Pattye Benson

Community Matters

TESD Budget Process Continues at Finance Committee Meeting on Monday, March 8, 7:30 PM

The TESD 2010-11 budget process will continue with further discussion at the Finance Committee Meeting on Monday, March 8. Due to the expected turnout, the meeting has been moved to Conestoga High School and will begin at 7:30 PM. Here is the Agenda for tomorrow’s meeting. The agenda includes goals for the Finance Committee.

Finance Committee Goals:

1. Review and update the 5 year plan incorporating the new known factors (i.e. new contracts, PSERS, determine level and use of fund balance) impacting the plan.

2. Formulate the 2009-2010 budget identifying expense cut opportunities with an eye toward protecting the education program.

3. Continue to explore opportunities for co-op with other local districts for non-public school transportation.

4. Study implications and impact of converting TE school district to a charter school district.

In attempt to make it easier for the public to understand the process, the TESD Finance Committee has put together background materials for the March 8 Finance Committee Meeting. The document details the proposed budget strategies and includes lists of those strategies that were reviewed and recommended as well as ideas that were reviewed and rejected.

The School Board will adopt the 2010-11 Preliminary Budget at the May 10 TESD Meeting and the final adoption of the 2010-11 Budget occurs at the June TESD Meeting. I’d like to applaud whichever school board member(s) responsible for making these details available online for the public. The information is well-organized, color-coded and easy to follow. For planning purposes, the future dates of the Finance Committee are: March 8, April 12, May 3, and June 7. There is a Budget Workshop scheduled for March 15.

We understand that the school district is facing a looming deficit in the 2010-11 budget. There are miles to go between now and when the preliminary budget gets approval in May. I encourage parents, teachers and residents to attend tomorrow’s Finance Committee. This is an opportunity to voice your support and/or concern about programs that may be headed for the cutting block. Discussion and exchange of information can be useful to the school board as they may critical decisions for the school district. There will be discussion on the update of the 5-year plan which includes contracts. I know that Dr. Waters, the district superintendent, recently renewed his current contract for 5 additional years (at his current salary). When do the district teacher contracts expire?

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  1. The following comment was just added to an older post and thought it was appropriate to also include it on this post on the Finance Committee Meeting tomorrow. The commentor takes real exception at Dr. Waters contract — I wonder if he knows that the contract was just extended for an additional 5 years. If he didn’t know before, he will certainly know now. Anyone else feel similarily about Dr. Waters ‘salary/benefit package’?

    papadick58, on March 7, 2010 at 2:18 PM Said:

    I must take exception to the Contract for the School Superintendent as well as some comments on the lack of Board involvement on Budget matters.
    On the contract — as a business man for nearly 40 years – the last 12 of which was running my own small business of 12 full time employees I would like to know who “drafted” this Contract. I know of no business that would be able to get their Board to approve such a travesty.

    First the base salary of 224,515. PLUS 15 % for benefits. (33,677). If that is not enough we add something that should be explained in simple English called “Competitive Market Rate Adjustment” of 35,000. WHAT IS THAT??? Is this a replacement for his kids educational costs?

    We are not finished – seems that the “Rate Adjustment” does not seem to get the job done so we add another 5,000 per year and call it a “Retention Bonus” And glory be – we are not done as with a salary of 224,515 per year it seems that Dr. Waters can not afford to make his contribution to the state Teachers retirement plan (PSERS) – which by the way all teachers must make from their salaries of no where near 224,515 per year. But are we done yet — on a compensation package of over 300,000 per year it seems that we the taxpayers should provide a car for Dr. Waters for his business & personal use and it is tough making ends meet on that 300K pe year so we will pay for his gasoline, oil, repairs, insurance (liability & property damage) and all maintenance. I wonder which member of the Board takes credit for working on this.

    And now to the Board. It is certainly a positive step to ask Administration to submit recommendations for budget cuts. However – there is a glaring area missing in the recommendations – and that is Administration itself. It is hard to imagine that they would recommend making cuts to their close friends they see every day or suggest consolidation of jobs on West Valley Road. Dr. Waters wants to pat himself on his back for item 7 on the original proposal entitled “Eliminate Supervisor of Special Ed Position” for a savings of 140,000. This is a reduction due to a schedule retirement or “attrition” and not from a belt tightening. However the more interesting point is that item 6 on the original proposal is “Eliminate all CHS Classes with fewer that 15 students” and has a value of 146,000. In response to questions Administration said this was equivalent to 2 FTE’s. So – 2 teachers equal 146,000 and one Admin person equals 140,000. Interesting.

    Now we have a shortfall yet no where in any of these numbers is there any consideration or recognition of the value of disposable Real Estate. Several years ago the Board approved the PURCHASE of the buildings on West Valley Road to house Waters and his people. They did this with a cost of purchase and retro-fitting of over 7 million dollars — ooops no more budget shortfall. If this is not bad enough – this was done with no PLAN to dispose of the ESC building in Berwyn and no plan today other than to ask for a study to tell he Board what it will cost to knock it down. The District also owns 4 – 5 houses next to the T/E Middle School which they now say will be demolished. I would ask why?? The expansion of the parking lots were tabled so why not SELL these houses — even at a below market rate of 150,000 per house it seems we could save 4 or more FTE’s or buy one hell of a lot of supplies or teachers aids.

