Was Cheltenham Dropped from Washington Post High School Challenge ?



Every year at the September meeting, the big Washington Post High School Challenge banner that sits behind the board members is updated for the current year. This year, it did not happen. I checked the Washington Post website and found out why: Cheltenham is no longer listed. The table below lists the national 2014 Challenge schools in alphabetical order:

278ChattahoocheeJohns CreekGA3.897
1831Chavez Learning AcademiesSan FernandoCA1.347
672Cherokee TrailAuroraCO
685Cherry CreekGreenwood VillageCO2.646
2009Cherry Hill EastCherry HillNJ1.150
1881Cherry Hill WestCherry HillNJ1.285
2122ChesapeakeBaltimore CountyMD1.022
862Cheyenne MountainColorado SpringsCO2.369

Since Cheltenham was ranked 1119 in the 2013 listing, it is hard to believe that CHS dropped off the list because of performance. Stay Tuned.

2014-09-13Washington Post High School Challenge Links

YearWeb Link
2014USA Rankings
2013USA Rankings
2014Northeast Region Rankings
2013Northeast Region Rankings
2013Last Year's Cheltenham Listing

2014-09-09 Regular Legislative Meeting in 2 Separate Recordings

Permalink2014-09-09Live Recording

DateTrackWeb Link
2014-09-091Regular Legislative Meeting Part 1 of 2
2014-09-092Regular Legislative Meeting Part 2 of 2

2014-09-09Regular Legislative Meeting Selected Documents

DateWeb Link
2014-09-09Regular Agenda
2014-09-09Agenda with Secret Files
2014-09-09Expense Summary 9 9 14
2014-09-09Revenue summary 9 2014
2014-09-09Extra Duty-Extra Pay and Horizontal Move 9-9-14

2014-09-02 Special Board/Facilities and Business Affairs Meetings in 4 Separate Recordings

Permalink2014-09-02Live Recording


The podmaster recommends the Business Affairs recording. There is a discussion of "the Capital Reserve Fund" which now holds over $5 million. At least one board member did not know we had a "Capital Reserve Fund." Certainly the revelation of $5 million squirreled away after taxes were recently increased might cause some resentment. The real issue that should cause resentment is that the district does not publish a capital budget. The lack of a capital budget means that uses of the tens of millions being raised by bond issues is not being reported properly to the taxpayers.

DateTrackWeb Link
2014-09-021Special Board Meeting
2014-09-022Facilities Meeting Part 1 of 2
2014-09-023Facilities Meeting Part 2 of 2
2014-09-024Business Affairs Meeting

2014-09-02Special Board and Facilities and Business Affairs Meeting Selected Documents

DateWeb Link
2014-09-02Special Meeting Agenda
2014-09-02Agenda Facilities 9/2/14
2014-09-02Agenda Business Affairs 9/2/14
2014-09-09September 2014 Facility

Moody's Downgrades Pennsylvania

Permalink2014-08-05State Finance


From Moody's [21 Jul 2014]: "The downgrade of the general obligation rating to Aa3 reflects the commonwealth"s growing structural imbalance, exacerbated by the fiscal 2015 enacted budget that depends on non-recurring resources; a weak GAAP balance position that will further deteriorate based on the budget's one-time measures; and the expectation that large and growing pension liabilities coupled with modest economic growth will limit Pennsylvania"s ability to regain structural balance in the near term."

Here is a short introduction to Pennsylvania's Pension Crisis from the Commonwealth Foundation:

2014-08-12 Regular Legislative Meeting

Permalink2014-08-12Live Recording

DateTrackWeb Link
2014-08-121Regular Legislative Meeting Part 1 of 1

2014-08-12Regular Legislative Meeting Selected Documents

DateWeb Link
2014-08-12June 2014 Expense Summary
2014-08-12June 2014 Revenue
2014-08-12July 2014 Expense Summary
2014-08-12July 2014 Revenue Summary
2014-08-12Extra Duty-Extra Pay 8 12 14
2014-08-12Budget Transfers - August 2014

2014-08-05 Business and Facilities Committee Meetings in 2 Separate Recordings

Permalink2014-08-05Live Recording

DateTrackWeb Link
2014-08-051Business Committee Meeting
2014-08-052Facilities Committee Meeting

2014-08-05Business and Facilities Committee Meetings Selected Documents

Note: Facilities Committee meetings for June-August of 2014 have not been posted.

DateWeb Link
2014-08-05Facilities Agenda
2014-08-05Business Affairs Agenda
2014-08-05SDCT Transportation Overview

CSD Document List Feb-July 2014



2014-08-05CSD Document List Feb-July 2014

Thank you to everyone who emailed during my recent illness. Unfortunately, the district has not posted minutes for many of the meetings that I missed. While I can't provide recordings, I am providing this consolidated table of documents that saves you the trouble of navigating the district's web maze.

