Easttown Township

A Review of Radnor Twp School District’s Teachers Contract … Will the Results Help T/E Teachers?

The following Community Matters post, “Signed, Sealed and Delivered … Radnor Twp School District & Teachers Union Ink 3-year Contract with Salary Increase … Is there handwriting on the wall for T/E Teachers?”  is from March 23, 2011.

A year ago, the Radnor Township School District signed a 3-year contract with their teachers union( RTEA) that was surprising, given the economic situation of the times.  Fast forward to 2012, and T/E is in the midst of their own contract negotiations.  This post and the attached comments from a year ago, make for an interesting commentary to compare and contrast where we are in our own teacher negotiation process.  Can we learn anything from the decisions of our neighboring school district?

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“Signed, Sealed and Delivered … Radnor Twp School District & Teachers Union Ink 3-year Contract with Salary Increase … Is there handwriting on the wall for T/E Teachers?”
~ Community Matters, March 23, 2011

It is now official, Radnor Township School District and the teachers union, Radnor Township Education Association (RTEA) have voted to approve three-year contract, September 1, 2010 – August 31, 2013. Below are some of the highlights of the contract.

Salary Highlights:
Salary freeze September 1, 2010 – March 3, 2011 (6 months)

Year One Salary:

  • No step movement
  • Average pay increase after freeze: 1.57%
  • Top salary step remains at current level
  • Average lump-sum payment for top salary step: $749

Year Two Salary:

  • RTEA members move to next step
  • Average pay increase: 3.26%
  • Top salary step remains at current level
  • Average lump-sum payment for top salary step: $1,206

Year Three Salary:

  • RTEA members move to next step
  • Modest increase to top salary step
  • Average pay increase: 2.66%

Health Benefits Highlights:

  • RTEA members agreed to significant increase in the cost of health insurance
  • Stating March 4, 2011, teachers move from fixed contribution to a percentage-based contribution
  • Year One – salary contribution 0.75% – 1.5%
  • Year Two – health care plan changes from Blue Cross to lesser premium-cost plan, with increase co-pays doctor and hospital visits (salary contribution 0.85% – 1.5%)
  • Year Three – salary contribution 0.95% – 1.65%

Retirement Option:

  • Eligible teachers will receive a one-time retirement payment from $25K – $50K (depending on number of retirees). The retirement option is in effect for limited time to allow district to reduce payroll.

OK, so looking at the contract inked between the Radnor Township School District and RTEA, is the handwriting on the wall for T/E School District?  So much for Gov. Corbett’s recommendation for a one-year freeze . . .  Radnor’s teacher union only agreed to a 6-month freeze.  However, after the 6-month salary freeze, the teacher union pulled off 7.5% salary increase for the following 2 ½ years of the contract.

Remember, if a teacher qualifies for a step increase, his or her salary increase would actually be higher than the average yearly salary increase. Radnor’s teachers contract is remarkable given today’s economy and budget shortfalls!

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Easter Egg Hunt in Berwyn . . . Free Community Event for Children of All Ages!

Free Community Easter Egg Hunt — Children (all ages) Invited to Attend

When: Saturday, March 24

Time:  12 Noon

Where: Frank Johnson Park, 122 Bridge Avenue, Berwyn

Sponsored by: Easttown Township Parks & Recreation Board

Questions: Contact Mary Schultz at mzshultz@comcast.net

Bring your baskets and your cameras for the annual Easter Egg Hunt. Thousands of eggs and each filled with a surprise!  Children (all ages) are welcome and gift bags for all participants.

Rain Date: Sunday, March 25, 12 Noon

Rain date information available at: www.berwynmontessori.com

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Decision Time – Will T/E School Board Directors Vote in Favor of an EIT Voter Referendum Question?

Monday night is a case where I would like to be in two places at once . . .

Tredyffrin’s township finances and the proposed 2012 budget is on the Board of Supervisors agenda at 7:30 PM while the T/E school directors will hold a Finance Committee meeting at 6:30 PM followed by a special school board meeting at 7:30 PM to discuss the EIT. (Both school district meetings will be held in Conestoga HS cafeteria). I will attend the Board of Supervisors meeting and I am counting on my friend Ray Clarke to attend the school district meetings.