    I would suggest that the Board has a Fiduciary obligation to the taxpayers in the District and at the moment they are not carry out their duties. Starting with the blatant approval of Waters contract to the District owning non-productive real estate.

    I would propose that we sell the West Valley Property and send Waters and his people back to the ESC building and we may solve the shortfall.

    1. great post.
      Has anyone here been as scrupulous with the admin salaries and raises over the past two years?
      I am curious what they look like.

      1. None this year; 4% last year, approved in the winter before any budget discussions, but effective July 1.

        1. Is there somewhere where we can see their contracts?I am curious. I remember seeing some salaries during teacher contract negotiation and I see them now. For some there are huge jumps in salary in just two years.
          I just think if we are going to hold the teachers’ contracts to the coals we should do the same with the admins’. Waters’ contract is quite stacked in such economic hardships.

          1. The administrators are also the beneficiaries of supply and demand — the teachers are not. There are plenty of applications for the teaching positions. Not so many for an administrator. They are supposedly freezing their pay this year — but there are half a dozen current admins who could be part of a superintendent search any time they chose.
            Any huge jump would be to bring a former teacher to an administrative level — going from a 9 month employee to a 12 month employee. Going from a contractual day to a work day.

            1. I am not sure that is right. There are plenty of applicants for teachers and admins alike- the question is: how many are qualified for a district like T/E?
              12 month employees? They get 5 weeks off and then some.
              So, you are saying the admins are worth the big salaries but the teachers who actually have direct contact with students everyday making decisions in the classroom that decide their successes are not worth it?
              I have been hearing here that we can’t afford expensive teachers and they can go elsewhere to get paid more. Why isn’t that true of our admins then?

              1. Don’t know where any of you are getting information, so I cannot address it specifically. But there are NOT plenty of applicants to be administrators. Simply not true. To “enter” administration — maybe — but not administrators with a resume. No one said we cannot afford expensive teachers — simply that teachers are part of a collective bargaining group — and that the district has no incentive to pay the most in the region 1)because Lower Merion wants that privilege and 2) because TESD has a wonderful staff and plenty of applicants. Wachovia may not pay as much as Citizens — but would pay more if they couldn’t fill the positions. Right now TESD is investigating online learning simply because it’s hard to hire people to teach certain courses and you can do it more affordably if you offer online learning. You cannot pay a great teacher too much, and you cannot pay a bad teacher little enough to run them off — but since we have to pay them ALL THE SAME, then you find a satisfactory number that will keep good people and attract good people. Administrators — you want to attract good people INTO administration and then you want to retain them. Headhunters in education do national searches to fill major or higher level administrative jobs. I don’t know of any public school system in this area that has had to turn to a headhunter to find a teacher. If they could differentiate between teachers in salary, I’m guessing a PhD in Physics is harder to find and hire than an elementary teacher — but they all get the same teacher contract… and the same pay. So yes — whatever job you have, you can always go someplace else to get paid more….if you can get hired. Teachers with special training and talents can still do that — but otherwise their contracts have made them commodities. Administrators continue to be individuals who are the beneficiaries of supply and demand as Sarah said above.
                And let’s not ignore the fact that administrators — especially curriculum supervisors and building administration — make critical decisions affecting students every day. Teachers lesson plan — but your child’s classroom teacher gets direction on what to teach, and gets evaluated and staff development from the central office. It’s a team. Get a bad teacher and see how far you can get with that without administrative support.

                To correct one of your conclusions: our admins can go elsewhere and get paid more. ;They don’t because you don’t just work for money — you work for satisfaction and support and other reasons. Clearly TESD is a good place to work. Likewise, teachers that TAKE the job here, when it is at less money than Lower Merion, obviously want a job, and find TE to be an acceptable place to start.

              2. A team between Admin & the Teachers?? If that is the truly the situation – then let’s look at “teams” — there are players & coaches – coaches develop the game plans, or as you state the curriculum, and the players execute. Now who gets the highest pay using sport teams as an analogy?? In this – as in all school districts – this is directly opposite — interesting….

  2. Thank you papdick58 for providing this information about Dr. Water’s salary. This seems absolutely unbelievable to get this kind of compensation package. No wonder he offered to sign for an additional 5 years with no increase. How great is that for him — I’d like to know how many of the taxpayers in the TE School District make $300K plus all those benefits. I would guess its a fairly small percentage. I know that the man has done a good job, but still!! Talk about job security! All I can saw is, wish I had is so good! I guess I should have gotten a PhD. in Education instead of a computer science degree

  3. Anonymous — I think you are right. Dr. Waters package is an example of supply and demand at its finest — and worst — because he is wonderfully good at his job, but the other 500+ districts in PA need someone with his credentials as well. (credentials, not education). The public sector has grown bloated because there are never reasons NOT to give a raise…and elected boards are spending tax dollars, which they can raise at will.

