Avon Grove Taxpayers for Responsible Spending


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

Special School Board Meeting
August 13, 2018

The School Board met on Monday, August 13th to approve contracts for the new school project.   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 Board members were present along with the Administration and the Avon Grove District Solicitor. 

This meeting was scheduled so that the board would have the opportunity to review the actual contracts they were approving.  This occurred because board members Weber, Dumont, Auerbach and Beatty along with members of the public expressed dismay over proposals to authorize contract before they were finalized at meetings on June 26th and July 9th.

Contracts for Construction Supervision and Architect
The meeting started with Ms Lisi (Chair) making a motion to approve the contracts on the agenda.  The motion was seconded.  Mr. Beatty indicated he had some questions to ask before the vote.  There was a significant push back from a number of board members against even hearing Mr. Beatty’s questions.  A good bit of time was spent discussing the merits and timing of the question which included a failed motion to limit further discussion and a suggestion that some members of the board were seeking to delay the project by any means available.

Mr. Beatty’s questions were asked and answered in less time than the discussion about asking them with the assistance of the Distirict’s solicitor.  The the Board voted 9-0 to approving the contracts. 

ACE Grant for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification
At the August 9th School Board retreat meeting, M. Arif Fazil from D’Huy Engineering presented to the School Board an opportunity to apply for a $2 million grant to construct the new high school with alternative and clean energy practices.   It was agreed to decide whether to pursue this grant at this school board meeting.

From the discussion it was determined that applying for the grant does not guarantee that it will be approved.  The application process requires effort from D’Huy Engineering (Construction Management Firm) and KCBA (Architectural Firm).  Based on the discussion the risk is approximately $10,000 of engineering effort to develop the application.  If the application is approved the project will need to achieve LEED Gold Certification.  LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a most widely used green building rating system in the world. This certification requires that the project achieve certain standards some of which may add cost to the project. The grant is an incentive to strive to reach those standards. Designing and constructing to those standards also increases the cost of services from the Architect and Construction Management firms. Based on the discussion it sounded like the Construction Manager would charge 10% of the grant amount or up to $200,000. It was not clear how much of the grant would go to the architect.

There were a number of concerns expressed by various board members over what accepting the grant would mean to the project.  Most projects that successfully apply for this grant have a design that is much further developed while nothing is defined for our project yet. The board ultimately approved the application because the cost to apply and risk were fairly low.  The group agreed there would be further discussion on what accepting the grant would mean if the application was approved.

The agenda from the meeting is available here:  Board Docs

*Call to Action
It is important that your voice is heard.  It is critical that community members attend upcoming school board meetings and/or send letters via e-mail to the school board and administration to make their voice heard.   The District Calendar can be found
here.   Watch the district calendar for updates.  Information about the board, including E-mail addresses, can be found

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