In reviewing the agenda for the T/E Finance Committee meeting and the draft minutes from their October 17 meeting, I read the following:

Education Committee Recommendation:

At the prior Finance Committee meeting the Committee was informed that the State reinstated $1.3 million in funding that was not included in the District’s 2011-12 budget. In light of this information, the Committee authorized the Superintendent to restore education program cuts made in the 2011-12 budget. Dr. Richard Gusick presented the proposed reinstatements of budget cuts to the education program and explained that they were already reviewed by the Education The Finance Committee asked that the proposal to reinstate these budget cuts be presented at a future Board meeting.

I am confused. Although I was aware that the State had reinstated $1.3 million in funding to the T/E school district, I was not aware there was a decision as to whether (1) restore the district’s education programming cuts or (2) add the money to the fund balance.

According to these minutes, the Finance Committee (or Education Committee?) authorized the money go to restoring education program cuts. Restoring which programming cuts? Latin in the Middle School? Foreign language in the elementary school? Technology purchases? Specifically, which education program cuts did the committee authorize restored? In addition, are we to assume that the option of adding the $1.3 million to the district’s fund balance is off the table for consideration? These are questions for the school board directors at Monday’s meeting.

I also noted that the Finance Committee meeting minutes indicate that the school district will wait until 2012 to release a RFP for the outsourcing (if needed) of custodial services. It is not clear at this point if custodial outsourcing will be on the budget reduction strategy list.

Immediately following the Finance Committee meeting tomorrow night, the school board will hold a special meeting at 7:30 PM to consider notification to Tredyffrin and Easttown townships of the intent to levy an EIT. November 16 is the deadline for the School Board to provide the townships with notification so the board will be taking a vote at this special meeting. The school board will vote on whether to include EIT as a voter referendum question on the primary election ballot on April 24, 2012. For school districts to levy an EIT requires voter approval. The maximum that TESD could levy is 1%. If approved by voters, all residents, including renters, in Tredyffrin and Easttown Townships would be taxed at 1% on earned income. If an EIT were to be approved, the townships have the legal option to request one-half of the 1% collected by the school district.

Leading up to Election Day, we watched as EIT become the ‘buzz’ word of the local campaign season. Early on, the local Republican Party took a stand against an earned income tax and furthered the issue by labeling the Democrat candidates as EIT supporters. Feeling the pressure, all the Democratic school board candidates responded that ‘they’ were personally opposed to an earned income tax.

The politicizing of the EIT prior to the public presentation of TESD’s tax study group troubled me. The EIT became a political football between the local political parties and in my opinion, damaged the community’s ability to completely understand the EIT as presented by the tax study group. Not to mention the confusion that occurred at the polls on Election Day! Three different precinct judge of elections have reported to me that there were some confused voters — asking where the EIT question was on the ballot. Based on the campaign mailers and political signs, many in the community came to the polls on Election Day expecting to vote on the EIT issue.

Now that we are on the other side of the election, how can newly re-elected school board members Karen Cruikshank (D) and Jim Bruce (R) now vote in favor of taking the EIT issue to the voters. I do not know whether re-elected Easttown school board member Pete Motel (R) made a public statement one way or the other re the EIT. Based on the pre-election political hype of the EIT, the vote count of the school board members will be interesting. Will we see the school board members following the lead of their political parties?

If the school board members vote in favor of an EIT voter referendum question on the April primary ballot, do many of us really think that the residents would vote in favor of this new tax. During the school board budget cut strategy meetings, there were residents asking for tax increases vs. further educational programming cuts.

Faced with the possibility of further programming cuts in the next school district budget, would there be sufficient support from voters for an EIT?

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T/E School Board Meeting Tonight . . . Proposed Final 2011-12 Budget Vote

Reminder:
There is a T/E School Board meeting tonight —  May 9, 2011 at 7:30 pm at Conestoga High School. At this meeting, the School Board will vote on the proposed 2011-2012 final budget.  Click here  to review the proposed budget. Will the decision of the school board be to fund the deficit with the use of the fund balance?

I assume that we will also learn the outcome of out-sourcing of TESD custodial services.  My understanding is that the outsourcing quotes should have been received by the district and the board will have determined the cost-savings (if any) of out-sourcing. 

According to the agenda for tonight’s meeting, the board will present information on the school district’s plan to form an Earned Income Tax Study Group.