    Several states have considered (and some may have implemented) caps on this pay, as it really is quite competitive to hire someone for the job, but everyone competing is competing for taxpayer funded work. I doubt very much that the TESD board asked Dr. Waters what it would take to keep him….they just don’t want to lose him.
    Likewise, big bumps towards the end of careers cost the taxpayers of the state because pensions are based on the last few years of compensation. I don’t know how much of the compensation counts towards his pension, but at 2.5% per year of working, superintendent pensions can be 100%.
    So yes Anon — it’s time to stop worrying about what teachers make…because any teacher that wants to make the effort can go into administration, and that’s where districts compete to hire you.

  4. I’m not going to comment on the details as I have not read Dr. Waters contract — but I have done a lot of research on the superintendent compensation issue since I sat with the then leaders of local districts more than 10 years ago (when we were facing the last year of Dr. Foote’s contract at TESD) and heard them talk about how much they had to pay to get someone to take their job. $100M budgets, 500+ employees, buildings open at 6 am and meetings at night end at 10 or 11 pm….one or two or three labor unions – state codes, local codes, CPE requirements — and you give up your tenure that you earned as a teacher or principal. Radnor is on their 3rd or 4th superintendent (if you count acting) in the last 10 years; Lower Merion is on their 3rd in the last 7 years. Great Valley renewed their last superintendent and she subsequently announced her retirement….well before any renewal expiration.

    Here’s an example of the issue — a quote from a Milwaukee newspaper at the start of this past school year:

    “The next leader of XXXXX District of Milwaukee Public Schools could receive a salary that’s $100,000 more than that of outgoing superintendent William Andrekopoulos, Board members decided Tuesday night.

    Combined with the same benefits package Andrekopoulos receives, the pay and benefits for the next school superintendent could reach nearly $362,000 per year.

    In a meeting spent hammering out the details of the superintendent search and the attributes needed in a successful candidate, board members agreed they needed to raise the base salary to attract high-quality applicants….”In order to attract top candidates,” Ray said, “I think that you have to look at the numbers and say, ‘Do we want to compete for those types of candidates?’ ”

    The board ultimately decided to advertise a superintendent salary in the “275 range,” but to determine a final salary based on the applicants’ qualifications. ”

    So — the issue is complicated….and I have posted before that the solution is always based on who is sitting on the board, elected at the time the decision is made.

    In my opinion, the posters above are correct — there are many, many positions open for superintendents — and specific qualifications required for the job. So the demand far outstrips the supply….and you know what that does to price.

    The newly hired Great Valley superintendent came from a PA district ranked in the bottom quarter of the state where he was under contract from July 1 2006 through June 2010, starting at $98,000 plus benefits (as of 2006). So, he came to GVSD without completing his prior contract and the published information (which does not include any benefits to my knowledge) on his starting salary is $200,000 . I don’t know any of this for fact — since I have not done a Right to Know request there, but you can check out and look at the extensive HELP WANTED listings. Doubtful you will see that in any other employment sector in the US at this time.

  5. In regards to the Old Lancaster RD properties ..the school district paid over 1.3 million for the 4 houses and let them ROT ( they are unrentable). Estimated demolition costs are around 400,000. The 2009 cost for a 48 space lot was 1.2 million …but if you add 2 parking surveys ..a team of lawyers ( zoning & planning ) ..8% architect fees etc..this might be the most expensive parking in Tredyffrin. Stay tuned its been taken off this summer’s project list ..and moved to 2011/12.. Tell them to sell the lot next to Teamer Field on Conestoga RD..they paid good taxpayer money for that property also.

    1. Thank you CHV. I remember when those houses were purchased (actually, if memory serves me correctly, I think a BOS supervisor lived in one of them?). That’s not the point — but how long ago was it that the purchase went through? You are right, those houses have just been let go. If they were not prepared to move on the project, why didn’t they immediately rent them out until they were ready? What was the original reason for the purchase? Were the houses to be taken down for additional parking? If that was the case, why didn’t they move ahead with the project at the time of the purchase? What was the rush for? I would love to have School Board response.

      1. The Facilities meetings are at 7:30 or even earlier in the morning…Dr. Motel has been the chair for at least 7 years and I think he pretty much calls the shots. I cannot imagine anyone goes to the meetings so maybe it’s time for someone to question what they are doing? I would like to know how much they spent to fix up the Daemion House building? And why?

  6. Does anyone have any information on this finance committee goal – Study implications and impact of converting TE school district to a charter school district?

  7. The homes have been purchased one by one since 2005. They were not rented because the district said they were not in the rental business. Original plan was for tennis courts because they were removed when Conestoga was renovated. Somehow they came up with a parking lot BUT did a parking study after the plans were unveiled. The rush..the sidewalk project ..they wanted this parking lot completed before construction took place. TESD paid dearly for the fourth house…only one property remains and it belongs to 96yr senior citizen. In the meantime the new 2.5 million IT building opened around the corner and it has plenty of parking for TEMS.. This is a total waste of taxpayer money that should be used for education.

