Wednesday, June 2, 2010

In the Light of Day

In case you haven’t yet heard, Methacton School District is holding a rare daytime meeting for residents on Friday, June 4 at 11 am in the large group instruction room at the high school to present an outline of the 2010-2011 proposed budget and to take questions about it.

Dr. Timothy Quinn, Methacton’s Superintendent of Schools, said in a press release that ‘members of the community expressed interest’ in a daytime meeting for those who have otherwise been unable to participate in the budget process via other electronic means or at the evening meetings until now. While I applaud this latest step toward more transparency and responsiveness, it’s not entirely as proactive as the press release would make it seem.

The school district only considered such a meeting because a Worcester resident collected petitions in both Worcester and Lower Providence from primarily senior citizens (who shoulder a significant chunk of the tax increases on fixed incomes), requesting that they be so accommodated. Nevertheless, it’s yet another opportunity for our residents to have input and dialogue with the governing body that is, to date, solely responsible for increases in your property tax bill.

There are a lot of numbers being tossed around, but the bottom line as it stands right now, with the cuts proposed to date, is that the average tax bill for Lower Providence househoulds will rise $235.08 for the year – primarily to pay down the debt load on the new Skyview middle school (and to staff it) slated to open later this year. That’s bad enough by itself, but don’t forget, caps on electricity are set to be removed in January 2011, causing electric rates to rise approximately 40%. Our seniors in particular are understandably very concerned, since their incomes are not rising at commensurate rates (heck, my salary isn’t either).

When it comes to Methacton Education Association (MEA), my understanding is that the proposed budget numbers only include what the school district has already offered to the teachers. A question I hope somebody asks is what they plan to do if the teachers keep asking for more, and strike until they get it. Where in the budget would that money come from?

As for that issue, I’m told that the school district and MEA are supposed to be negotiating today, June 2, as I write this, and that they will stay at the bargaining table up to twelve hours. Hopefully, today’s session will shed more light on the status of our budget for Friday’s meeting. I highly suggest you try to make it to that meeting and be heard if you have issues. Final budget approval is slated for the June 22 school board meeting.

For more information, check out the Methacton School District’s website at

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Janice , I have been to several meetings the board put up an A list of cuts and are pretty much sticking to it with the exception of T ! which will continue this yr. The summer help has been eliminated except for 2 workers for bus washing and repairing of seats. The summer hours for the schools will be shortened to a 4 day week with schools closed fri to Mon THis is to reduce electric usage. These cuts are listed on the web site also BUT I forwarn you if you go to the meeting it will not change what the proposed budget is going to be.Also The Administration has settled a contract for themselves a 2 yr contract and they had their pay increase and BONUSES already. Teachers are only trying to get themselves at a comparative level with other districts in the surrounding areas. I feel That the district in making cuts should have started at the top they did not they are taking work from the employees who usually work in the summer and taking things away and are now going to have a fee for activities including sports I believe all of these things are on the website and discussed at meetings . If you go you will see what I mean