School Board Meeting
April 25, 2019
The Avon Grove School Board met on Thursday, April 25th. 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.
The agenda can be found at: http://www.boarddocs.com/pa/avongrove/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=BAR92S6E0103
Facilities Committee (April 9th) – the track is being replaced; recoating, painting, and sealing of the high school track is progressing at a cost of $308,000. A Keystone Ball Stopper System has been installed at a cost of $24,000. This device will help protect the renovated track by not having to chase balls across it. Maintenance work is scheduled for the modular classrooms; it will cost $240,000 to renew the leases on the modular classrooms. The construction of the tree house has been approved by Penn Township.
The meeting agendas and slides can be found at: http://www.boarddocs.com/pa/avongrove/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=BAR9T76FB116.
Finance Committee (April 9th) – the rate for the solicitors supporting the school has increased. A meeting regarding the sale of Jennersville Hospital has been requested with the Tower Health. There has been no response to date. Note: Annual tax revenue the school district receives will be significantly reduced if Tower Health is successful in obtaining a non-profit status for the hospital since the hospital will no longer be obligated to pay property taxes. A legal process is in the courts to challenge the current determination that the hospital is not a non-profit.
The meeting agenda and slides can be found at: http://www.boarddocs.com/pa/avongrove/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=BAR9T76FB116
Policy – the HIV infection policy and Volunteer policy have been updated to comply with recent changes to state law. Phishing- training is planned for the employees.
The meeting agenda and slides can be found at: http://www.boarddocs.com/pa/avongrove/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=B9ZL6L4D9442
Communications – the Senior tax relief program is growing. The School District has an Instagram page with no comments being permitted on postings. A Satisfaction Survey will be sent out in May.
The meeting agenda can be found at: http://www.boarddocs.com/pa/avongrove/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=BAB7JH457A16
The High School will be presenting Les Miserables during the weekends of April 26-27th and May 3-4th.
The budget for the Chester County Intermediate Unit: $27 million for Core Services and $30 million for Occupational Education was adopted by a 9-0 vote.
The proposed 2019-2020 Final Avon Grove School District Budget (~$98 million) was approved by a vote of 5-4 and includes a 3.0 % tax increase (maximum increase allowed). Ms Lisi, Mr Billig, Mr Engel, Mr Wood, and Ms Wolff voted for the budget; Mr Auerbach, Mr Beatty, Mr Dumont, and Ms Weber voted against the budget. Mr. Wood indicated that he was frustrated with the four members that did not vote for budget.
Mr. Auerbach stated that he could not vote for the budget because he felt the budget process is designed to take the maximum tax increase possible year after year regardless of what that maximum happens to be. Mr. Dumont expressed concern about incurring maximum debt for the new construction project stating that the decision now drives the budget. He doesn’t want to plan to borrow to the maximum because he doesn’t want to have to increase taxes to the maximum year after year. Ms. Weber had asked for specific budget projections but her request was denied. She also expressed concerns that the budget presented is not balanced.
Superintendent Marchese stated that if the majority of the Board does not ask for additional clarification of any parts of the budget, he will cancel the May 20th budget meeting.
Mr. Wood asked the Board to think about fund raising for big projects –i.e. naming rights on.
*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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Encourage your fellow community members visit our website and do the same.