School Board Notes
School Board Recognition Month
Superintendent Dr. David Zerbe invited the public to join him in recognizing the Board's service as part of School Board Recognition month.
"Our school board directors dedicate hundreds of hours to meetings, professional development, and research in order to fulfill the commitment they made to the Methacton School District when they decided to serve," Dr. Zerbe noted.
"They are dedicated to our students, our faculty, and our staff – and we are grateful for their tireless work on behalf of the children of the Methacton community," Dr. Zerbe added.
First grade students Julie Cooper (Worcester), Ryan Gavlick (Eagleville), Luna Liu (Arrowhead), and Aiden Rittenhouse (Woodland) presented the Board with certificates of recognition.
Pictured above, right: Aiden Rittenhouse presents a certificate of recognition to School Board Vice-President Elizabeth Drummond.
The Board ratified the terms of the agreement between the Board and Teamsters Local Union 384 during their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, January 23, 2018.
The Teamsters Union represents the district's custodial and building and grounds maintenance staff. Members of the Union ratified the agreement by majority vote on January 14. Details of the agreement were presented to the public in attendance at the school board meeting on January 23, and posted to the website the following day. The four-year agreement (ending on June 30, 2021) includes retroactive salary increases of 3.2% in year one (beginning July 1, 2017), 3.1% in year two, 3% in year three and 2.5% in year four.
The agreement includes annual increases in medical benefit premium co-shares over the life of the agreement, in addition to adding a fourth plan option. Premium co-shares for plan options will increase from 13%, 10%, and 12% to 18%, 16%, and 15% respectively by year four of the agreement, ending in June of 2021. The fourth plan, introduced in 2018-2019, will have a 7% premium co-share that will increase to 8% in year four of the agreement.
This agreement is the result of many months of negotiations sessions that began a year ago. Sessions were attended by the Board and union’s negotiations teams, as well as district administration.
Proposed Preliminary Budget Presentation
During the January 16, 2018 work session meeting, Superintendent Dr. David Zerbe and Director of Business Services, Mr. Tim Bricker delivered the draft proposed preliminary budget presentation to the Board. The presentation may be downloaded from the website.
During the regular meeting, the Board approved a motion to authorize the administration to file the necessary paperwork with the Pennsylvania Department of Education to seek the available special education exception to the Act 1 index. In line with the Commonwealth's school budget timeline requirements, this action will necessitate the Board to act on the approval of a preliminary budget. A special meeting for that purpose, and any other business brought before the Board, has been scheduled to be held beginning at 6:30 p.m. on February 14 in the Board Room at the Farina Education Center, located at 1001 Kriebel Mill Road in Eagleville. This meeting will be immediately followed by the regularly scheduled finance committee meeting of the Board.
Follow the progress of the 2018-2019 school district general fund budget, including timeline information and presentations, on the district's website at www.methacton.org/budget.
The Meetings in Review
Methacton Education Foundation (MEF) President Jim Beam provided the Board with details on the four grants that were approved by the Foundation during their December meeting. Three of the grants, totaling $5,550, were listed on the evening's agenda for the Board's approval as a gift to the district; including $3,100 for materials and supplies for the Methacton High School robotics club; $2,000 for the district's music program for the purpose of purchasing rental instruments that can be made available for economically disadvantaged students; and $450 to purchase a Montgomery County Science Teachers Association membership for all Methacton teachers. The presentation was followed by a check presentation pictured above, right.
The January school board work session meeting included several presentations. Carmen Italia of MARC Consulting, LLC of Oley, Pa. and Don Delamater, Lower Providence Township Manager, reviewed an identified property and actions of the township associated with the local economic revitalization tax assistance (LERTA) program. The program is used to encourage economic development and/or redevelopment of vacant or underutilized properties. Lower Providence Township identified a property that is appropriate for a tax abatement and provided the Board with information necessary to inform a vote during the regular meeting. The Board voted to approve the abatement during their regular meeting on January 23.
Methacton High School (MHS) Assistant Principal for Athletics and Activities, Dr. Paul Spiewak, provided the Board with information and history on a proposal to add girls' volleyball and boys' lacrosse to the Arcola Intermediate School PIAA sports offerings. Dr. Spiewak's proposal may be downloaded from the district's website. During the January 23 meeting, the Board voted to authorize the administration to proceed with the implementation of girls’ volleyball and boy’s lacrosse for the start of the 2018-2019 school term at Arcola Intermediate School under a two-year probationary period.
Superintendent Dr. David Zerbe and Director of Business Services, Tim Bricker, reviewed the history of and made a recommendation on the oversight of the district's transportation services as provided by First Student Transportation Services, in addition to routing services. The administration recommended that routing services be provided by First Student, while the oversight of transportation services would be handled by a program coordinator employed as a member of the district's administrative team. The presentation is available on the district's website.
All other items listed on the January 23 agenda were approved, with the exception of item 9, i: First Student Contract, which was tabled.
Pictured above, right (L-R): MHS Teacher Bob Helm, MHS Teacher Don Sawyer, Superintendent Dr. David Zerbe, MEF President Jim Beam, School Board President Kim Aubrey-Larcinese, MEF Board Member Marijane Barbone, MEF Board Member Karen Pflug-Felder, Methacton Music Chair Sue Basalik, and Methacton Elementary Music Teacher Erin Trautmann.
January Award of Excellence
Superintendent Dr. David Zerbe invited Award of Excellence recipients to be recognized by the Board. Honored in January were Woodland Elementary School employees Noreen Fusco and Rebecca Flaherty.
Woodland Elementary School Principal Debra Euker read a few words honoring Ms. Fusco and Ms. Flaherty. Read more about these two fine individuals on the district's website.