Pattye Benson

Community Matters

How Can the Residents of Great Valley School District be so Different from the Residents of Tredyffrin Easttown School District?

How many residents typically attend our school board meetings vs. how many residents attend township meetings? There is quite an imbalance in attendees; does low school board attendance equate to apathy, lack of interest, . . . ? The school district is facing a $9.3 million deficit and what undoubtedly could be the highest tax increase to the residents in years. I just do not understand.

OK, now I hear that Great Valley School District held their budget meeting tonight and unlike TESD meetings of late, there was not a free seat in the house. Great Valley is facing a $3.2 million deficit in their 2010-11 budget of $78.8 million budget. Three main options discussed – (1) 2.9% in accordance with the Act 1 index, (2) 4.7% increase if the district gets two exceptions and (3) no tax increase. If the GVSD board applies for an exception, 4.7% is the maximum for a tax increase. However, if they take that route the preliminary budget must be approved by February 16. Last year, GVSD imposed a 1.7% tax increase. The current property tax rate in the district is 18.22 mills and the owner of a house assessed at $234,900 now pays school taxes of $4,279.

It would seem to me that neighboring Great Valley and Tredyffrin Easttown school districts are of similar quality, teacher and staff qualifications, economics of taxpayers, etc. so why is there is such a disparity in the interest of between both sets taxpayers? Why don’t we have standing room only at school board budget meetings? Keene Hall at the Township Building was full to overflowing for the township budget meeting yet only a handful of residents are at the school board meetings? And our school tax increase is going to be enormous! What am I missing here?

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  1. I think you need to be more familiar with the people who recently ran and were elected to the GV school board, and the issues on which they ran. The phrase “intelligent design” was part of the platform. The interest is not purely budgetary — and the districts are not comparable at this point in time. The students and their aspirations are.

    1. That last comment sounds too ornery. Emial just does not convey tone very well. Sorry. Likewise my earlier comment about this blog origin as a political candidate — never meant it to sound like political analysis — just that we all come to the table for different reasons and with different levels of background — but whtaever brings people to the discussion, BRAVO! And your decision to stick with the blog despite the election results was a brave and good one — and not for a minute should you feel a need to defend it. (and I also agree that running as an independent around here means dipping deep into your own pocket?)

      So — to restate: WE need to be more famliar with their issues to understand the attention that school board politics is attracting. Also GV started a website/blog in 2007 (?) — Great Valley Stakeholders? — that resulted in identifying and promoting school board candidates. Their issue then was the proposal that the school district be involved in helping Worthington (or whatever it’s called) to fund development with tax credits for a private developer. Don’t even know how they resolved that — but it certainly encouraged the community to learn about school funding issues. They also have a new superintendent and the community seems anti-incumbents for school administrators.

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