    1. So now the question is — what is TESD going to do with the property? They can’t rent it out because of its condition. Although, I’m sure that getting it to a rentable state would be far less than tearing down and construction. The idea was that they would have this parking lot constructed before the sidewalk project starts (as in tomorrow). It certainly would seem that the purchase, legal fees, studies, etc. has been an enormous waste of taxpayer money. Maybe we need to look in to what the TESD Facilities Committee is doing about this property? Hmm . . . wonder how the TESD long range plan factors in the development of this property?

  8. Paige
    That “goal” has been on the Finance committee list for over a year — charter schools have fewer mandates from the state and I think it’s just there in case they ever get fed up. But I would personally love to hear how they respond to the question.

  9. The house on Conestoga Road (which I believe was purchased from someone who came to lots of meetings and complained about CHS trash, noise etc) was demolished in 2005/06 — and here is the segment of the Facility Minutes from Dec 2006 regarding that “plot of land” after the demolition:

    Use of 945 Conestoga Road
    Members of the committee discussed various uses for the plot of land at 945 Conestoga Road.
    Mr. Daley reviewed design concepts for the plot. Members of the committee asked Mr. Daley if
    the land could be incorporated into the Teamer Field plaza. Mr. Daley indicated that he would look into the request and report back to the committee. Members of the committee indicated that the development of the plot should be phased and that the School District should look for opportunities to partner with both Townships on the development of the land, including the potential for a Veterans Memorial.

    In other words — they bought that house (presumably for no educational reason) and THEN they discussed what to do with the property????

    1. Are you kidding me! Let me get this correct — according to these Facility Committee minutes, the district purchased the property with no clue as to what they were going to do with it? Frankly, this really unbelievable . . . and we are not to say this kind of land purchase could have aided in any way to our current mega-million deficit, right? Thank you Township Reader for providing the background.

      1. It was supposed to be parking, it has never been paved, but it is used for parking for event staff during games.

      2. Pattye, you reacted to TownShip reader incredulously. But is TR correct? Why don’t you check his/her facts, maybe with a school board member and then give your opinion. Why jump the gun.. Maybe there are some? or at least one good reason for the purchase?

        1. Chet
          I checked if that makes you trust TR — and that is taken directly from the minutes he references.

    2. Revenue raiser:

      How about opening TEAMER Field to soccer leagues, lacrosse leagues and field hockey leagues at a reasonable fee. That field remains idle for a majority of the time and like Radnor and maybe others, can be a source of income through renting it out. Yes, more wear and tear, but it should still last for its recommended life span. There is now no neighbor next door, and maybe we can recoup SOME money?

  10. Tom Colman could shed some light on this since he helped look at the TESD Finances several years back. Tom?

    1. This is the same Tom Colman who permitted the $50K so-called St. Davids offer to appear in the BAWG report, right?

      1. One and the same — and he’ll only shed light if he wants you to see it. I think he was appointed/asked to help by the guy who runs Facilities committee…so good luck.

  11. CHV — I think you have followed the purchase and subsequent plans/changing plans/lack of plans for the properties — maybe you could enlighten us. I know there is a “bus loop” as part of the project planning, but I really thinkTESD has a problem by having the Facilities committee be so separate from the Finance committee — so one group talks projects, and the other group talks money… possibly lacking a stategic purpose. When you read minutes, they approve expenditures and then refer to finance for how to pay for it.

  12. Excellent points here. To Pattye’s original point, the Board has been smart to realize that the only way to deal with a problem where just about every stakeholder has to make a sacrifice is to be fully transparent, and they have followed though very effectively.

    I do agree that the Waters’ salary is high, and that was acknowledged at the Board discussion of the contract. But I guess it’s not that out of line with that of a CEO of a $100 million business, especially considering the variety of constituencies and the political nature of the job. As well as being competitive in the School Superintendent marketplace. The next five years will provide a real test of whether that top tier salary is really deserved.

    (Kind of off-topic, but it’s interesting how our progressive tax structure offsets the outrageous disparity in executive and worker salaries. It’s probably completely appropriate that 95% of federal income taxes are paid by 5% of citizens (or whatever the current numbers are)).

    It could indeed be time to shine a light onto the Facilities Committee. The next meeting is on Friday at 7:30am. Here is the Agenda What indeed is the full inventory of TESD facilities and what are the options for reducing operating costs and for unlocking unproductive value from them?

    The study of charter school feasibility was on the Finance committee goals before I paid much attention. I had guessed that one benefit would be to allow more staffing flexibility. Definitely worth some clarification.

    I look forward to learning a lot about the budget options tomorrow.

    1. Thanks Ray for your comments and providing the agenda for the Facilities Committee meeting. Are these meetings open to the public? And if so, wonder if we are allowed to ask questions? Have any of you ever attended a Facilities meeting? On the Facilities Committee agenda, the following goals were provided. Interesting, huh?