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TESD Facilities Committee Looking at Revenue Sources and Maintenance/Storage Issues

Yesterday there was a TESD Facilities Committee meeting which Ray Clarke attended and graciously supplied notes.  I was particularly interested in the fee structure for use of school district facilities and here is related rental information:
  • Regulation 7040 – Details for the use of TESD facilities and description of the tiered levels of rental fees (Oct. 2010)
  • Fee Schedule for TESD facilities usage – Pages 10-15. 
I found district fee schedule for school district facilities usage very difficult to figure out.  I often have reason to look for various township locations for lectures for the Trust (Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust) so I looked at the fee schedule to check the rental fee for the high school auditorium.  I think I figured out that as a nonprofit township organization, the fee would fall in the ‘C’ category of fees but beyond that I was lost — would I pay additional fee(s) for custodian and if so, was that charge for the entire event by the hour or was it for clean-up. Was the requirement for 1 person or multiple people?  Would I pay additional for use of bathroom facilities for the length of the event?
 
It seems to me if the district is looking to increase rental usage of the facilities rental, perhaps the fee structure could be more ‘user-friendly’.  I understand that the school district rentals may be  different from other non-school district rentals but. . . how about a flat fee for ‘x’ hours of usage that would include custodian and bathroom facilities, rather than the renter struggling to do all the necessary ‘add-ons’.  Example:  Conestoga HS auditorium rental for up to 3 hours, Mon – Thurs could be listed as  ‘x’ fee.  The fee should be inclusive and include all required labor fees, use of bathrooms, etc.  — streamline the pricing so it is obvious the total cost is obvious. 
 
In my review of the current facilities fee structure, I would not be able to fill out the application form and know the total charge without speaking to someone at the school.  At this point, I would not be able to determine if the rental fees are too ‘high’ or too ‘low’ as compared to other outside rental options; there are too many variables and possible add-ons to the base hourly rate.  This comment is not intended as a criticism’ just a suggestion to perhaps review and simplify the fee schedule to make it more user-friendly and therefore, more like for people to rent the facilities.
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Ray Clark’s Notes from 4/15 Facilities Committee Meeting:
 
The Facilities Committee held another 3 hour plus marathon on Friday.  A couple of noteworthy items, the last two with implications for the operating and capital budgets.
  1. Kudos to Chuck Marshall and the Valley Creek Trustee Council for their work to protect the “Exceptional Value” Valley Creek and its tributaries like Crabby Creek. I came in on the end of a discussion about installing a vegetated swale and drainage system to control the run off from the CHS fields off Irish Road.  The Council would fund the project as a gift to the School District.  Importantly, there is also a commitment to maintain the system until the desired natural vegetation becomes established.  With assurances about the impact to the district, the Committee recommended that the project be accepted.
  2. More to and fro about facility rental fees and priorities, but frustratingly nothing concrete emerging yet.  There is a recognition that the end of the property bubble requires new revenue sources, and thus the need to revisit policies that subsidize groups like scouts and TEYSA, that charge others below market rates, that are set by the day not the hour, and that restrict the use of Teamer Field based on limitations of the old grass field.  I think that Betsy Fadem has taken responsibility for coming up with draft revisions to policy and regulations that address these issues and ensure that neighbor concerns are incorporated.  The plan is to have something fully in place for 2012, with changes to the Teamer Field use possibly sooner.
  3.  Finally, the Committee has zeroed in on a plan to address the limited maintenance and storage space consequent on the demolition of the ESC.  (Let’s not revisit that decision here now: water under the bridge!)  Both people and inventory are dispersed all over the district: not the way we’d want to have our district supported, I think.  Over many meetings, the Committee has pushed the administration and architect to come up with a cost conscious plan that fits into a long term vision for the district facilities.  The recommendation is now a two phase project.  First, add on to the current, but frail, maintenance building on Old Lancaster Road, then, second (as the adjacent property becomes available), expand the addition, convert the old building to parking and add a storage building.  The capital commitment for Phase 1 would be $1.13 million.  (Another $2 million would be required to complete the project, but would not be committed now).  I was assured that the space requirements for all functions are fully supported by the cost and service benefits of having the functions in house.  This will be discussed at the next School Board meeting on April 25th for those interested.
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Senator Dinniman to Hold Public Rally for Education – April 27th

Note that there has been a date change for the Education Rally — Senator Dinniman will hold rally on April 27, 7 PM on the Chester County courthouse steps.  Although some of the readers on Community Matters have suggested that Sen. Dinniman public rally is nothing more than a politician seeking the limelight.  Personally, I think it is refreshing to have an elected officials willing to get involved and represent those that elected him. 

