School Board Notes

February 24, 2016

Agenda Review

The Board approved the instructional calendar for the 2016-2017 school year. The first day of school for all students will be held on Tuesday, September 6.

The Board also voted to approve a calendar of committee and Board meetings for the calendar year 2016. Please note meeting times and locations. Agendas will appear online 72 hours before the scheduled meeting.

This month's Board meeting also kicked off an initiative to involve Methacton's elementary students in the School Board Meeting process by inviting two students from each school to act as "junior school board directors." This month, Worcester fourth grade student Allison Conrad and third grade student Matthew Decker opened the meeting, led the audience in the pledge of allegiance and shared a little about what makes Worcester such a wonderful school.

All other items listed on the February 23 agenda were approved.

Budget Process Continues

Methacton CFO Stuart Whiteleather updated the Board on the administration's continued work in preparing a budget for the 2016-2017 school year during the work session meeting on February 16.

Mr. Whiteleather's presentation focused on the progress made toward closing the $5,265,951 gap that exists between anticipated revenues and expenditures for the coming year. The Board approved a preliminary budget at their January 26 meeting, at which time they directed the administration to seek available exceptions to the tax increase limitations set forth by Act 1. The Act 1 Index limit for the district has been set at 2.4%, with an additional 1.32% being requested through the exceptions allowed by the state for the increased contribution to the PSERS retirement system.

Methacton is required to budget $13,196,430 for the PSERS contribution in 2016-2017, which represents a 16.22% increase over this year's contribution rate. Of this amount, 50% is reimbursed by the state, allocated as revenue in the budget.

Since the preliminary budget presentation in January, the administration has been able to narrow the budget gap to an estimated $4.1 million through a combination of debt refunding, medical insurance savings, diesel fuel savings, and the refining of department and building budgets.

The administration proposed several additional means to reduce the budget deficit further by enacting a transportation route review, a professional staff retirement incentive, and an enhanced medical waiver option at the February 23 meeting.

A great deal of work remains as the administration works toward a goal to reduce any recommended tax increase to an amount at or below the index, as recommended by the Board. The 2016-2017 proposed final budget will be presented for Board approval during the regularly scheduled May 24, 2016 school board meeting. Final budget approval is scheduled for the regular June 28, 2016 meeting of the Board. Follow the budget progress online at

School Board Recognition

Methacton students honored the volunteer service of the Board of School Directors as part of School Board Recognition Month. These events, postponed from the January meeting due to weather, included a performance by the Methacton High School a cappella group under the direction of MHS teacher Jeff McCoach, and the presentation of certificates of recognition by first grade students.

Thanks to first grade students Olivia Kozak of Arrowhead, Salvatore Lopiccolo of Audubon, Nylah Prete of Woodland, and Benjamin Borkowski of Worcester for assisting with the distribution of certificates.

Warrior Pride Capital Campaign Check Presentation

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Education Foundation for the Methacton Community (EFMC) president Mark Constable was joined by EFMC board members Marijane Barbone and Jim Beam as he presented a check in the amount of $215,000 to the Warrior Pride Capital Campaign. School Board president and EFMC liaison Chris Boardman and Superintendent Dr. David Zerbe accepted the check.

This momentous contribution was made possible by a very generous donation from the J.P. Mascaro and Sons Charitable Trust.

School Consolidation

Superintendent Dr. David Zerbe presented the Board with a revised timeline that addresses the district's continued work related to the matter of school consolidation.

During his presentation, Dr. Zerbe noted three potential outcomes to consider - no revisions to attendance boundaries or school closure, a redrawing of attendance boundaries with a school closure, and a redrawing of attendance boundaries without a school closure. There are several key items that the Board will have to consider in the coming weeks to months:

  • Timing and Impact on Community
  • Second Enrollment Study, Vendor Selection
  • Educational and Financial Impact of each potential outcome
  • Facilities Assessment
  • Communications and Community Input

After discussion, the Board directed Dr. Zerbe to prepare a request for proposal (RFP) to solicit vendors to conduct a second enrollment projection and, if needed, use the enrollment projections and initial related data to assist the district with re-drawing of boundary lines.

The timeline is also designed with a deadline for the Board to make a decision on whether or not to close a school, and finalize any necessary redrawing of attendance boundaries before January 15, 2017 if a change is planned for the 2017-2018 school year. This deadline, while not required by law, is Dr. Zerbe's recommendation in order to allow families and staff ample notice of any changes that are planned for the following school year.

Superintendent's Updates

Fields Improvement Project

Dr. Zerbe updated the Board and public on the status of the MHS fields improvement project, noting lights were raised on the auxiliary field this month, with lights on the stadium field forthcoming. Progress on the field project can be monitored at

Strategic Planning

The district's strategic planning process continues, with subcommittee and steering committee members working alongside administrators to identify goals based on discussion that took place at meetings in December and January. Recently, suggested revisions to the vision, mission, and core values were shared with the faculty and staff, as well as members of the subcommittees in order to gather their feedback. Committee co-chairs and members of the steering committee will meet next week to continue their work preparing for the final meeting of the whole group in April. The district continues to be on target to prepare a plan for the public and Board’s consideration in April.

February 16 School Board Work Session Meeting


February 23 Regular School Board Meeting


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 MHS LGI, and all residents are invited to attend. Committee meetings may take place in the Board Room at the Farina Center, or 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.