      Committee Goals
      1. Re-prioritize 2009 and 2010 summer projects in light of slowing down of capital spending.
      2. Determine decommissioning timeline for the remaining ESC operations.
      3. Recommend plan for physical ESC building/site.
      4. Continue annual updates of the Infrastructure Report.
      5. Re-examine the 5-10 year facility needs for the District.
      6. Recommend communication strategy for the 5-10 year facility plan.

      1. The meetings are indeed open to the public, and from the minutes I see that some community attendees have been contributing regularly. The Committee goals seem generally OK, assuming that they address the issues specifically listed in the comments made here. Hopefully the communication strategy can reflect the steps taken in other district bodies and include public release of key documents like the Infrastructure Report. I think the public would also benefit from a summary tabulation of the facilities financials, highlighting overhead line items such as consultant retainer fees as well as direct building expenses, recent and planned project expenses and capital values.

  13. The “proposed” TEMS parking lot plan is not a bus loop its a parent drop off.. 48 additonal spaces with 2 water retention areas..same entrance with another exit further down.The problem is if someone waits by the door the cars behind stack into the street. Face it we have 3 schools dismissing at the same time & a bridge that lets 6 cars out . It’s too late for the houses the bid for demolition will be awarded Friday but the public can have a say in what happens to the property. Currently TESD has a 5 yr permit to build a parking lot . Be aware of what happens at Faciliities..they have many DRAFT plans one shows a 5 million dollar expansion of the bus garage on Old Lancaster RD . . They wanted to buy the remaining property and build a bus,maintanence,storage facility.that would be connected to this proposed TEMS parking lot.
    As to 945 Conestoga RD when Teamer Field was being renovated they wanted that property for an acess road to Old Lancaster. the other home owner would not sell and other ideas have not worked out so the area is used for unofficial parking .. To answer the question about Daemion..its located in the new IT building the renovation cost approx. 2,5 million.

  14. April 2008 Facility Minutes
    Mr. Daley also presented revised plans to provide parking and a more efficient bus loop behind Tredyffrin-Easttown Middle School on Old Lancaster Road. Committee members evaluated the proposed plans and agreed to have Mr. Daley move forward with the design and implementation of the project. The Committee also discussed the need to coordinate
    this project with the Tredyffrin Township sidewalk construction project. With that in mind, the Committee asked the administration to arrange to submit the proposed plan to the appropriate Township committee for approval.

    Does this committee just authorize the architects every time they hear a good idea?

  15. January 2009 Facility Minutes
    Due to current economic conditions, the Committee agreed to postpone plans for the construction of a parking lot near T/E Middle School. Mr. McDonnell will confirm with Tredyffrin Township that the township can still coordinate its sidewalk construction project with the District’s parking lot project in light of the postponement. • The Committee discussed alternative uses for its residential properties on Old Lancaster Road adjacent to T/E Middle School.

  16. CHV — here are the most recent minutes I could find about the bus loop — do you have any more extensive info?

    November 2009 Facilitiy Minutes
    Parking Lot at T/E Middle School:
    • The Committee discussed the parking situation at T/E Middle School. Dr. Motel asked the Administration to take another look at the parking study. Dr. Motel
    asked for parking counts, the number of spaces necessary and new information regarding the timing of the Townships sidewalk project. Dr. Motel also asked Daley & Jalboot to update the drawling and come up with some phasing of the plans that still addressed the bus drop off area as well as adding new parking spaces.

  17. I am trying to understand exactly which houses were puchased by the TESD and their locations to the middle school and high school. I am confused. I thought the houses were on Old Lancaster – where are they, next to the bus parking? Does the property attach the middle school? Does anyone know the exact # of the houses. And what abour 945 Conestoga Rd., was that a separate purchase? Is that the house that is next to the field? If so, I thought it was a group of houses along htere that the district purchased. Help me understand which houses? Also, does the District pay school/property taxes on these houses? Or are they exempt as a school district? One further question, . . . does the district own the Damien House? I know that next to it is a district garage but what is the building itself used for?

    Thanks to anyone that can help with these questions.

  18. Pattye,
    There are 5 homes on Old Lancaster RD between TEMS and the bus garage. The district owns 4…….#866,880 884 & 888.
    The first parking study was done in April 2008 and showed a 55 space deficit( Daley & Jalboot) . TESD called for another survey in Nov 2009. because a concerned citizen took daily counts for months and showed a 25% parking availability thanks to the new IT lot. ..hence NO NEED for a new lot. I thought they cancelled it but in the summary from the Jan 2010 Facilities meeting it says “the move of the TE Middle School parking lot project into the year 2011-12”. So it seems its still on for the future.
    945 Conestoga RD came from the Teamer Field project..( June 2006)
    Daemion is not owned by the district .it is ;ocated in the IT building on Howellville RD former site of the TE maintenance ( the garage got torn down and is now a parking lot) . And the maintenance dept is spread all over… some are at the bus garage & some at ESC.
    Thanks to everyone for bringing this up for discussion.