 This past fall marked Sen. Dinniman’s retirement from teaching at West Chester University, having served as a professor for 30 years.  Regardless of your personal political sway, it is obvious that Sen. Dinniman is someone who supports education, the students and their families.  Doing nothing more than complaining about Corbett’s proposed public education cuts is not going to get Harrisburg to listen . . .but the voices of many cause them to listen! Write or call your state officials. I support making your voice count and plan to attend this rally!  Below is the latest press release from Sen. Dinniman.

Dinniman to Hold Rally for Education on April 27th – Public Rally Set for 7 PM on the Steps of the Chester County Courthouse

WEST CHESTER (April 11) – State Senator Andy Dinniman announced today that he will hold a rally for residents opposed to Governor Corbett’s proposed budget cuts to education on Wednesday, April 27 at 7 p.m. on the steps of the Chester County Courthouse (corner of High and Market Streets) in West Chester.

“Governor Corbett’s significant and widespread cuts to education will be disastrous for students at all levels and even more devastating in the years to come,” Dinniman said. “We know that cuts to basic and early education mean increased local property taxes, larger class sizes and less individualized attention and specialized programs. We know that cuts to higher education mean significantly increased tuition and fees, greater student borrowing and debt and more people on the unemployment rolls.”

Governor Corbett recently proposed a $27.3 billion budget that calls for cutting education funding across the board, including the following:

  • A $550 million cut to funding for public elementary, middle and high schools, including an $8 million cut from the Coatesville Area School District, a $2.5 million cut from the West Chester Area School District, and a $2.9 million cut from the Downingtown Area School District.
  • A $260 million cut to funding for pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and early childhood education programs.
  • A 50 percent cut to funding for state colleges and universities, including a $26 million cut for West Chester University, a $182 million cut for Penn State and $100 million cut for Pitt.

“We know that by investing in education, we are investing in our future and that is precisely what is at stake here. These cuts will set Pennsylvania back decades and undermine all of our efforts for long-term economic growth and prosperity,” Dinniman said. “That is why I want everyone – current students and their families, teachers and school employees, college professors and university staff members, high school seniors and prospective students – to come out on April 27 and make their voices heard. We need to stand together and ensure that our message is loud and clear.”

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T/E School District Finance Meeting Updates . . . 2011-12 School District Budget Problem is the ‘Tip of the Iceberg’

Last night was the Finance Committee meeting and continued the discussion from the Budget Workshop held last month.  The administration and the school board members focused on the budget strategies available to fill the remaining $3.3 million shortfall.

If you recall, originally the remaining school district 2011-12 budget deficit was $2 million.  However, because of Gov. Corbett’s proposed budget and cuts to public education, an additional $1.3 million in state funding was lost to the district and therefore was added back into the TESD budget shortfall.

How to fund the $3.3 million deficit was the focus of the Finance Committee meeting. Members of the Finance Committee support and encourage a pay waiver freeze for next year.  Hoping for an understanding of shared sacrifice, the school board recently mailed letters to TEEA and TENIG unions seeking their support.

Outsourcing of custodial services remains an open issue for further discussion; it appears that the updated cost-savings on out-sourcing of those services is approximately $800K annually.  There was discussion of pay-to-play or ‘activities fee’ to be charged to students playing sports.  This would be a yearly fee for student athletics, regardless if they played 1 or more sports. If a $50 fee per student athlete is charged, the revenue generated is approximately $80K. In reviewing other area school districts, five districts in Chester County have some type of sports activities fee in place. How much is the school district budget for sports?  $1.5 million annually; which breaks down to approximately $509 per student who plays sports (including club sports).

Here is an open question . . . does sports activities fee impact participation.   The discussion of an activities fee for sports brought up an interesting discussion. Is it fair to only charge for sports, what about other extra-curricular activities, clubs, band, etc.?  Some members of the Finance Committee suggested that the activities fee should be associated with those extra-curricular activities that required transportation.

Another way to generate revenue for the school district is advertising and members of the Finance Committee are investigating the concept of paid advertising on Teamer Field, as well as other locations.  Two adverting companies that handle this type of school district advertising will make a presentation at the next school board meeting.  Generated revenue from this type of advertising was estimated as $30K-95K.  Advertising on the sports team shirts was also discussed, as well as school bus advertising.  If the district decides to move forward with the adverting concept, there will need to be a policy change.

