Committee of the Whole- Budget Work Session
February 19, 2019
The administration is expected to recommend the 3% tax increase since they need to raise taxes as much as allowed by the state to pay for the estimated
$220 million debt for new construction.

Avon Grove School Board Meeting
January 24, 2019

Budget:  Shocking Revelation: 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.

Testing scores for AG students in Math, English and Language Arts (ELA) and Science were presented.


Committee of the Whole- Planning and Construction
January 17, 2019
Update from the Integration Committee, Project Schedule and Potential Projects to be Discussed at Future



Facilities and Finance Committee Meetings
January 15, 2019

Taxes to continue to rise to the MAX
Long Range Plan Update, 2019-20 Budget First Look, Bonds/Interest Hedge, ASBO Meritorius Budget Award


School Board Meeting
December 13, 2018
Administration and Board leaders reluctant to release Parameters Borrowing Resolution for $139 million to the public.


School Board Organizational Meeting
December 6, 2018
New President and Vice President elected, new calendar approved and an unusual statement by Ms Lisi responding to an AGTRS post.


School Board Meeting
Board Votes 5-4 to increase borrowing from $127 to $139 million.
November 15, 2018


Facilities and Finance Committee Meetings

New EIT Tax still on the agenda.
November 13, 2018


School Board Meeting
October 25, 2018

Freshman Mentoring Program, Enrollment, Senior Volunteers


Facilities and Finance Committee Meetings
October 16, 2018


Special Board Meeting
August 13th, 2018
After some questions School Board votes to approve the construction manger and architects contracts.



School Board Retreat
August 9, 2018


SPECIAL BOARD MEETING
July 9th, 2018
School Board votes to on new resolution to review and approve all contracts before signing.
Next board meeting August 9th, 6pm, AGIS Audion



School Board Meeting
June 7, 2018
School board votes 5-3 to raise taxes as high as allowed by state. 
Happy Tax Day!
New bill in Harrisburg calls for schools to teach Civics.



SPECIAL BOARD MEETING
June 26, 2018
School Board Votes (5 to 4) to Authorize $2million Contract for Construction Management Firm
WITHOUT

Seeing the Contract.
Next board meeting July 9th, 6pm, AGIS Audion


Committee of the Whole Meeting
June 26, 2018
Facilities
School Board Interviews 4 Architectural Firms



Finance Meeting
June 5, 2018
2018-2-19 Budget
Ms. Weber continues to question size of tax increase.



May 14, 2018

Facilities & Finance Meeting
2018-19 Budget:
Board member Lynn Weber questions proposed tax increase while the Administration continues to try and justify increasing  property taxes as high as allowed by law even though they have over $20 million dollars in savings.
Mr Auerbach proposes motion for tax savings through PlanCon reimbursements

Facilities:
Mr Scott Millward presents 2018 Facilities Maintenance Report



April 17, 2018

Facilities & Finance Meeting
2018-19 budget – General Fund Update
Long Range Plan Update



April 26, 2018
School Board Meeting
NEW SCHOOL APPROVED (9-0)
FUNDING LEVEL APPROVED (5-4)
TAXES EXPECTED TO RISE STEEPLY




April 12, 2018
Facilities Planning Meeting
Committee of the Whole Meeting
$127 Million for a New High School




April 3rd, 2018
Facilities Planning Meeting
Committee of the Whole Meeting
BOARD MOVES TO 1 OPTION!


March 27th, 2018

Facilities Planning Meeting
Committee of the Whole Meeting
BOARD MOVES TO 2 OPTIONS!



March 22, 2018

School Board Meeting
National Merit Students honored
Special Education Comprehensive Plan
Committee and Superintendent  Reports



March 13, 2018

Facilities & Finance Meeting
Facilities - Still juggling priorities , maintenance falling behind.
Safety & Security review moving forward.
Finance -Taxing Taxpayers to the maximum allowed!?
Expenses climb higher mostly due to contractual salary increases.




March 8. 2018
Facilities Planning Meeting
Committee of the Whole Meeting

21st Century Learning Explained
6-8th Grade Middle School because ...?
New Revised Budget Scenarios...again?



