School Board Notes

October 2022

Meetings in Review

Audubon Elementary Update

Dr. Zerbe referenced his presentation from August 23, 2022 where he shared his recommendation to level the Audubon building and keep the property for future school and community use. He shared a brief history of the building including that it was closed as a school in 2017 and has cost approximately $200k per year to maintain. He shared that we were approached by Lower Providence Township prior to the pandemic with an idea to turn the building and property into a community center as a partnership among the district, township and private investors. He explained that, like many things, the pandemic placed that concept on hold with it being recently revisited among both parties and has not materialized beyond concept into a commitment.

Dr. Zerbe, again, referenced his presentation in August 2022 about two paths forward to either sell or keep the property. He also mentioned that we can take the process in a different direction by leveling the building first in order to eliminate the annual expense and allow him and his administration time to bring forward options for school use/benefit.

Dr. Zerbe shared a new slide that proposed a concept containing an all-purpose turf field, a 6-lane track, parking, and bathrooms along with a walking path, tennis and pickle ball courts, and a playground where the community and the school district can leverage this land as an asset together. He explained that it is no secret that our Arcola track and cross country teams, with well over 100 student participants, currently run around the Arcola/Skyview campus. This places our students at a disadvantage and challenges the future development, recruitment, and competitive nature of the Arcola and High School programs. This alone, surely warrants more review and consideration. He further explained that the fields at Arcola/Skyview are not in good condition and have not been for quite some time since the Skyview renovation. As such, they take on water, have dimensions not consistent with middle-level PIAA play, and while they are satisfactory for practice, competitions need to occur off site with limited ability to reschedule events due to weather cancellations. Having a multi-purpose turf field with a track would provide considerable advantages to our student-athletes and serve as an open location for our community. To fund this type of investment would require resources from the school district, the township and from private investors. Together we can turn this liability into a tremendous asset for our entire Methacton community.

A vote on the leveling of Audubon will be on the agenda for the board’s consideration at the November 22, 2022 meeting.

Early-Bird Contract with Methacton Education Association

Following a vote of 6-0, the Methacton School District Board of School Directors approved an amendment to the collective bargaining agreement between the Methacton School District and the Methacton Education Association. The amended agreement increases the annual starting salary for professional staff from $49,000 to $60,000 over the next three years.

“This agreement reflects the Board’s commitment to our teachers and their role in delivering an exceptional education for our students,” said board president Elizabeth Drummond. “It allows our district to be more competitive in attracting and retaining the best talent.”

Like many school districts in our region and across the nation, Methacton School District has experienced a shortage of available teachers. Fewer college students are choosing education as a major, leading to smaller numbers of new teachers entering the field. This has led to an increasingly competitive labor market for educators. The agreement will shrink the gap of Methacton starting salaries and provide substantial increases to offset the nearly $7,000 to $10,000 pay differential that currently exists.

High School HVAC/Renovation

Dr. Zerbe presented an update on the proposed high school HVAC project at the work session. He explained that construction costs have nearly doubled since we last reviewed this project and, as such, a project that might have been $12.5 to $17 million just two years ago would cost $40 million today. This is specific to HVAC and the availability of equipment. In his presentation to the Property Committee of the Board, Dr. Zerbe shared that the project is likely to result in two to three years of disruption until complete. Whether the project is $17 million or $40 million, this type of investment means that there is little future change to the high school for the next 25-plus years. As such, when we take into consideration the district’s strategic plan and items that can address safety, security and people management, climate (HVAC), and aesthetics while accommodating academic programming with about the same amount of disruption, we should also consider the long-term investment impact. Dr. Zerbe suggested that we pause on the HVAC project to allow him to revisit the matter and these additional concepts so we can make the best decision for the future of this district.

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 October 25, 2022 agenda were approved.

National Principals Month

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October is National Principals Month. It is an opportunity to celebrate and honor our school principals for their leadership and continuous pursuit of success for students and staff. We thank our Methacton School District principals for all they do each and every day to support staff, students, and our Methacton communuity.

Award of Excellence

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Congratulations to Methacton’s Award of Excellence honorees for October 2022. They are: Tara Eison, 8th Grade Science Teacher; Amanda Chud, Emotional Support Teacher; Olivia Roberts, Art Teacher; Connie McKeon, Instructional Assistant; Tracy Furtek, Instructional Assistant; and, Craig Cherashore, Instructional Assistant.

New this year, a volunteer each month will be awarded the Award of Excellence for their dedication and contributions to the Methacton School District.

Heather DeWane was recognized for her work as Arcola's Home & School President.

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.

"M" Awards for Academic Excellence

More than 250 Arcola Intermediate School students have earned "M" Awards for Academic Excellence for the 2021-2022 school year. These students have achieved a 93% or greater grade point average. Methacton High School Principal Mr. Michael Bourdreau made the announcement at the October 25, 2022 Meeting of the Board of School Directors. Click here to view the full list of M Award recipients.

Jr. Board Representatives

A very special thank you to Anthony Acampora and Suhyun Park for representing Arcola Intermediate School as Junior Board Representatives for October 2022. Anthony opened the meeting by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Suhyun delivered a statement on what makes Arcola such a special school.

October 25, 2022 Regular Board Meeting

October 18, 2022 Work Session Meeting of the Board

October 18, 2022 Work Session Meeting of the Board

Board Notes

The Methacton School District's Board of School Directors meets each month. School board work session meetings are generally held on the third Tuesday of the month, followed by the regular meeting on the fourth Tuesday (except during the month of December). Regular Board and Work Session meetings typically take place in the Arcola Auditorium, and all residents are invited to attend. Committee meetings take place in the MHS LGI. Meeting agendas are posted to Agenda Manager, and start times and locations are posted on the District's website. Please confirm meeting time and location before attending. Download the meeting calendar here. Watch the meeting video online.