Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Community Matters

Standing on the sidelines changes nothing — TE School District aides and paras taking steps to unionize

collective bargainIt’s official, the aides and paraeducators of TE School District are taking the necessary steps to unionize. As announced by Supt. Dan Waters at last night’s Finance meeting, this group of employees is currently engaged in the process to join the collective bargaining unit TENIG (Tredyffrin Easttown Non-Instructional Group).

If you recall last spring, the District’s aides and paras came very close to having their jobs outsourced over the Federal government’s Affordable Care Act. Because of ACA compliance issues, it appeared that the District would be forced to either offer insurance or outsource the jobs of the aides and paras. At that time, the Board claimed that the District could not afford healthcare for these employees and could not risk the possible financial risks for ACA noncompliance. As a point of record, the TE School District is the only school district in the area that does not offer healthcare coverage for this group of employees.

Unfortunately, without the benefit of a collective bargaining organization there was little that the aides and paras could do to fight back against the proposed outsourcing of their jobs. In the end, the Federal government pushed off the required ACA compliance for another year. As a result, the School Board granted the District aides and paras a reprieve for the 2013/14 school year; their jobs and hours remaining intact for one more year.

As the current school year ends, what has changed for the District aides and paras during the last twelve months – are they any better off than they were a year ago? Based on their moving forward with plans to collective bargain, my guess is the answer to that question is ‘no’ – nothing has changed.

Without job security and healthcare benefits, the aides and paras are now seeking protection of their jobs and collective bargaining representation for their own jobs and for the jobs of those that will come after them. They seek fairness and consistency in employment policies and personnel decision, job security and protection of employee rights.

The community respects the passion and commitment of the aides and paraeducators to the parents and children of this District and values their contributions. It saddens me that this group of vulnerable, dedicated employees remains the school district pawns, at the mercy of the Board and the administration.

Supporting the need for an organized voice, the District aides and paras believe that all employees deserve fair and equal treatment. Standing on the sidelines changes nothing — I applaud the collective bargaining efforts of the aides and paras.; they deserve to be treated as full players not as an afterthought.

TE Students Advance to 2014 World Finals of Odyssey of the Mind Competition — Need Community Help in Funding Trip!

For the first time, Tredyffrin Easttown School District has qualified to attend the “Odyssey of the Mind” World Finals. The Odyssey of the Mind began in 1978 and is the largest international creative problem-solving competition worldwide. The competition helped pioneer the idea of creative problem solving as an educational tool and emphasizes teamwork, creativity, and problem solving. Students learn how to identify challenges and to think creatively to solve problems and are not only encouraged to think “outside the box” but are rewarded for such thinking.

The TE Youth Odyssey of the Mind team of six students, four from Valley Forge Middle School and two from New Eagle Elementary School has had the quite the journey to get to this place. The TE team members Chloe Wynn, Genevieve Duska, Alexander Hallam, John Serafim, Leo Guillen and Nicholas Sonn first had to beat out sixteen Division 1 teams at the Regional competition in March. After the regional win, the TE team moved on to the State Finals in April, successfully beat thirteen teams and secured their spot for the 2014 World Finals at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.

Oydssey of the Mind team

The 35th annual Odyssey of the Mind World competition will represent the most creative problem-solving youth from around the world coming together to exchange a wide variety of ideas on how they all solved the same problems in different ways! These kinds of international educational programs hold the hope for solving the real-life problems facing our world. These students will be the Bill Gates, Albert Einsteins and Steve Jobs of the future!

In a few short weeks, May 28 – 31, Chloe, Genevieve, Alexander, John, Leo and Nicholas will compete for the title of World Champion against teams representing more than 30 countries! In order to take part in the World Competition, the TE team needs to raise at least $10,000 to cover the entry fee, the cost of room and board, and travel to Iowa State University. Failure to raise the needed money will prevent the teams from participating in this unique opportunity to not only compete against but to meet students from all over the world.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime event for Chloe, Genevieve, Alexander, John, Leo and Nicholas and they need our help in funding their trip to Iowa. A website for the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals trip has been set up – www.teyouth.org and you can make donations online or with a check. As of this morning, contributions are listed at $2,815. Please take the time to visit the website and make your donation – no donation is too big or too small. Let’s get behind and show support for Team TE!

