Not much to ap­pre­ci­ate with Perk Val­ley School Board

The Mercury (Pottstown, PA) - - LOCAL NEWS - —Richard Bouher Perkiomen

In re­sponse to the pre­sen­ta­tion by the board pres­i­dent at the Jan. 7 School Board Meet­ing in Perkiomen Val­ley, and the “high­light­ing” of their achieve­ments this year, I would like to of­fer a coun­ter­point.

Jan­uary is School Board Ap­pre­ci­a­tion Month, and let me list the things I am grate­ful for at Perkiomen Val­ley School Dis­trict.

1. I am thank­ful that you have wasted a year be­fore start­ing full-day kinder­garten at the Ti­tle 1 schools. You have en­gaged in “com­mu­nity” meet­ing (same 12 peo­ple) even though ad­min­is­tra­tors as well as ev­ery study done has in­di­cated that this is needed. As op­posed to do­ing a case study, you want to in­stall it in ev­ery school, bur­den­ing the tax­pay­ers with ad­di­tional staff that are needed.

2. I am thank­ful that you chose to keep the po­si­tions in the bud­get, once again bur­den­ing the tax­pay­ers, for full-day kinder­garten, but in­stead added coun­selors and men­tal health pro­fes­sion­als. Cre­ative Health or any other men­tal health care provider would have pro­vided these ser­vices for free (they get paid via Ac­cess Billing to the state). Since the board is now made up of “pro­fes­sion­als in the men­tal health field” you should know bet­ter.

3. I am thank­ful you choose to ig­nore the pre­vi­ous board’s fa­cil­ity plan, and in­stead en­gag­ing ar­chi­tects and test­ing agen­cies to pro­vide you with an­other “master plan.”

The fruits of your la­bor were to spend $46,000 in fees, cre­ate panic in the dis­trict due to re­dis­trict­ing con­ver­sa­tions, added $210,000 in con­struc­tion costs (3 per­cent es­ca­la­tion in $7 mil­lion in con­struc­tion costs), get a pro­posal for a new $20 mil­lion school. The end re­sult? Right back to where the old board was, en­gag­ing the same firm to do the same ESCO you ig­nored a year ago.

4. I am thank­ful that you pro­vided a con­tract to the sup­port staff that in­cludes no ad­di­tional health care costs, even though they go up ev­ery year, as well as a 4 per­cent salary in­crease yearly for three years.

You quan­ti­fied this by say­ing they have not had pay raises in four years, yet the last con­tract had bonuses vs. pay raises, which they ne­go­ti­ated.

The num­bers are not sus­tain­able for this group, let alone the teach­ers group that is com­ing up.

A 4 per­cent raise for the teach­ers group (cur­rently be­ing car­ried in the pro­posed 2019-2020 bud­get) is in ex­cess of the Act 1 in­dex, and will re­quire ex­cep­tions to be taken, even though they re­al­ized $4.5 mil­lion in “ex­tra” bud­get dol­lars last year.

5. What I am truly grate­ful for is that five po­si­tions are up for elec­tion come this fall, and we have a chance to cor­rect these er­rors be­fore the dam­age to the dis­trict this board is do­ing be­comes ir­re­versible.

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