Avon Grove Taxpayers for Responsible Spending


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

Avon Grove School Board Meeting
January 24, 2019

 The Avon Grove School Board met on Thursday, January 24th. School Board members include: Ms Tracy Lisi (President), 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 Ms Weber.
The agenda can be found in Board Docs

 Before the presentations, there was an announcement that board discussions will adhere strictly to Robert’s Rules.

The second grade chorus sang two songs and announced that they will be singing at the Blue Rocks game on April 24th.
Student Achievement 2017-2018  Posted in Board Docs

Testing scores for AG students in Math, English and Language Arts (ELA) and Science were presented as well as the State testing scores. There is also a comparison to other schools in Chester County.

Improvement was seen in the PA System of School Assessment (PSSA) Math scores for Grades 5 and 8 over the 4 year period (2015-2018).  The Math scores for Grade 3 trended lower while the Math scores for Grades 4, 6, and 7 were flat.  Overall state scores declined over the same 4 year period.
AGHS Algebra scores have improved by 13 points since 2015.
Improvement in ELA scores were seen in Grade 4 but were flat for the other grades including AGHS.
Scores in Science declined for Grade 8 and were flat for Grade 4.  The AGHS Biology scores were flat over the 4 year period.


Committee Reports
Facilities - the Jan 15th meeting discussion has already been summarized.

Finance/Budget - the Jan 15th meeting discussion has already been summarized.  It was noted in that summary that Mr Carsley presented 3 scenarios for the 2019-20 budget: no tax increase, 2.5% tax increase, and a 3% tax increase (Act 1 Index).  Even with maximum tax increases for the next 4 years based on the Act 1 Index (ranging 3 to 3.56%), the fund balance (savings or reserves) will be dramatically impacted with the Overall Fund Balance (including Capital Projects) decreasing from $61.5 million starting 2019-20 to $12.0 million ending 2022-23 resulting in a limited ability to absorb unanticipated increases in operating expenses or project costs.

Policy - a policy is being developed for students who are volunteer firefighters who want to be able to leave school if needed.
Curriculum - a new course handbook has been developed.
Co-curricular - there will be 3 new sports programs:  9th grade football, 9th grade girl’s basketball and middle school volleyball
COW: Planning and Construction - the Jan 17th meeting discussion has already been summarized.
Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU) - a driver’s test site may be available in April
PA Legislative Committee - Mr. Beatty attended a presentation on Equitable Funding.   
New legislation discussed included:
Act 105- permits students to use sunscreen without a doctor’s note
Act 158- allows for an alternate pathway to graduation other than the Keystone Exams
See full report posted on the AG website under Board of Directors

Due to reassessments and appeals of property values, Chester County will lose $5 million in tax revenue and Avon Grove School District will lose $370,000.

Student Reports
The second semester has started. Some students expressed frustration in not being able to get into preferred classes for the next school year.

Resolution 19-12:2019-2020
The Board attended an executive session (i.e. public attendance prohibited) retreat on January 5th. During the executive session, School Board members were able to offer input to the Administration on what they want to see in the budget presentation as the 2019-20 budget is being developed. Mr. Beatty was concerned that the discussion was not open to the public.  Mr. Auerbach questioned why the Board had to agree collectively in order to request additional information on the budget. There was extensive discussion on the ramifications of this resolution.  The school attorney suggested that some additional language be added to the resolution to cover some exceptions. The resolution passed 6-1 with Mr. Dumont dissenting. 

Superintendent’s Report
January is School Director Recognition Month and Superintendent Marchese acknowledged each School Board member individually and thanked them for their service to the School District.
AGSD Enrollment is 5074 students with an additional 840 students in the Charter school.
The Senior Volunteer Program continues to grow.
The Administration gave a Presentation to the Ovations Community.
Two Kindergarten information presentations have been scheduled.

Tuesday, Feb 5th 6:30-7:30PM (Last name A-M)
Thursday, Feb 7th 6:30-7:30PM (Last name N-Z)

Presentations developed for parents can be found on AGSD website.

 New Business
During the School Board Retreat there was presentation on a new Advisory Committee that would develop Board operating instructions and guidelines that would be recommended to the Policy Committee. Mr. Auerbach expressed concern about the make-up of the committee which is at the discretion of the Board President.

Old Business
At the December 6th Organizational meeting, Ms Tracy Lisi, the President of the School Board read a statement that was not discussed or approved by the rest of the School Board.  At the December 13, 2018 School Board meeting, Mr Dumont requested that the December 6th statement be re-issued as a statement from the President only. After a review of school policy, it was agreed that the minutes of the December 6th Organizational meeting would be revised to clarify that the statement read by Ms Lisi was from her alone and not the entire AG School Board.

*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 here.

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