T/E Proposed Final Budget indicates 3.2% tax increase plus — the new Superintendent search gets underway

At the T/E School Board meeting last night, the Board approved the 2014-15 proposed final budget as follows – The Proposed Final Budget for the 2014-2015 school year is in the amount of $117,254,089 revenue, 2,671,891 fund balance transfers and $119,925,980 for appropriations on a tentative basis.

As presented, the ‘Budget Development Summary’ slide below indicates that the projected expenditures of $117,069,428 exceed the projected revenue of $113,962,589 = projected budget deficit of $3,106,839. With a tax increase of 3.2% (Act 1, 2.1% and exception, 1.1%) plus a net revenue increase of $211,370 and a net expenditure increase of $1,356,552, the revised budget has a remaining deficit of approximately $1.8 M. It is proposed that the $1.8 M will be satisfied with a fund balance contribution. The final budget is to be approved in June.

TESD 2014-15 Preliminary Budget

Once the revenue and expenditures projections for the 2013-14 school year are in, it will be interesting to see if the District ‘finds’ surplus dollars. If you recall, the District has found mega-millions in surplus the last two years in a row. Unfortunately, for taxpayers, each year the money has been ‘found’ until after the next year’s budget was passed (with a tax increase).

The budget surplus was $3.9 million for the 2011-12 school year and nearly $5 million for 2012-13 school year. It’s never been entirely clear what caused the budget surplus these last two years although I do recall that “lower than anticipated insurance costs” was used to explain a portion of the surplus. I have to believe that the Board would not approve a 3.2% increase for the taxpayers only to discover a budget surplus for the third year in a row. Not sure that there could be a valid explanation if that were to happen.

Another couple of notes from last night’s meeting. In the update from the Public Information committee meeting, Scott Dorsey announced that the process by which the public asks questions at School Board meetings and the Board responds has moved to the Policy Committee for further discussion. The next Policy Committee meeting is Friday May 9 at 12:45 PM at TEAO.

School Board President Kevin Buraks formally announced that Supt. Dan Waters will retire at the end of his current contract which ends June 30, 2015. Regardless of how people personally feel about Waters, his time remaining on the job is winding down – a little over a year left on his contract. As announced by Buraks, there is discussion underway about the process/search to hire his replacement. It appears that the Board will be utilizing the experiences of Jeanne Pocalyko, the new Personnel Direct, in conducting the search.

Ray Clarke sent the following note about last night’s meeting —

A note on the TESD Superintendent search from last night’s Board meeting. A Board Search Committee has been appointed. Members I think: Graham, Cruickshank, Bruce, Carlson but I could have missed someone over the general hubbub at the beginning of the meeting. There will be a survey to get public input sometime in May.

I wonder if they will ask meaningful questions: eg: From inside or outside the district? Re the above, definitely or preferably? Experience as a Superintendent? Rank a given set of possible selection criteria in order of importance? (Or, rate importance of the criteria, but all could be 10 out of 10). Criteria such as: experience in a high performing district; track record of improving educational results; track record of meeting budget; demonstrated public communication expertise; employee satisfaction results, and so on.

In her prior position at Dallastown Area School District (DASD, Pocalyko and the Superintendent search committee took a ‘community engagement’ approach and included administrators, teachers, parents, support staff, students, community and committee members in the effort. Although ultimately the final determination and selection of the new Superintendent remained the responsibility of the DASD Board, the decision process included the compilation of stakeholder feedback, interview results and comments from each interview round, reference checks and the school board’s consideration of district needs and input from the Committee.