February 27, 2018

Facilities Planning Meeting
Committee of the Whole Meeting
Land use analysis at HS campus
Scenarios for financing the proposed facilities ...as much as $205 million!
6 to 8 grade configuration for the Middle School?



February 22, 2018

School Board Meeting
Students will walk out for 17 minutes in solidarity with the Parkland Florida

New Safety Committee
Charter School Renewal Reviewed
School Vouchers


February 8, 2018

Committee of the Whole Meeting
Facilities:  Budget Projections for School Options as high as $140 MILLION
Board considers 4 Options for school expansion and Renovation, FJJ Presentation shows budget estimates.


January 30, 2018

Committee of the Whole Meeting
Facilities:Enrollment Projections Challenged, 4 Building and Renovation Options to be Considered

January 25, 2018

School Board Meeting
Important Committee Reports this Month

January 16, 2016

Finance & Facilities Meeting

Finance - School Superintendent asks for Maximum Tax Increase of 3.1%

Facilities- The district continues to spend significantly less money than was originally budgeted for School Facilities. 


January 11, 2018

Committee of the Whole Meeting - Facilities Listening Posts Report

Results Not Representative of Our Community
 The School Board met on Thursday, January 11th to discuss the Listening Post results regarding the need for new school facilities. The Listening Posts were dialogue sessions conducted to gather input from various stakeholders.  Listening Post sessions were conducted during the 2017 fall semester by Foster Jacobs & Johnson, Inc (FJJ).  Conducting the listening posts was part of FJJ's $63,400 contract with the school administration which also covers FJJ’s activities to support the Facilities Input Group (FIG).


February 14, 2017
Facilities Committee Meeting
A new ordinance being implemented in Penn Township will result in a fee being assessed to any future project to build on the Sunnyside property along with other development in a designated area.  This will help offset the cost to improve the 796 and Old Baltimore Pike.  Only a fraction of planned maintenance to the current facilities is being executed again this year similar to what occurred with the plan last year.  This includes a decision to defer properly addressing leaks in the current roof of the high school for at least 2 more years.  The district is working with Penn Township to obtain permits to install new modular classrooms at Penn London Elementary School required to accommodate the new full day kindergarten program launching next fall.


January 17, 2017
First Look Budget for 2017-18 and 5 Year Projection
The Finance Committee met on January 17th to present a first look at the 2017-2018 budget and to reveal the 5-year projections for revenue and expenditures (“A Five Year Plan”) for the Avon Grove School District (AGSD).  A brief discussion regarding the single bid received for the Penn London Elementary (PLE) modular classrooms also occurred.

The First Look Budget shows a 0% tax increase for 2017-18 while the 5 Year Plan shows 2.5% annually for 2017-18 through 2022-23.  Both scenarios are presented to show a minimal tax increase and achieve this by consuming large portions of the current fund balance in place of new revenue.  This approach is inconsistent with the recommendations of Financial Advisors who spoke to the Board, Administration and Facilities Input Group on how to build revenue and reserves for future construction which is part of the stated vision for the district.


January 10, 2017
High School Roof Replacement
The Facilities Committee met to discuss the High School roof, the new floor for the PLE cafeteria, and the cost of a proposed digital sign located by AGIS and PLE.  The current roof is failing and it is no longer practical to make repairs.  A full replacement is required at a preliminary cost of $3 - $4 million to in a phased replacement anticipated to begin in the summer of 2017.


January 7, 2017
December Meeting Highlights
At the Board Reorganizational Meeting the Bonnie Wolff and Brian Gaerity retained their President and Vice President positions making 2017 the 4th year they hold the top leadership positions.  At the December 15th meeting the Board voted not to increase taxes for more than 3.3% in the next budget which is the Act 1 limit for the Avon Grove School District as has been done for the past 3 years. The board also officially approved a new contract with the Avon Grove teachers.  The contract is 5 years through June 30, 2022 though no details were provided on the value of the contract.  Fairly compensating and retaining good teachers is vital to the continued success of the school district.  More details are contained in the full update.