    1. Thanks CHV for the details. So total the district owns 4 houses currently. In reading some of the minutes re parking lot, it appeared that the feasibility studies determined that the price was too high to be used as parking lot. But based on the Jan. 10 facilities minutes, it looks like the project is still on board, just slid a year. The house at 945 Conestoga Road was demolished, correct? And is used for overflow parking for Teamer Field?

      OK, Daemion is not owned by the district but are saying that the district owns the building? If so, over the last year a lot of work was done to the building’s exterior. Since the garage is gone, is that parking lot used for middle school staff? Is there any complete list of all TESD properties? I am cuious how the property taxes work on these individual parcels; is the district exempt?

      Again, thanks for your background information; the picture is getting clearer.

      1. Pattye, the lot next to Teamer is barely adequate for overflow parking. you will see coaches or officials maybe park there, but maybe room for 5-6 cars. Essentially, it is not open for public use during functions at teamer. But the upside it there is no house there full of unhappy people to complain about the use of teamer, light, crowds, PA system, so I propose to open teamer up to rentals….

  19. Chet — Most great ideas have already been considered….in fact Teamer is available for rental….

    TESD Policy 7040 – Use of District Facilities

    All groups requesting use of District facilities, other than fields, are required to submit a request
    application to the principal or designee of the school building they are seeking to use. All groups
    requesting use of District fields are required to submit a written request to the Conestoga
    Athletic Director or designee.
    Upon receipt of a request to use a facility, if the building principal (or Athletic Director) is
    unable to determine the group’s classification, the request shall be reviewed by the Chief
    Operations Officer. If the classification is still contested, the request shall be referred to the
    Superintendent or designee.
    Associated Fees and Charges
    The District reserves the right to determine the rental fee and impact schedules for each class of
    users requesting District facilities. In addition to these charges, the District reserves the right to
    charge for support services including but not limited to custodial, cafeteria, stage crew and
    lighting assistance. The District will make every effort to advise the user of the support services
    charges prior to the facility use. Added fees may be assessed for excessive and unexpected clean
    up or support services. All fee schedules will be maintained in the District Business Office and
    updated as necessary. At the discretion of the administrator in charge of the desired facility, a
    security deposit may be required. If two unrelated organizations use a facility at the same time,
    – 3 – Policy 7040
    each will pay all the required charges and fees in full. In case of damage to District facilities the
    user shall compensate the District in full.
    Billing for

    1. I am not sure this applies to Teamer. From my experiences in the township, while other fields are eligible for permitting, I think Teamer is off limits, part of an agreement? made with neighbors when the field was redone. I admit I have no written proof of this, but in fact I would make a small wager that Teamer is NOT part of the above policy

      Anecdotally, I have never seen it used outside of a district school function or for high school playoffs not involving stoga teams.

      1. Teamer is NOT open to rental. Certain fields are available but Teamer is NEVER used in the summer or anytime else for that matter.

  20. CHV –
    I have heard a school board member explain about the proposed bus loop change at TEMS (not at a meeting, but at a TEMS event where someone asked) — which is why they claim they needed to buy the additional house to get it done. You seem to have gone to meetings — have they ever shown a site plan? The Nov minutes refers again to the bus loop — which I thought was to allow bus traffic off of Conestoga road to exit onto Old Lancaster. Obviously that has changed since Old Lancaster has way more traffic issues that I can tell — but with the Nov minutes stating that Mr. Motel directed the architects to update the bus drop off drawings….whassup?

  21. Finally a forum for discussion. First to the Superintendents Contract and salary package. No one has attempted to explain just what the term “Competitive Market Rate Adjustment” for 35,000 means. It may well be a new paragraph heading for the prior contract(s) paragraph granting Waters 35,000 to educate his family. Obviously it must not be enough of an Adjustment as we now follow that with a 5,000 “Retention Bonus”. And then there is the fact that he can not afford to pay for his mandated contribution to PSERS nor for his own oil, gas & insurance for his district provided car…
    I will grant you that T/E has a renown school district. I would simply ask if that is because of the Socioeconomic makeup of the the townships. If one looks at the top tier school districts nation wide they tend to be in the suburban areas (bedroom communities) surrounding large metropolitan cities. Do we think that is because of the Superintendent’s or might it be because of the fact that the community is made up of college educated parents that care. Look at Radnor — 4 Superintendents in the past 3-5 years and has their level of success gone down? If the Superintendent is so critical to the daily delivery of the classroom environment then it would follow that we could send Waters to the Chester School District and he would soon have dramatic changes over test scores and graduation levels. I have a lot of respect for Dr. Waters but at a time when my school taxes are increasing – and part of that is due to the fact that I am forced to contribute to his oil & gas etc….
    I wonder if we would all think that if T/E & Great Valley merged districts that it would then be proper to pay the Superintendent 600,000 a year. As to the post re Milwaukee School districts salary levels I would ask if that District had only one High school.
    I am pleased to see the active discussion of the real estate. I was in contact with the Board in a big way concerning the PURCHASE of the building on West Valley Road, (and retro-fits) for 7 million dollars and leaving the ESC building in Berwyn with no plan to sell or use it. Having the school administration folks housed in school building was an ideal setting — and when I asked the Board to explain how the move to the new digs would have a positive impact on a third grade student – I got a request from one Board member to appear at a Board meeting and apologize. I am an advocate of selling West Valley for the 7 million and covering all of the deficits. Dr. Motel has no clue as to what his duties are or how to manage tax dollars. I recall a Board meeting where one Board member said that her No vote on the dollars being expended on the high school renovations was due to a 35,000 item to “color” the sidewalks in the court yard. Dr. Motel admonished the Board member for daring to question the recommendations of his committee.
    By the way — I thought the buses were out sourced — so we have a bus garage — we might want to take a look at how many vehicles are part of the maintenance — there just may be more trucks than there are schools…
    Finally I would like to propose that all of the Administrators in Administration, including the Superintendent, be required to spend 4 weeks of each school year as a classroom teacher. This would be a three year cycle – one year in the Elementary, One in Middle and then one in High school and then the cycle starts again. This would entail doing lesson plans – recess duty – testing- lunch room – grading etc. I think that many on West Valley have been out of the day to day and have lost touch with actuality – kids are different today than they were when Dr. Waters left the classroom nearly 20 years ago.