FLITE is working to raise $85K to fund the after-school homework club.  The homework program is included in the 2011-12 budget but is on the list as a possible budget expense reduction.  Another expense reduction item under consideration is transportation for some extra-curricular activities ($90K) and summer school ($40K).

Several parents spoke in support of maintaining the quality of education and programming in the district.  Many suggested raising property taxes or instituting an EIT to cover the school district budget deficit.  If instituted, an 1% EIT would generate approximately $17 million annually.  With the township and school district equally sharing those funds, $8.5 million would go to each.

The argument by some in support of an EIT or property tax increase was that your property values are directly tied to the quality of the school district. Therefore, if you want to sustain your property values, you must support the quality of the school district.

What was clear from the Finance Committee meeting is that the administration and school board are running out of options!  They encouraged those in the audience and watching from home to contact your state representatives and Harrisburg.

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Pennsylvania Primary, May 17, 2011 – Community Matters Schedule for Candidate’s Resumes

In advance of the Pennsylvania May Primary on Tuesday, May 17, last month I contacted chairs of the local political parties — Mike Broadhurst, TTRC and Dariel Jamieson, TTDEMS. I requested (and received) the resumes of candidates for the TESD School Board, Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors, Chester County Magisterial District Judge and Board of Supervisors Special Election. 

Providing a discussion forum on Community Matters as I did for the Tredyffrin Township interim supervisor’s appointment process in February, I will provide the Republican and Democratic candidate resumes for each of the May Primary races.  Using the following schedule,  I hope that by providing in-depth information on the candidates, will encourage a greater voter turnout for the Pennsylvania Primary on Tuesday, May 17.

  • Monday, April 25:  Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisor Candidates
  • Monday, May 2:  Tredyffrin-Easttown School Board Candidates
  • Monday, May 9: Chester County Magisterial District Judge, District Court 15-4-01 Candidates
  • Wednesday, May 11: Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors Special Election Candidates
  • Tuesday, May 17:  Pennsylvania Primary

All candidates in the May 17, 2011 Primary

Tredyffrin-Easttown School Board Candidates:

  • Region 1:  James Bruce (R) **
  • Region 1:  Tara G. LaFiura (R)
  • Region 1:  Karen Cruickshank (D) **
  • Region 1:  Jerry Henige (D)
  • Region 2:  Kristine Graham (R)
  • Region 2:  Elizabeth Mercogliano (R)
  • Region 2:  Scott Dorsey  (D)
  • Region 2:  Jenny Wessels (D)
  • Easttown, Region 3: Peter Motel (R) **
  • Easttown, Region 3: Craig Lewis (D)

Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors Candidates:

  • At Large:  Michael Heaberg (R) **
  • At Large:  Kristen Kirk Mayock (R)
  • At Large:  Molly Duffy (D)
  • At Large:  Ernani (Ernie) Falcone (D)
  • District 1 East:  Paul Olson (R) **  
  • District 1 East:  Victoria (Tory) Snyder (D)
  • District 3 West:  John DiBuonaventuro (R) **
  • District 3 West:   No Candidate (D)

Chester County Magisterial District Judge, District Court 15-4-01

  • Jeremy Blackburn (R) **
  • Analisa Sondergaard (D)

Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors Special Election Candidates:

  • Michael Heaberg (R) **
  • Molly Duffy (D)

                                                                                       ** Incumbent

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It’s Official . . . Announcing Candidates for Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors & Tredyffrin-Easttown School Board!

Tuesday, March 8th was the deadline to file petitions for Pennsylvania’s May 17, 2011 primary election.

Special thanks goes to Mike Broadhurst, chair of the Tredyffrin Township Republican Committee and Dariel Jamieson, chair of the Tredyffrin Township Democratic Committee for providing the names of candidates for the Board of Supervisors and the Tredyffrin Easttown School Board.  Mike and Dariel have agreed to supply the bios and/or resumes of each of the supervisor and school director candidates which I will provide in a future post on Community Matters.

Note on School Director candidates:  To become a school board candidate, you must file a petition signed by at least 10 qualified voters of the school district for the political party with which the petition will be filed. It is my understanding that all school board candidates are cross-filing. To cross-file in a primary election (that is, to run on both political parties), a registered Democrat or Republican must circulate a proper petition for the other party. The petition must contain signatures as previously mentioned. If elected on both party ballots in the May primary, a candidate will appear on both party ballots in the general election in November.

