4000 continues to evade us in articles that list potential tax increases by state: http://taxfoundation.org/article/how-states-would-be-affected-extension-bush-tax-cuts-and-other-provisions
With neither resource nor salary example referenced, the “$4000” potential tax increase remains, in our minds, a big scary number thrown out to a large and emotional crowd.  
In mid-October, Mrs. Snook will be attending the PA School Boards Association Leadership Conference on behalf of WCASD.

Over the summer, Mrs. Tiernan spearheaded the writing of a letter to send to legislators to call for reforms and mandates to charter schools.  See letter here.  She explained the various issues and what needed to change and most board members seemed to be in agreement. Thank you to Sue Tiernan for not giving up when the other board members originally tried to blow you off!

And then, our favorite part, the public comments…

I sat a little to the left of a fringe group of Republican Committee People.  They were clad in red clothing (the teachers were as well although for very different reasons).  They were eagerly awaiting their time at the microphone to, as I overheard, “give it to them”.  Matt McKenzie was the first to go.  Waste begets more waste, he proclaimed.  He called for more reductions in expenses while improving services in the district.  A few others spoke in support of Mrs. Adsett as well as calling for the entire board to take a stand against unions.  However, not all those that spoke up were in favor of how Mrs. Adsett was conducting herself.  If you checked out the YouTube video, Donna Ross called for Mrs. Adsett’s resignation from the Board – much to the horror of the folks to my right.

A few teachers, who are also West Chester residents, spoke to ask for the members of the school board negotiations team to begin actually attending the sessions.  I also commented about it.  I just think it’s ridiculous that not only do we have to pay the attorney to go to the meeting, but then we have to pay him to debrief the school board negotiations team.  They could save the district a lot of money if they just went to listen for themselves. See my comment here.

A few parents spoke about the possible closing of an elementary school.  They didn’t want to see the loss of any neighborhood schools and the flexibility that comes with it.  Sean Carpenter encouraged them to attend the next P&F Meeting.

Dr. Rick Swalm paid a lovely tribute to our dear Mr. Jim Smith.  Thank you, Rick, for sharing this with us.  Jim Smith was part of our West Chester VOTE team.  When we were looking for someone with experience and knowledge to run for school board, he stepped up to the plate.  We will forever be changed for the better for knowing him.

The aftermath:

9/24/12:           West Chester Teachers Rally For New Contract – Fox News

West Chester Teachers Rally for a New Contract - Patch

9/25/12:           West Chester Area teachers rally for a contract Hundreds gather in West Goshen - DLN

9/27/12:            Heidi Adsett’s counterpart – Simon Campbell– sends an email to all teachers in our school district.  He had previously submitted a RTK (Right to Know) Request to the District to receive all teacher’s school email addresses.

He also submitted a RTK request at the beginning of the school year to get a copy of all PTO budgets.  They were trying to link the PTOs to funding West Chester VOTE.  Our Administrators spent a day gathering this information instead of tending to district business.