School Board Notes
Meetings in Review
The Board of School Directors voted unanimously to approve the Horizon Project. The Horizon Project will provide significant technological and environment improvements to transform the Mallon Planetarium at Arcola into a state-of-the-art learning laboratory for Methacton students and community members for years to come.
A grant from State Representative Joe Webster ($100,000) and a grant from the Methacton Education Foundation ($53,000) along with state funding of ($750,000) will cover nearly 80% of the planned renovation of this $1.143 Million dollar educational investment.
Mr. Adam Chantry, Planetarium Director, is excited about this opportunity. Dr. Zerbe shared that Mr. Chantry is one of the district’s most engaging teachers and providing him these tools to take all of our students beyond the stars will truly provide a unique opportunity for all our students.
The replacement of the dome, the technology and projector system, sound and lighting systems, seating and signage along with HVAC replacement encompasses the bulk of the enhancements. Most exciting is that the flexible seating will provide for a more immersive experience and provide for greater accessibility. The turn-key solution provided through SPITZ Inc. will come with a plethora of resources, materials and curriculum that will help transform the learning experience for all.
Unified Bocce is coming to Methacton High School. The Board approved the implementation of the program in a unanimous vote with great enthusiasm towards the recommendation by Athletic Director Mr. John Smink. Unified Sports began a little over three years ago with track and field events. Unified Sports programs are sponsored by Special Olympics for the purpose of promoting social inclusion through sport. Unified Sports joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. It was inspired by a simple principle: training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding. Coaches Heidi Alderfer and Sarah Quintois will help lead the newly formed Bocce teams to victory starting this winter season. Please look for a schedule of events on the www.methactonwarriors.org website.
Audubon Elementary School
A motion to authorize the Superintendent to take actions to level the Audubon Elementary School building and to direct the Superintendent to provide a recommendation by July 31, 2023 to the Board of School Directors on the future educational use of the property inclusive of needs, benefits, costs, and timelines was approved in a 6-1 vote of the Board of School Directors. Dr. Zerbe shared a summary of the circumstances/process taken into consideration ahead of the vote. The timeline of this process began in 2017 with the closure of Audubon Elementary as a school and continued from 2019 through 2022 as a discussion on the potential uses of the property.
The main challenges for the district include spending about $200,000 annually for upkeep and maintenance of the building. With an enrollment study presented in September 2022 indicating that student enrollment will remain flat over the next 10 years it is not likely that the district would use the property for a school. There were many ideas and discussions regarding potential use of the building as a community center, but the financial investment, once determined to be in the neighborhood of $12 million, would be too significant for the district or other entity to leverage the property or building. The property was appraised and the appraisal indicated that the property would be of greater resale value without the building (due to demolition, abatement (asbestos) costs). Furthermore, the zoning of the property would allow for the sale of the building/land to a brick-and-mortar charter school, which would, in turn, have significant impact on the local tax base and could result in the local tax base then making the $12M in renovations, regardless.
While Dr. Zerbe shared that there were a number of recommendations on the future use of the property, the Board has indicated in previous discussions that an educational use or educational benefit beyond that of just a community benefit is preferred when determining to keep the land in the end. The potential use of the property for an all-purpose turf field with a track would provide students at Arcola and Skyview a legitimate, safe, and properly designed facilities for things like lacrosse, soccer, football, field hockey and track. It would also provide another location for the High School teams and for use by community groups. Dr. Zerbe will be working to bring forward recommendations on the use of the property for education use in the coming months. The demolition schedule will be made public and notice will be provided to the community. If possible/safe, a community walk through will also be provided.
Arrowhead Construction Update
Fidevia provided the Board with a progress report on the new Arrowhead Elementary School. Click here to read the report. You can also keep up with the latest on the Arrowhead construction project by visiting:
All other items listed in the November 22, 2022 agenda were approved.
Award of Excellence
Congratulations to Methacton’s Award of Excellence honorees for November 2022. They are: Sharon Ulmer, Instructional Assistant; Stefanie Micilcavage, Instructional Assistant; Susan Michaelson, Instructional Assistant; Kelsey Glass, Learning Support Teacher; Angela Hiller, Counselor; and, David Bickle, Music Teacher.
New this year, a volunteer each month will be awarded the Award of Excellence for their dedication and contributions to the Methacton School District.
Jennifer Zavertnik was recognized for her work to support the Skyview students and staff as a dedicated volunteer.
All of these outstanding individuals provide support for students, staff, and our community. They are valuable team members and we are pleased to share with everyone how much we appreciate their commitment to the students of the Methacton School District.