Chesterbrook Shopping Center & Wayne Glen projects are on Tredyffrin’s Planning Commission meeting for Monday

The new owner of the Chesterbrook Village Shopping Center has not yet shared its plans for the half-vacant retail complex. (Caroline O'Halloran/Main Line Media News)There is an update with forward movement on the Chesterbrook Shopping Center redevelopment project! The developers of the shopping center, 500 Chesterbrook Boulevard LP, will appear in front of the Planning Commission on Monday, April 27, 7 PM to review the preliminary/final subdivision application for the site. The developers plan is to redevelop the existing 13-acre site, which contains approximately 122,000 sq. ft. of commercial space, into a mixed used development. Their plan contains approximately 31,000 sq. ft. of commercial space (utilizing a portion of the existing building) and 124 residential townhouses in the newly created Town Center District.

It has been nearly 4 years since Genuardi’s in the Chesterbrook Shopping Center closed. With the departure of the 40,000 square foot grocery store, the Center saw a significant drop in foot traffic and began a downward spiral as the empty storefronts continued.

The redevelopment of the Chesterbrook Shopping Center is very overdue – this project is going to be a win-win for the neighboring residents, the corporate employees working in Chesterbrook and other township residents, who like me, drive through the area regularly.

Also in front of the Planning Commissioners on Monday is the Wayne Glen development project. Unlike the widespread community support that developers have enjoyed with the Chesterbrook redevelopment plans, the Arcadia Land Company project ‘Wayne Glen’ at the northwest corner of the intersection of Swedesford and Old Eagle Roads, has seen its share of spirited debate.

Wayne Glen

The proposed Wayne Glen project is a mixed-use development with carriage homes and townhouses plus an office-building component. The issue for the residents close to the Richter Tract is how the developer will manage the stormwater situation as much of this area, including Glenhardie, is prone to regular flooding. The Wayne Glen project is located in the Trout Creek Overlay District and the Arcadia developers believe that their plan will utilize design techniques that will alleviate the erosion along the stream banks and flooding issues and improve the poor water quality.

On Monday, the Planning Commissioners will consider Arcadia’s conditional use application to construct 104 residential units in the R-1 Residential District and approximately 240,000 sq. ft. of non-residential building area in the Professional District.

The target audience for the residential construction in both the Wayne Glen and Chesterbrook projects is the age 55 and over market – the emptynesters and those people interested in downsizing from their large single family homes. However, with a combined increase of approximately 230 new residences between the two projects, the possibility does exist for additional school age children for the T/E School District. Typically, there is representation at these Planning Commission meetings by the School Board. However, the Planning Commission meeting on Monday conflicts with the regularly monthly meeting of the School Board.

As an aside, at the last Public Information Meeting this past week, Barb Jackson, an Easttown resident and T/E parent, asked about Dr. Waters contract and whether he would be retiring when his contract ended in June 2015. After Waters confirmed that he would retire, a follow-up question was asked regarding the search committee and process to find a replacement. Although not listed on the School Board meeting agenda for Monday, Board President Kevin Buraks told those of us at the meeting that the Board would give the specific details on the superintendent search at the upcoming school board meeting on Monday.

T/E Superintendent disputes Montgomery County DA report — Conestoga High School NOT involved in drug trafficking

Conestoga High SchoolIn the days since the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office announced the drug trafficking arrests, including the two ringleaders, Haverford School graduates, the story has become widely reported — from CNN to Good Morning America, there are articles and videos on the subject.

I’m certain that an expensive prep school such as the elite Haverford School (with upper school tuition approaching $35K) is in overdrive with damage control — much is at stake with current parents and the endowments of wealthy alum. With a tag line on their website of “Preparing Boys for Life”, the Haverford School struggles to handle the PR nightmare.

Watching Good Morning America report on the story and the high schools (Lower Merion, Haverford School, Radnor, Harriton and Conestoga) and the colleges (Lafayette, Haverford and Gettysburg) was sad — and really eerie to the Conestoga High School logo flash on the TV screen along with the others. But is all the information contained in the Montgomery County DA’s press release of April 21 accurate? Apparently, not according to T/E Superintendent Dan Waters.