The candidates for the May 17, 2011 primary election are as follows:

The Tredyffrin Township Republican Committee has endorsed the following candidates for the office of Tredyffrin-Easttown School Director:

  • Region 1:  James Bruce **
  • Region 1:  Tara G. LaFiura
  • Region 2:  Kristine Graham
  • Region 2:  Elizabeth Mercogliano

The Tredyffrin Township Democratic Committee has endorsed the following candidates for the office of Tredyffrin-Easttown School Director:

  • Region 1:  Karen Cruickshank **
  • Region 1:  Jerry Henige
  • Region 2:  Scott Dorsey
  • Region 2:  Jenny Wessels

The Easttown Township Republican Committee has endorsed the following candidate for the office of Tredyffrin-Easttown School Director:

  • Easttown, Region 3: Peter Motel **

The Easttown Township Democratic Committee has endorsed the following candidate for the office of Tredyffrin-Easttown School Director:

  • Easttown, Region 3:  No Candidate

For Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors, the Tredyffrin Township Republican Committee has endorsed the following candidates:

  • Supervisor at Large:  Michael Heaberg **
  • Supervisor at Large:  Kristen Kirk Mayock
  • District 1 East:  Paul Olson **  
  • District 3 West:  John DiBuonaventuro **

For Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors, the Tredyffrin Township Democratic Committee has endorsed the following candidates:

  • Supervisor at Large:  Molly Duffy
  • Supervisor at Large:  Ernani (Ernie) Falcone
  • District 1 East:   Victoria (Tory) Snyder
  • District 3 West:   No Candidate

For Tredyffrin Township Auditor, the Tredyffrin Township Republican Committee has endorsed the following candidate:

  • Bryan Humbarger

For Tredyffrin Township Auditor, the Tredyffrin Township Democratic Committee has endorsed the following candidate:

  • No Candidate

For Chester County Magisterial District Judge, District Court 15-4-01, the Tredyffrin Township Republican Committee has endorsed the following candidate:

  • Jeremy Blackburn **

For Chester County Magisterial District Judge, District Court 15-4-01, the Tredyffrin Township Democratic Committee has endorsed the following candidate:

  • Analisa Sondergaard

** Incumbent

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Should T/E School District Join Others in Increasing Public Meeting Security?

In December, I think we all watched with disbelief the footage of Clay Duke, the disgruntled husband of a former school employee who opened fire on school board members in Panama City, Florida.  Duke’s wife had been fired from her special ed teaching job in the Florida school district.  The school board video showed Duke complaining about taxes and his wife’s firing before shooting at close range as the superintendent begged, “Please don’t.”  There were several rounds exchanged with a school security officer, who wounded him, before he took his own life.  Amazingly, no one else was injured during the shooting.

The Florida shooting was a wake-up call for many school districts around the country; many of which are considering increasing security at public meetings.  Various security options considered include security guards, police presence, or requiring all meeting attendees to pass through some type metal detector or the use of a handheld detector. Protection at school board meetings is not just for the elected officials.  As the discussion on our school district’s budget deficits increases, with discussion of property tax increases, programming cuts and possible staff reductions, there are more parents, teachers, staff, citizens, press, and sometimes students attending the meetings. As schools nationwide face this financial education crunch, heated moments and frustrated community members cannot be far behind. 

Unlike Tredyffrin’s township meetings, which are held in the same building as the township police department, the T/E School Board meetings are held at the high school or the school district office. The Downingtown School District has made the decision to increase security at their school board meetings. Their decision to have security at regularly scheduled school board meetings was based on the Florida school board shooting as well as the recent shooting in Tucson, Arizona of Rep. Gabrielle Gifford. Starting this week, Downingtown School District has contracted with their police department for security at their meetings. 

Although I am certain that T/E School District has an emergency management plan, I wonder if there is anything specific to public board meetings.   You cannot predict or prepare for random acts of violence.  However, circumstances that have happened nationwide in recent memory and given the time of which we live, unfortunately require this type of discussion.

Should school boards assess and appropriately upgrade awareness, along with security and preparedness measures, for their board meetings?  Certainly.  School districts need to be proactive (rather than reactive) in examining prevention, security and preparedness practices.  We understand that no school district has a blank check for security or any other support service.  School districts everywhere are under unprecedented financial crunches.  But it is during a time when society is under intense economic pressure that violence and related security risks will likely increase. 

I am curious, has T/E School District reviewed its public meeting security policies? 

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