Not much to appreciate with Perk Valley School Board
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.