Waters has just released a T/E School District press release which disputes the report of the Montgomery County DA’s office. Although Conestoga High School was named by the District Attorney in the list of Main Line high schools involved in the drug ring, Waters claims that the information is not correct. According to Waters in the following press release, no students were identified or arrested from Conestoga High School in this recent drug trafficking incident. Don’t get me wrong, I want to believe that Waters is correct and that no Conestoga students are involved but it seems strange that the DA’s office would just add Conestoga High School to the list of high schools involved — how does a District Attorney make that kind of mistake? If Waters is correct and that the Montgomery County DA’s office erred in their report, shouldn’t the T/E School District board and administration demand a retraction? Shouldn’t Conestoga High School be removed from the list?

Below is Dr. Waters response to the Montgomery County District Attorney April 21 press release — you make your own judgement. Coincidentally, the T/E Public Information Committee, chaired by T/E school board member Scott Dorsey, is holding their regularly monthly meeting tonight (6:30 PM, Administration building). Although the agenda for tonight’s meeting was set before these recent drug arrests, there is certain to be discussion. At every school board meeting, president Kevin Buraks invites the public to attend committee meetings, stating that the ‘real’ work is done at the committee level. With that in mind, I’m guessing that the Public Information committee meeting may have a ‘higher than normal’ attendance.

The Montgomery County District Attorney’s office press release reported on recent drug related arrests naming nearby high schools and colleges. The press release once again highlights the need for continued efforts to provide a safe learning environment for our students. I write to inform our community that we continue to be vigilant regarding the use of drugs and alcohol by our students within our community.

The safety of our students is paramount in our efforts to provide them with a safe learning environment. The District’s drug and alcohol practices and policies include prevention, deterrence and support for our students. The prevention strategies include classroom education efforts, schoolwide programs, student activities supporting healthy lifestyles and counseling programs. Deterrence efforts include random canine sniffs supported by the police and the enforcement of the drug and alcohol policy when applicable. Support for our students include individual counseling by our school counselors and mental health specialists. The Conestoga High School student support team, known as CARE, accepts referrals from students, parents and staff to assist students who may be in need of services. In addition, drug and alcohol counselors provided through COAD (Chester County Council on Addictive Diseases) are available to our students and families. Within the community, we have our on-going strong partnerships with ARCH (Area Residents Caring and Helping) and the police departments of both townships.

Recently, the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office issued a press release which mentioned a drug distribution ring in local high schools and colleges. Although Conestoga High School was mentioned as one of the schools in the news report, at this time, according to the affidavits forwarded to me from the Montgomery County District Attorney, there were no sellers arrested or identified from Conestoga High School. We recognize that future arrest warrants may be issued by the District Attorney if the investigation continues. We are prepared to assist law enforcement officials when they request our involvement in investigations. What can we do as a community? As the police have directed us in the past, we are all encouraged to contact the police department with information concerning illegal drug activity in our community.

Please contact the school principal, school counselor or me should you have any questions or concerns.

Dan Waters
Superintendent of Schools
Tredyffrin/Easttown School District

2014 Pennsylvania School District Rankings based on PSSA scores are in — Unionville Chadds Ford tops the list, Radnor moves up to third and T/E places fifth

Spring is PSSA time for public schools in Pennsylvania and the results for 2014 as reported in the Pittsburgh Business Times reveal exciting news for Unionville Chadds Ford School District (UCFSD). For those interested in this type of school district rankings, UCFSD now tops the state’s list, having ousted long-standing Upper St. Clair School District for the number one position based on 2014 PSSA results. The Upper St. Clair School District located in suburban Pittsburgh, had previously held the first place title for the last eight years but dropped to fourth in the rankings behind UCFSD, Mt. Lebanon (Allegheny County) and Radnor school districts for 2014.

The Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) formula ranks the school districts based on three years of state standardized test scores, giving the most weight to the current year. The PSSA is a standards-based assessment of what a student should know and be able to do at varying levels in reading, writing, science and math. Reading and math is assessed in grades 3 through 8 and grade 11; writing is assessed in grades 5, 8 and 11 and science assessed in grades 4, 8 and 11. The rankings do not denote the overall quality and performance of the school district, only the PSSA scores.