November 26, 2016
November Meeting Highlights
The Facilities Committee met and was surprised to find that the Administration has not been executing the capital plans reviewed and approved by the Board to maintain and upgrade existing facilities including recoating the high school roof to address a long standing problems with leaks.  At the Finance Committee there was a recommendation to hold any increase for 2017-18 to no more than 3.3%, the limit achievable without applying for a special exception.  This is consistent with what has occurred at this time in the past 3 years where taxes were increased to just under the limit.  At the School Board meeting Superintendent Marchese expressed his disappointment that the Lower Merion school district was ordered by a judge to withdrawal a recent tax increase supported by exaggerated budget deficits while accumulating huge cash reserve funds.  Board President Bonnie Wolff announced that the AGSD had reached a tentative agreement on a new 5 year contract with teachers well in advance of the June 30, 2017 expiration of the current contract.  Read about these topics and more in the latest update.


October 24, 2016
Meeting Highlights
AGSD is developing detailed plans to install new modular classrooms at Penn London Elementary and advertise for full day kindergarten in 2017.  They aspire to significantly increase and improve all communications and save in energy costs with a new deal from PECO.  They are just beginning to consider the 2017- 2018 budget with a 3.3% tax increase limit from the Act 1 index and have indicated that a first look at a 5 year financial projection might be available for the board members as early as January 2017.  The Avon Grove Charter School also provided a presentation to the Board.  Read about these topics and more in the latest update.

October 2, 2016
Interim School Board Member Selected
The School Board select professional storyteller Bill Wood as interim replacement for a vacancy in Region III.


July 29, 2016
How Are You Coping with Your Tax Increase?
​​The tax bills for the Avon Grove School District were sent out in early July.  These bills included the 3.1% increase approved by the current School Board Directors.  This is the 3rd consecutive increase in three years and the 6th increase in the last seven years.


June 15, 2016
Board Approves Tax Increase and Full Day Kindergarten
​​On June 9, the school board voted to approve the budget for 2016-17 which includes a 3.1% tax increase and 15 new positions.  The board also approved the implementation of full day kindergarten (FDK) for the 2017-18 school year.


June 6, 2016
Board Vote to Approve Tax Increase and Full Day Kindergarten on June 9th
​​At the School Board Meeting on May 26 the Board indicated that an agreement had been reached with the 24 administrators on their salary increase for the next 4 years.


June 1, 2016
Board Votes to Increase Salaries for Administration Employees
​​At the School Board Meeting on May 26 the Board indicated that an agreement had been reached with the 24 administrators on their salary increase for the next 4 years.


May 17, 2016
FDK Cost in Question

Board Considers Implementing FDK Without a Vote
​​Charles Beatty introduced a financial projection showing the cost of students who are likely to appear in the Avon Grove system if FDK is introduced that would otherwise have been at home , daycare or attended private/parochial schools at considerable cost to the parents. The additional cost is approximately $900,000.


May 10, 2016
Critical Board Votes Approaching
​​As the school year winds down, the Board only has two official School Board Meetings left where voting can occur. There are a number of Committee meetings and a Committee of the Whole meeting where discussion can take place but official business including voting can only occur at the formal School Board Meetings.


March 19, 2016
Budget Grows Despite Declining Debt Servicing Costs
The Administration presented a plan to go on a spending frenzy of hiring and purchases, with an additional $1.1 million in new expenses. The Board and Administration are continuing to increase taxes to the maximum rate possible without a referendum. The administration has presented requests for 18 new Full-time and Part-time positions, only 4 of which were teaching positions.

March 10, 2016
Board Working Towards Full-Day Kindergarten
The Board and Administration are steadily working towards a plan to implement FDK in the fall of 2017 and will discuss it more this week.

February 24, 2016
Board Retreat Information
The school board met for their annual retreat meeting on Saturday 2/20. The meeting was scheduled for a full day and was open to the public from 9:45 to 12:45. Some highlights are provided here.

