Avon Grove Taxpayers for Responsible Spending


        Citizens, Parents, and Schools working together to bring Avon Grove into the 21st Century!

School Board Meeting
February 22, 2018

The School Board met on Thursday, February 22nd and heard the following committee reports.  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 for Mr Beatty and Mr Billig.

The full meeting agenda is available here:

Committee Reports:

Facilities- Feb 13th meeting has been covered in a previous post.  The administration has no plans to make improvements in the High School including bathrooms and the roof until an overall plan has been agreed for all school facilities.

Finance- Feb 13th meeting has been covered in a previous post.  Mr Marchese continues to express his concerns about the loss of tax revenue due to the hospital’s request to be considered a not for profit hospital.  In the short term, the school district will receive an additional $1.5 million due to a transfer tax associated with the sale of the hospital.

Personnel- several issues will be covered in the executive session.  The retirement of Barbara Perzel, the personal Assistant to Dr. Marchese was noted.

Co-curricular- no report was provided.

Communications/Community Engagement - Twenty-one members of the newly formed Foundation are ready to be seated and begin work as of July 1. They will meet before July 1st and develop their strategic plan.  Mr. Wood mentioned that the district plans to launch a Facebook Page but it will only be one way communication until they have a person in place to manage 2 way communications.
Committee of the Whole (COTW) – Feb 8th meeting has been covered in a previous post.  The school board agreed that they want all the modular classrooms to be removed though there was no consensus on the timing of when they should be removed.  The next COTW meeting will take place on February 27th.  How the new facilities will be financed will be discussed at that meeting. 
Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU) – The funding formula for the CCIU has been revised which should result in lower costs to the Avon Grove School District.

 Legislative- nothing significant to report.

 Student Reports:
There will be a Yard Sale on March 3rd.  Donations can be dropped off starting March 1st.
Students met with Mr Scott DeShong (High School Principal) to discuss their safety concerns.  The students suggested having IDs and that no one is admitted to the buildings until their identity is verified.
Students will walk out for 17 minutes in solidarity with the Parkland Florida students on March 14th.  This is a nationwide movement and the Administration is working with students to develop an approach that does not compromise safety during this event.

Addendum Items:
Mr Wood asked for a better process for Charter School renewal.  He felt it was handled poorly the last time. He was told there are four years to work on it.  He is seeking to add more detail on what is expected of AGCS into the policy to avoid the circumstances that occurred with the last renewal.  This policy will return to committee for further review.
The policy being discussed is 
There was discussion of whether School Board Members could attend meetings remotely. Mr Wood stated that the technology is not there yet.  The topic was referred back to committee.
The policy being discussed is 

New Business:
 A resolution in opposition to SB 2 was passed 4-3.  SB2 would provide some funding to parents of students in the worst performing schools within the state (note: the school retains the majority of the funding).  The funding would allow parents to pay for alternative schooling for their children.  Mr Auerbach, Mr Dumont, and Ms Weber voiced their opposition to the resolution.

Senate Bill 2 is available
The motion voted on is

Superintendent’s Report:
Town Hall meetings may be scheduled to discuss facilities.
Security- Mr Marchese stated that the State Police are active in the school. There is a buzzer system and extensive camera coverage.  Fencing has been installed at the modular classrooms to deter exterior entrance.
A Safety Committee has been formed to address ongoing concerns.
There will be training of substitute teachers in the safety protocols.

Public Comment:
Multiple students expressed concerns about safety in the High School.  One young man pointed out that in the budget there was $250,000 allotted for security in the high school which had not been used. They pointed out that people are buzzed into the building and wait in the lobby until they are verified.  There were concerns that the people are already in the building.  One student wants bullet proof glass in any new school.

Two members of the public expressed their concerns regarding school board members who support school vouchers. 

*Call to Action*
It is clear from this meeting that taxes will continue to rise unless the school board steps in and forces the administration to control costs.  It is critical that community members have their voices heard by the school board.  Please consider attending upcoming school board meetings and/or sending letters via e-mail to the school board members.  

Calendar for upcoming meetings can be found here. 

E-mail links to the school board can be found here

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