Although the 2014 rankings show Upper St. Clair School District dropping to fourth place, another Allegheny County school district, Mt. Lebanon holds at second place. This is the fourth consecutive year that I have tracked the top 15 school districts and the highlighted line in the chart below indicates that T/E School District has moved from second in 2011, third in 2012, fourth in 2013 and to fifth place in the 2014 PSSA rankings. Last year we saw UCFSD drop from second in 2012 to third in 2013. However, UCFSD turned it around for 2014 and ended up first in the rankings. Looking at other Main Line school districts, Radnor had dropped from fourth to sixth in 2013 but they also changed direction and are now third in the state. Great Valley School District jumped a couple of spots this year and for 2014, their PSSA scores have them ranked at 11th in the state.

Looking at the ‘Top 15’ school districts in Pennsylvania (based on PSSA results), Allegheny County continues as the number one county with six school districts represented followed by Chester County with three school districts (Unionville Chadds Ford, Great Valley and T/E), Delaware County with three school districts (Radnor, Wallingford Swarthmore and Rose Tree Media) and Montgomery County with one school district (Lower Merion).

A review of other area school districts indicates that Downingtown School District continues to improve; moving from 25th ranking in 2012 to 24th in 2013 and places at 22nd in 2014. Phoenixville School District moved up four positions this year from 98 in 2013 to 94 in 2014.

A Pennsylvania school district that places in the top 15 or 20 out of 500 districts statewide based on the PSSA exams is an achievement for which students, parents, teachers and administrators can all be proud. Many view PSSA scores as a reliable predictor of future success. As a tool for student assessment, the PSSA exam helps measure and provides useful information of what students are learning. The PSSAs measure the performance of the entire class and provide of measurement of how an overall class is performing.

Pennsylvania allows parents to exempt their children from standardized tests for religious reasons. Some elected officials, including State Sen. Andy Dinniman, have been publicly wary of the way standardized tests are used. As Minority Chair of the Senate Education Committee, he offers ‘Eight Reasons Why We Oppose Keystone Graduation Exams’, believing that it is fundamentally wrong for three standardized tests to determine a student’s high school graduation.

Beyond bragging rights for a school district or as a sales tool for local real estate agents, how important are these test results? Do children (and teachers) need this level of pressure to ‘measure up’?

PA School District Rankings, Based on PSSA Results for 2011 – 2014 years

School Rankings 14

Keep Your Kids Safe – Tredyffrin Township Police Department conducts special meeting for parents Saturday, April 12, 10 AM

The Tredyffrin Township Police Department together with Justice4pakids is sponsoring an important meeting tomorrow at the Tredyffrin Township Building at 10 AM. If you are a parent, plan on attending the meeting and earn how to better protect your children from sexual abuse. The guest speaker attorney Elizabeth Pitts is the Associate Director of Investigations for Swarthmore College. She was a Deputy District Attorney with the Chester County DA’s office for 20 years and supervised the County’s Child Abuse Unit for over a decade.

Justice4pakids is a coalition of advocates, survivors, legal and medical professionals and concerned citizens dedicated to bringing greater awareness regarding sexual abuse in children. The local group helps child sex abuse victims and has three main focus areas: improving statute of limitations laws, education through seminars and literature, and comforting victims by putting them in touch with professional organizations.

The purpose of tomorrow’s special seminar is to make families aware that “stranger danger awareness is not enough.”

Keep your kids safe

PennDOT patching potholes on state roads tomorrow!

potholesWith rising temperatures in the forecast, I just received a notice from PennDOT that they have scheduled pothole patching on state roads in the 5-county Philadelphia area for tomorrow! (See PennDOT press release below).

This week I was driving to King of Prussia on Rt. 202 North and could not believe the damage the winter weather has caused on the highway. I was in the right lane of Rt. 202 by the Rt. 422 exit, and there were large gaping holes in the roadway. I don’t know what type of filler they use in the seams but that materials was missing and it was very dangerous — you run the risk of hitting other cars in an attempt to avoid the holes. And then the damage to your car if you do hit the pothole!