NOTE: In April of 2014, Auditor General DePasquale released his latest audit of the Cheltenham School district. He found two new problems with all previous issues addressed. His report is available at this link

Date/MeetingWeb Link
20140717 Special BoardMeeting Agenda
20140717 Special BoardCurr team-EDEP-SS staffing 7 17 14
20140624 Special Boardspecial board minutes 6 24 14
20140624 Special BoardMeeting Agenda
20140610 Regular Boardlegislative minutes 6 10 14
20140610 Regular BoardMeeting Agenda
20140610 Regular BoardMay 2014 Revenue Summary
20140610 Regular BoardMay 2014 Exp Summary
20140610 Regular BoardExtra Duty-Summer School-ESY 6 10 14
20140610 Regular BoardBudget Transfers 06.10.14
20140527 Facilitiesfacilities committee_may2014
20140513 Regular Boardlegislative minutes 5 13 14
20140513 Regular BoardMeeting Agenda
20140513 Regular BoardApril 2014 Exp Summary
20140513 Regular BoardApril 2014 Revenue Summary
20140513 Regular BoardMEMORANDUM-SOLICITOR SERVICES 2014-2015 (00889607)
20140513 Regular BoardEXTRA DUTY AND VOLUNTEERS 5 13 14
20140513 Regular Board2013-2014 Calendar - Revised - 4-29-30
20140513 Regular BoardBudget Transfers 5 13 14
20140506 Special BoardProposed Final Budget 201415
20140506 Special Boardspecial board mtg minutes 5 6 14
20140422 Special BoardMeeting Agenda
20140422 Special Boardspecial board minutes 4 22 14
20140410 Special Boardspecial board minutes 4 10 14
20140410 Special BoardMeeting Agenda
20140408 Regular Boardlegislative minutes 4 8 14
20140408 Regular BoardMeeting Agenda
20140408 Regular BoardMarch 2014 Revenue Summary
20140408 Regular BoardMarch 2014 Exp Summary
20140408 Regular BoardEDEP 4 8 14 Agenda Final
20140408 Regular BoardBudget Transfers 04 08 14
20140401 Budget WorkshopProposed-Final-Budget-Presentaiton-14152
20140401 Facilitiesfacility planning
20140325 Special BoardMeeting Agenda
20140311 Regular Boardlegislative minutes 3 11 14
20140311 Regular BoardMeeting Agenda
20140311 Regular BoardRevenue summary 3 11 2014
20140311 Regular BoardExpenditure Summary 3 11 14
20140311 Regular BoardExtra Duty-Extra Pay and Volunteers
20140311 Regular Board2014-2015 academic calendar - REVISED FINAL 3 11 14
20140311 Regular BoardDRAFT Adacemic Calendar 2015-2016 REVISED FINAL 3 11 14
20140311 Regular BoardBudget Transfers 03 11 14
20140304 Businessbusiness minutes 3 4 14
20140304 Facilitiesfacilities minutes 3 4 14
20140304 Facilitiesmarch_2014 facility
20140304 Facilitiesengagement_committee
20140211 Regular Boardlegislative board minutes 2 11 141
20140211 Regular BoardExpense Summary 2 11 14
20140211 Regular BoardRevenue summary 2 11 14
20140211 Regular Board2014-2015 academic calendar - February 11 14
20140211 Regular BoardDRAFT Preliminary Adacemic Calendar 2015-2016
20140211 Regular BoardExtra Duty Extra Pay and Salary Increases 2 11 14
20140204 Businessbusiness minutes 2 4 14
20140204 Facilitiesfacilities _feb_2014 presentation
20140204 Facilitiesfacilities minutes 2 4 14

2014-04-19 Budget Analysis: CSD Debt Explosion

2014-04-19Budget Analysis


I took a look at the April 1st Business Affairs Committee Presentation Having seen school district powerpoints over the years, one can expect detailed graphs when it suits their agenda (e.g. the chart pointing out the costs of charter schools) and charts without a single data label when it doesn't (e.g. the chart illustrating the failures of ObamaCare).

I converted two of the tables in the powerpoint (projected 2014-19 revenues and expenditures) into a spreadsheet ({spreadsheet link},{gpg sig}) and started looking at the numbers. The two main cost drivers built-in to the projections are Debt Service (raising 1382% over 2014-19) and Benefits (raising 56% over 2014-19). Year 2019 Salaries are projected to increase only two percent over 2014 levels: good luck with that one.


On the revenue side, local real estate tax revenue is projected to increase from $73 million to $86 million. While the increase might be projected from the increased "value of a mil," one wonders what the plan will be if the recession resumes and real estate prices stagnate.

CSDRevenueFromREtax2014-2019 ProjectedRevenue2019PercentOver2014