February 06, 2016
Board Halts Full-Day Kindergarten
By a tie 4-4 vote, the Avon Grove School Board board did not approve the implementation of Full-Day Kindergarten (FDK) at their last board meeting on January 28. This effectively cancels FDK for the 2016/17 school year. Almost all the directors expressed strong support for FDK, but those voting against it wanted more information from the administration before they could approve it.

December 04, 2015
Full-Day Kindergarten Decision Likely After December 10 Meeting
School board is considering Full-Day Kindergarten at cost of $3 million which is not currently budgeted (equivalent to 5.5% tax increase)
Superintendent's plan shows FDK as critical precursor to new school construction
Administration inexplicably claims that ADDING extra kindergarten students will LOWER total costs by approximately $700K.
December 10th meeting is the best (and possibly last) opportunity to engage the board. It is URGENT that you contact your board members and express your opinion about FDK and new school construction

November 21, 2015
Board Meeting Updates

Administration Requests 30 More Cell Phones
The school board met multiple times last week with a large community presence at all the meetings. Some of the highlights include:

  • The administration requested 30 additional cell phones for school staff members.
  • The $3 million unbudgeted start-up costs for Full-Day Kindergarten may be partially offset by funding from the Charter School. The "rainy day fund" will be used to make-up the difference.
  • The impact of FDK on facilities has not been fully studied yet, although a decision must be made very soon to begin construction of modular classrooms at Penn London Elementary.


November 8, 2015
Board Plans Full-Day Kindergarten
Phase 1 of Plan to Build New School

The Avon Grove School Board is expected to approve Full Day Kindergarten (FDK) in November or early December. FDK would require newly constructed modular classrooms at Penn London Elementary and increase spending by $1.3 - $2.2 million. If the board approves, they will have made this decision without having fully considered the district's overall facilities needs, and without convening a previously planned Community Input Group as promised. This is the first phase of Superintendent Christopher Marchese's 3-phase plan for new school construction in the district.

October 24, 2015
Candidate Scorecard
We surveyed all the candidates for school board to get their views on new school construction and budget transparency. Five school director positions are up for election in November, 2015. Most of those have only a single candidate who is running unopposed; only one school director position is being contested. Sadly, only one school board candidate bothered to answer our survey.

October 21, 2015
Board Plans 3.1% Tax Increase
The Finance Committee of the Avon Grove School Board voted to recommend that any tax increases stay below the 'Act 1' index of 3.2% so that no public referendum on tax increases will be held. If past patterns continue, the board will increase taxes 3.1% in the 2016/17 school year. If so, this would be the third tax increase in 3 years, with a total increase of 8.4% over those 3 years. Even with these tax increases, deficit spending is expected to continue as total expenses outstrip tax income. No mention was heard of any plans to control spending.

October 12, 2015
Judge Rules Budget Can Stay Secret
A Landenberg woman's 9-month effort to get accurate information about school labor costs came to an end today when Judge Mark Tunnell reversed a PA Open Records order and ruled the data can remain secret. The judge agreed with School officials that the requested data was part of their negotiating strategy, and was therefore exempt from public disclosure.

October 6, 2015
Budget Ruling Delayed
A court decision that might force AGSD to release budget information has been delayed. Meanwhile, the board has been telling residents the budget information has always been available on-line

October 3, 2015
Judge to Rule on Secret Budget
A court decision is expected Monday after the school board appealed a Pennsylvania Department of Open Records order to release budget information to a local woman. Judge Mark Tunnell's expected ruling will end the 9-month odyssey for a Landenberg woman who has been trying to get budget information from AGSD. The board has employed 3 lawyers in its efforts to keep the budget secret.

September 26, 2015
School Board Goes to Court to Keep Budget Secret
On Monday, September 28, the Avon Grove School Board will be in court defending their refusal to release their budget projections to taxpayers, despite having been ordered to do so by the state of Pennsylvania. The board has been spending taxpayer money for 3 lawyers for over 9 months to keep the taxpayers from knowing how much taxpayer money they have committed to spend in the school budget.

   Avon Grove Taxpayers for Responsible Spending

                                                             www.AvonGroveTaxpayers.org


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

NEWS UPDATES

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