School Board Meeting
December 13, 2018
The Avon Grove School Board met on Thursday, December 13th. School Board members include: Ms Tracy Lisi (Chair), Mr John Auerbach, Mr Charles Beatty, Mr Jeff Billig, Mr Rick Dumont, Mr Herman Engel, Ms Lynn Weber, Mr Bill Wood, and Ms Bonnie Wolff. All were present at the meeting except Mr Billig and Mr Beatty.
The agenda can be found at https://www.boarddocs.com/pa/avongrove/Board.nsf/Public
The meeting began with a presentation by Avon Grove Intermediate School students on Social and Emotional Learning. There were no Committee reports but the Student report was significant because it stated that IDs for High School Students need to be displayed starting December 1st.
Concerning the School Board Meeting Minutes of November 15, 2018, Mr Dumont asked if the actual Parameters Borrowing Resolution for the issuance of General Obligation Bonds in the maximum aggregate principle amount of $139,000,000 will be in the minutes and available to the public. Superintendent Marchese responded that this has not been the practice of the Board as it is very voluminous and difficult to understand. He would rather discuss this at another time.
The Superintendent’s Report included the following:
School enrollment is 5076 students with an additional 836 students in the Charter School.
Architects met with the High School students to get their input on the design of the new High School.
A spending ceiling of $127 million has been approved for the new school facilities.
There are currently 55 senior volunteers.
The school security presentation by the Chester County DA has been translated into Spanish.
There will be a Board Retreat on January 5th.
A first look at the budget for 2019-2020 will be at the January Finance Committee meeting.
Mr Dumont asked to read a statement. Ms. Lisi reluctantly allowed it but insisted that this is not normal procedure. Mr Dumont had concerns about the statement read by Ms Lisi at the December 6th Organizational meeting that was not discussed or approved by the Board. Mr Dumont would like the December 6th statement re-issued as a statement from the President only. Ms Weber and Mr Auerbach supported Mr Dumont’s request.
Ms Lisi responded that as the President she can issue a statement on behalf of the Board. Superintendent Marchese finally entered this debate and further reinforced Ms Lisi’s right to issue a statement not fully approved by all board members, and also said that all Board members have a responsibility to correct false information in the public domain. As stated in the AGTRS summary of the December 6th meeting, Ms Lisi’s statement did not refute any information we have posted. The opinions Ms Lisi offered simply provide her viewpoints on the items we reported. In the case of the vote to approve the issuance of General Obligation Bonds in the maximum aggregate principle amount of $139 million, it provides background information on parameter resolutions that was not previously presented to the public.
There was one public comment by a resident stating that even if it was past practice not to publish resolutions, the District has never borrowed this much money either. The Parameters Borrowing Resolution should be made available to the public even if there is only one person who can understand it. The Avon Grove School District has a serious issue with transparency and needs to do a better job communicating relevant information to residents - not just the information that is positive to them.
*Call to Action
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