    1. Papadick:

      “Look at Radnor — 4 Superintendents in the past 3-5 years and has their level of success gone down? ”

      For one who has been in business for 40 years, the last 12 of which you ran a business, you sure don’t place much value on management. Would 4 CEOs in 3-5 years impact a business? Its financial results? Probably. How about the employees? Almost certainly. Dr. Waters is the CEO of a “business” with more than 500 employees, 10 facilities, and $100mm+ budget – the size of a small public company.

      And by the way, I am certain that there are hard costs (search fees, etc.), not to mention a tremendous amount of Admin and Board time that could be better spent, to Radnor’s Superintendent turnover.

  22. Your memory is clearly not what you believe it to be — though I am sure there were times when you saw Dr. Motel defend a facility recommendation. When the Conestoga renovations were under discussion and subsequently undertaken, I was the chair of the Facilities committee. I would be happy to answer any questions relating to that time period. Conestoga has a woefully inadequate heating/cooling system because the full sitting board would not approve a 4-pipe (standard installation) system — couldn’t get 5 votes to do it. As a result, they have a two-pipe system — which means it’s either time to heat or time to cool…and since we cannot open the windows like in a home to offset that, it’s somewhat archaic. Conclusion is that board votes are not always in the best interest of the project…so if Dr. Motel ever sounded like he was upset with another member, I would suggest that it was because many hours with consultants and experts are spent in facility meetings, and board members not up to speed sometimes vote on their gut, not on the facts. I use the HVAC system at Conestoga as my teaching tool in that regard. We renovated a building in 2000 and used a 1960 cooling model.
    Your idea about returning to the classroom — a great percentage of administrative time is spent in the classroom as administrators are who by law evaluate teachers. Our teachers, by the way, for the most part do not do recess or lunch duty by contract. Dinkins, Gusick, Meisinger, Dinkins, Donovan were all long-term and top ranked teachers before coming into administration (others as well — but the time as administrators is less).

    1. I beg to differ – there are teachers that do lunch duty every day. Additionally, while observations are vitally important – administrators spend far less time in the classroom than youmay think. Although I am sure they would enjoy spending more time there – there are just too many other pressing issues.

      Your comments on the HVAC system are interesting. Revamping the system – while it may require an initial investment of money – may save money ten-fold in the future, especially with the rate caps being lifted next year. Might be something the district should look into as one of their financial strategies…

    2. My memory is spot on Andrea as to the School Board Meeting in which a member merely explained why she was voting “NO” to a proposed expenditure that included a 35,000 amount to do nothing more than “tint or color” the concrete in the high school court yard. And my comments as to Motel’s response was that they were uncalled for as they denigrated the member and her opinion while not defending or explaining the need to spend this money on this particular item.
      I was not in any way critical of the much larger renovations undertaken under your leadership.
      Speaking of of HVAC — when Motel was asked why the middle schools, and the high school are air-conditioned and not the elementary schools he came up with the usual Board action — we need yet another study conducted by outside consultants. This was a study that entailed putting monitoring devices in classrooms and taking measurements for several months. And to date there has been no report of the results or conclusions reached. Just money spent.
      I too take exception with your comments that teachers do not have lunch room duty or recess duty — just ask the elementary teachers that question. While there are many Aids doing lunch duty — look at the proposed cuts to the Aids and try to explain who will doing lunch or recess duties — oh and do not forget dismissal and bus duty in the elementary grades.