It is almost impossible to drive along Lancaster Avenue and avoid the potholes, they are everywhere! Weaving in and of lanes to avoid the potholes, I think to myself — will the police understand my explanation if I get pulled over. I know that someone commented on CM, that although Rt. 30 is a state road, the repair work is done by the local municipal workers rather than PennDOT. We live on a state road and the repairs to the road have always been done by PennDOT so not certain why Lancaster Avenue would be treated any differently.

State Rep Warren Kampf has created a ‘Pothole Hotline’ for residents to report potholes on state roads. Residents in Kampf’s District are asked to call 610.251.2876 and report any potholes that are believed to be dangerous. Kampf has promised to pass the information on to PennDOT and to follow-up to make certain that the repair is done.

03/7/2014 – King of Prussia, PA.

With no snow in the forecast, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will once again take advantage of seasonable temperatures on Saturday (March 8) to repair potholes on state highways in the five-county Philadelphia region.

“We will have 27 crews working tomorrow to fill potholes with hot asphalt as we continue our aggressive plan to improve state roads that have been damaged during this relentless winter season,” PennDOT District Executive Lester C. Toaso said.

“PennDOT crews have been focused on filling potholes throughout the winter, except when snow duty called,” Toaso added. “The difference now is that hot asphalt is more readily available in the Philadelphia region and the use of this material enables us to make more permanent repairs.”

PennDOT crews work weekdays to repair potholes, but they also patched state roadways in the Philadelphia region on the weekend of Feb. 22-23, using nearly 600 tons of asphalt to fill holes in the pavement.

This year’s severe and early outbreak of potholes resulted from snow and ice seeping into pavements and temperature swings above and below the freezing mark.

A pothole develops when water penetrates into a roadway through pavement cracks and then freezes and expands, knocking loose small pieces of pavement. As cars and trucks ride over the area, cracks enlarge, more water enters and the cycle repeats itself to the point where the pavement fails.

Citizens can report potholes on state highways by calling 1-800-FIX-ROAD (1-800-349-7623).

Motorists can check conditions on major roadways by visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 680 traffic cameras. 511PA is also available by calling 5-1-1, and regional Twitter alerts are available on the 511PA website.

Tredyffrin Twp: Public Works Director Scott Cannon and Finance Director Tim Klarich are out and it’s only February!

Tredyffrin Board of Supervisors held a special board meeting on February 10 to terminate the employment of Public Works Director Scott Cannon. Stating several acts of misperformance, including two instances of improper disposal of materials on Township property in addition to procurement procedure violations, the supervisors voted unanimously to dismiss Cannon, without public discussion or comment.

Two weeks to the day after the Public Works Director’s termination, the ominous “discussion of personnel action items” appears on the Board of Supervisors agenda. We learned last night that the township’s Finance Director Tim Klarich is the next one out the door. Without explanation or discussion, the supervisors unanimously voted to accept the resignation of Klarich.

Although the public wasn’t privy to the details of Cannon’s termination, after only a couple of years in the job, I didn’t have a real sense of the pubic work director. On the other hand, Tim Klarich was Tredyffrin Township Finance Director for nearly 4 years. I found his analysis and preparation of the yearly township budget detailed and complete and his monthly financial updates to the board unfailingly thorough. Two township department heads gone in two weeks, there was an uneasiness with more questions than answers.

During the public comment period at the end of the meeting, I asked several questions and voice concern about Klarich’s abrupt departure from the township. When I received no response to my question as to when Klarich gave his resignation notice, I then asked ‘when’ his last day was. Board of Supervisor chair Mike Heaberg referred my questions to the solicitor Vince Donohue, who stated that yesterday (Monday) was his last day. Donohue then stated that because it was a personnel matter, there would be no further information. It was obvious to those in the audience that there was more behind the departure of Cannon and then two weeks later Klarich than was publicly provided. I

Falling under the jurisdiction of ‘legal and personnel matters’, it is highly unlikely that we will ever know the details of Cannon or Klarich recent departures from the township. Less than two months in to the New Year and two department heads are already gone — What’s that saying from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “Something is rotten in Denmark”? Makes you wonder if there is more house cleaning ahead from the Board of Supervisors.

