A New Board Member, Some Old Arguments

Tweets from the Pottsgrove School Board meeting of Tuesday, May 13, 2014

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  1. The "former school board member" was Fred Remelius.
  2. This seems like a good place to add that District Business Manager Dave Nester finally got back to me Monday and informed me that the district was charged $66,659 by Upper Pottsgrove Township in fees for the construction of the entirely new Pottsgrove Middle School.
  3. After talking to Dave Nester after the meeting, I think it may have been Matt Alexander and not Dave Faulkner who voted against this resolution. 
  4. Here's the skinny on that folks. 

    Former school board member Mike Neiffer asked why the $23,770 expense of replacing the bleachers was necessary and why Rabinowitz and Alexander had voted against it.

    Facilities director Mike Katzenmoyer came to the microphone and explained that the district's insurance company had identified the bleachers as a liability because of their age and their failure to meet current safety standards.

    Further, he said, manfacturing new parts to make them safer might stress the structural strength of the bleachers, there since the building now known as Lower Pottsgrove Elementary School was built in the 1970s.

    Neiffer further offered up that the cost would be paid out of the capital reserve and would not cause a tax increase.

    Board member Matt Alexander replied "we asked for that information and it was not given to us until what we just heard."

    This caused Superintendent Shellie Feola to note to note that not only had she received those questions "at the last minute" before the meeting, but that neither Alexander nor Rabinowitz had asked them during the meeting when the opportunity arose.

    "We can't be prepared to answer questions in the middle of a working day, we can't drop everything to answer questions., We try to get them and do our due dilligence. We work weekends, answering e-mails."

    "We all work weekends," Alexander replied. "We get a packet on Friday and have to work, without pay, over the weekend to try to understand everything and get any questions we might have to you."

    He added, "if something is unsafe, why isn't it taken immediately out of service instead of constantly using the safety issue as an excuse to spend money?"

    To this, board member Dee Gallion pointed out that much of the information Katzenmoyer had supplied verbally Tuesday was contained in the board packets the board received Friday. 

    "It answered my questions and it also make clear that this was originally supposed to cost $180,000 and thanks to some work by Mr. Katzenmoyer, we saved $89,000."
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