      1. I apologize for the tone there — I read that you were talking about when the renovations were ttaking place, and I assure you that Dr. Motel was a complete rookie — Phil Hooper was the reason that provided the sanity. I only want to say that sometimes board members don’t read their materials — don’t ask questions — and simply oppose in public — which feels like grandstanding to those of us who went to all the meetings and tried to make good faith decisions. If you are familiar with the major renovations at CHS, you will remember the issue with the air conditioning — and I can pretty much assume (risky as it is) that there is not 5 votes of support to air condition the elementary schools — but rather than take a vote and end the debate, they will continue to stall and do studies (not something I would do for sure). Dr. Motel may be supporting the idea and keeps throwing up information to lure others to his side. I do not know any of this for certain — purely speculative. I have read the minutes and I believe the elementary a/c would be upwards of $10M — though the estimate is four a 4-pipe system. Unit ventilators are an option as are other things.
        I also apologize for my reference to teachers and duties — too glib. Elementary teachers especially — since they teach blocks of time and not periods are certainly outside my memory… and indeed with the major cuts in aid support, no doubt many teachers will find themselves on the playground and lunch room again in the future.
        Papadick — I share your frustrations, and it is a significant reason that I resigned from the school board before my 3rd term ended. Especially given the value of time — both volunteer and employee — I don’t think the games that the BOS or even the school board play by orchestrating presentations and votes does anyone any major service. The “unanimous” votes I assure you are because if you cannot get 5 votes on your side, why show division? I always took the other track — I believe showing the division is a better example of what the process SHOULD look like — and also prevents backroom deals to get to 5 votes. Example: the BOS St. Davids vote of 4-3 — since the “yea” votes that night did not explain themselves, it left most of the viewing public apoplectic that this seemed like a “done deal”. Now — that showed the other side — that it wasn’t unanimous — but since we didn’t get to hear any of the deliberation — no one made a case FOR the vote — there wasn’t any community comfort level.
        babbling on. Keep up the vigilance.

        1. Absolutely not. John — WHY do you always have to use this board to inflame and enrage? Pete Motel is a doctor who has learned this field and works tirelessly ….though clearly not without detractors. I had a background in construction, and deputized Phil Hooper to support the efforts. Any advice Pete and the committee get are bought and paid for — and clearly scutinized. I would do many things differently — but given your snide comments about present and former members, no one could do it as well as you apparently believe should be done.

        2. Andrea – thank you for your comments… and yes I will stay vigilant…
          I guess I can not expect unpaid Board members to READ their materials (some do however and it easy to identify those that do) when Congress does not read their Bills before voting on them. BUT I do expect them to read the materials and ask good questions.
          Seems that Rich Brake is asking good questions on curriculum matters – he should be applauded.

  23. Your comments about superintendents contributing — let’s wait until this next school year begins. Radnor and Lower Merion are both in the final year of their contracts. The last contract at Radnor was dismal and was part of the reason their last contracted Superintendent left well before he was scheduled to. They have actually had 5 superintendents — two interim, DeFlaminis, Cooper and now their current superintendent. And yes — there is a cost to the district. Instability is incredibly complicated in a school administration. Look at Lower Merion — two class action law suits in place right now with legal bills exceeding $200K to date — and nothing has even gone to trial. This comes from a community that simply does not trust the people in charge — in many cases because they do not KNOW the people in charge.

  24. On the Superintendents compensation package of 350,000 and comparing that package to several other salaries in this country.

    Vice President of the US – $227,300
    Sec of Education – $196,700.
    Speaker of the House of Representatives – $223,500.
    Chief Justice of the Supreme Court – $217,400.

    I can see why Dan does not want to go the DC or any of the School Superintendents in the area. Please help me understand why School Boards feel the need to pay these salaries.

    1. Papadick – There is no validity whatsoever in comparing Dr. Waters salary with some random Fed Govt jobs. I am sure Joe Biden would be a great hire for TESD Superintendent (strong sarcasm).

      Mike said it best when he replied to you earlier: “Dr. Waters is the CEO of a “business” with more than 500 employees, 10 facilities, and $100mm+ budget – the size of a small public company.”

      Based upon these metrics of the “business” that Dr. Waters manages I would predict he is at the low end of the pay spectrum of similar “businesses” at his current rate. If you are going to make comparisons and judgements at least have them be somewhat relevant.

      1. Malvern Republican
        Please excuse me while I look at the Federal Budget vrs T/E School District’s budget.

  25. Because any of the folks listed above are appointed or elected — not hired. Hiring is influenced by supply and demand. Market conditions. Why not talk to some districts (Phoenixville) that have been without a superintendent and those (Radnor) who have turned them over, relying on Interim hires while they found someone who would take the job. A state requirement, with a superintendent’s letter/certificate.

  26. While as a resident of the T/E district I have a particular interest in the salary of our Superintendent – or better yet – the compensation package of the Superintendent — I am also critical of the salaries being paid by many of the Districts in suburban areas.
    The compensation package just does not make any sense – when looking at the Corporate World and the size of budgets – nor does it make any sense when looking at Urban Districts. T/E has one high school – 2 middle schools and 5 elementary schools yet we pay the Superintendent on a par with Urban school districts – such as Philadelphia. The budget in Philadelphia does not compare with the T/E.
    Also, the school superintendent is not charged with maybe the more important side of the budget – revenue. So there is no real comparison to the corporate world and managing budgets…

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