From the T/E School Board meeting also held last night came the unanimous vote to approve the teachers to approve the new 3-year contract. Ray Clarke attended the TESD meeting and provides the following personal comments:

  • Dr. Waters actually lead the presentation of the TEEA contract. A surprise since he rarely speaks. He addressed many of the questions raised on CM, but with only occasional reference to the data on the slides so it was hard to follow, even for an experienced ear.
  • One of the ways that the impact is minimized is that the caps on column movement are lower than numbers assumed in the budget (but wouldn’t we have budgeted “status quo”?), and that difference is taken as “budgetary savings”
  • Also helping the overall budget is that (my estimates) there has been a redistribution of ~50 staff from the top level to the bottom levels through retirements and replacements. Dr Waters provided total staff by level which will be handy for those wanting to sanity check the calculated impact. No further “breakage” going forward is assumed in the impact assessment.
  • It sounded as though the one-time bonus was not included in the baseline numbers.
  • Note that the increased teacher contribution to healthcare premiums averages $74,000 per year – $160 per teacher. We should not lose sight of the fact that taxpayers fund a very generous benefits package!
  • Outside the contract, I thought that the Committee Chairs gave richer summaries of their recent meetings than we have been used to. Perhaps that’s wishful thinking, but to be encouraged!

PA State House 157 Democratic Candidate Jed Grobstein withdraws, Marian Moskowitz (D) to challenge incumbent Warren Kampf (R) in November

The Chester County Democratic Nominating Committee held their convention this past Saturday. Prior to the election, Democrat Jed Grobstein withdrew his name from the PA State House 157 race and Democrat candidate Marian Moskowitz was endorsed by acclamation. Grobstein provided the following press release explaining his withdrawal from the race:

Jed Grobstein stepped back in the interests of party unity today to throw his support behind long-time Tredyffrin Township resident and Phoenixville developer Marian Moskowitz in the race for the Pennsylvania State House, 157th district. In a statement posted on his campaign facebook page and website, Jed said,

“I regret to announce that I am withdrawing my name from contention for the State House in the PA 157th. Over the last several weeks it has become clear that the Democratic Party has rallied around the campaign of Marian Moskowitz. With her endorsement at the County Convention she deserves all of our support. I believe that Marian’s achievements as an entrepreneur and as a prime architect in Phoenixville’s redevelopment make her exactly the sort of leader we need in Harrisburg.”

Further, he urged his supporters to focus on November, saying, “I look forward to supporting [Marian] as we all focus on defeating Warren Kampf, Tom Corbett and their ‘governance by crisis’ in November.”

Chester County Commissioner Ryan Costello (R) is seeking the vacated seat of Republican Congressman Jim Gerlach in Pennsylvania’s sixth district. The Chester County Republican Committee endorsed Costello at their nominating convention last week. The Chester County Democratic Committee endorsed candidate Manan Trivedi on Saturday at their convention This marks Trivedi’s third run for Congress and is hopeful that Gerlach’s retirement will provide him the opening he needs. However, it is my understanding that Democrat Mike Parrish, a successful businessman from Malvern, plans to stay in the race, making for a contested May primary.

The Chester County Republican Committee endorsed current State Rep Warren Kampf (R-157) for another term and with the withdrawal of Grobstein, he will face challenger Marian Moskowitz (D) in November.

I was very surprised to see that former T/E School Board member Anne Crowley has quickly stepped back into politics. Not seeking a second term on the school board when her term ended in 2013, Crowley is the endorsed Democratic candidate for the PA State House 167 seat, currently held by Dwayne Milne (R). By a very narrow margin of votes, Milne defeated Crowley for the 167th District seat in 2006. As a personal note, Crowley’s presence is missed on the T/E School Board!

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