2015-07-21 Special Meeting

Permalink2015-07-21Live Recording


Just when Cheltenham Taxpayers thought they were finished paying two school superintendent salaries (ex-Superintendent Dr. Natalie Thomas has finally received the last of her $180,000 yearly salary as of 6/30/2015), approval was given at this meeting to retain the services of
Acting Superintendent Dr. William Kiefer,"as a consultant for real estate matters." It was not stated at the meeting how long Dr. Kiefer will remain.

This meeting was the first one of new Superintendent Dr. Wagner Marseille.

DateTrackWeb Link
2015-07-211Special Meeting

2015-07-21Special Meeting Selected Documents

DateWeb Link
2015-07-21Meeting Agenda
2015-07-21EDEP Agenda 7 21 15 Final Sheet1
2015-07-21July 2015 Clearances for Board
2015-07-212015-2016 Adacemic Calendar Revised 7-21-2015

Montco School Tax Comparison Update

Permalink2014-08-05Tax Analysis


2015-06-14Montco School Tax Comparison Update 20150614

The district has made a big deal that other districts in the County have had to raise school taxes. For example, this slide from the 6/2/15 Finance Committee Meeting:

Lest you worry that the other districts may catch up to Cheltenham-- having the dubious honor of the highest school tax rate in the county--- the chart shown below of all Montgomery County municipal school taxes as a percentage of Cheltenham's (as of 6/14/2015) shows they have much catching up to do.

The top 5 rates below Cheltenham are:

Tax RankMunicipalityTax on $143K MedianMills% of Cheltenham Tax
3West/Upper/Lower Pottsgrove$536437.509584.26%
5West/East Norriton & Norristown$465832.572073.17%
6Lower Moreland$451631.583170.95%

DateWeb Link
2015-06-146/2/15 Finance Committee Meeting Presentation
2015-06-14Montgomery County School Taxes
2015-06-14Montgomery County Other District School Taxes as a percentage of Cheltenham School Taxes

2015-06-09 Regular Legislative Meeting in 2 Separate Recordings

Permalink2015-06-09Live Recording

DateTrackWeb Link
2015-06-091Regular Legislative Meeting Part 1 of 2
2015-06-092Regular Legislative Meeting Part 2 of 2

2015-06-09Regular Legislative Meeting Selected Documents

DateWeb Link
2015-06-09May 2015 Exp Summary
2015-06-09Wagner Marseille, Ed.D. District Superintendent Contract
2015-06-09Kenneth Roos, Esq./Wisler Pearlstine, LLP, Solicitor Rates
2015-06-09Budget Transfers
2015-06-09May 2015 Rev
2015-06-09P359 459 559 Nondiscrimination in Employment 6 9 15 Second Read
2015-06-09257 Suicide Prevent and Self-Harming Behavior 6 9 15 Second Read
2015-06-09814 copyright material 6 9 15 Second Read
2015-06-09EDEP Agenda 6 9 15 Final v1
2015-06-09June Clearances for Board 060915

2015-06-02 Finance Committee Meeting

Permalink2015-06-02Live Recording

DateTrackWeb Link
2015-06-021Finance Committee Meeting Part 1 of 1

2015-06-02Finance Committee Meeting Selected Documents

DateWeb Link
2015-06-02Final Budget Presentation – 6/2/2015

2015-05-12 Regular Legislative Meeting in 2 Separate Recordings

Permalink2015-05-12Live Recording


The Quiet Disapperance of Dr. Bramucci

The majority of this board meeting recording is the annual "retirement meeting" where extensive reminiscences of the retiring staff members are dwelled upon in detail. There is however appears to be a stark contrast when the staff member held an administrative position under the "previous regime."

The latest case in point is the quiet disappearance of Dr. Matthew Bramucci, whose "resignation" was accepted without comment by the board at this meeting.

Dr. Bramucci served as "Director of School Improvement Processes," a position approved at the April 8, 2014 Regular Legislative Board Meeting with an annual 2014-2015 salary of $130,000. Dr. Thomas was the superintendent at the time.

Flash forward to the February 10, 2015 Regular Legislative Board Meeting when the board voted for the "elimination of the position of Director of School Improvement Processes effective June 30, 2015 end of workday."

So at this meeting, the board voted to accept the "resignation" of Dr. Bramucci, Director of School Improvement Processes, effective May 4, 2015 (which was quite convenient since the position terminates on June 30, 2015).

The question from a taxpayer perspective is: Did we need a $130,000 "Director of School Improvement Processes" in the first place ?

DateTrackWeb Link
2015-05-121Regular Legislative Meeting Part 1 of 2
2015-05-122Regular Legislative Meeting Part 2 of 2

2015-05-12Regular Legislative Meeting Selected Documents

DateWeb Link
2015-05-12April 2015 Exp Summary
2015-05-12April 2015 Revenue
2015-05-12StratPlan Application 5-4-15 DN
2015-05-12Substitute Rates 7 1 2015 Proposed
2015-05-12EDEP 5 12 15 Agenda Final (1)
2015-05-12Revised May 2015 Volunteers

2015-05-05 Cedarbrook Middle School Rebuild Design Concepts Meeting

Permalink2015-05-05Live Recording

DateTrackWeb Link
2015-05-051Cedarbrook Middle School Rebuild Design Concepts Meeting

2015-05-05Cedarbrook Middle School Rebuild Design Concepts Meeting Selected Documents

DateWeb Link
2015-05-05Cedarbrook Rebuild GAI Design Concept

Abington Proud vs Cheltenham Proud



2015-04-19Abington Proud vs Cheltenham Proud

At last Tuesday's board meeting, it was mentioned that some township residents were getting annoyed by the large number of "Proud to be in Abington" bumper stickers seen driving through our township and that a "Cheltenham Proud" response would be forthcoming.

I thought it would be interesting to compare the School Performance Profile, Building Level Academic Score (BLAS) between Abington and Cheltenham to compare bragging rights:

BLAS ScoreDistrictSchool
97.8Abington SDHighland School
93.7Abington SDAbington Senior High Sch
93.1Abington SDRydal East School
91.3Cheltenham SDCedarbrook MS
90.9Cheltenham SDGlenside El Sch
88.5Abington SDRoslyn School
87.4Abington SDMcKinley School
87.2Abington SDOverlook School
87.0Abington SDAbington JHS
86.2Abington SDWillow Hill School
85.7Abington SDCopper Beech
85.1Cheltenham SDMyers El Sch
80.3Cheltenham SDCheltenham EL
74.0Cheltenham SDCheltenham High Sch
72.1Cheltenham SDElkins Park Sch

There is one area in which Cheltenham has the highest "score" in the county:

School DistrictSchool MillsTax Bill on $143K Assessed Home

2015-04-14 Regular Legislative Meeting in 2 Separate Recordings

Permalink2015-04-14Live Recording

DateTrackWeb Link
2015-04-141Regular Legislative Meeting Part 1 of 2
2015-04-142Regular Legislative Meeting Part 2 of 2

2015-04-14Regular Legislative Meeting Selected Documents

DateWeb Link
2015-04-14Meeting Agenda
2015-04-14Preliminary Budget PDE-2028-Preliminary
2015-04-14facilities committee_april_2015_presentation
2015-04-14March 2015 Expense Summary
2015-04-14March 2015 Revenue
2015-04-14P921 Public relations objectives 3 3 15 (01037150xAED82) (01052023xAED82)
2015-04-14Extra Duty Extra Pay 4 14 15 Agenda Final
2015-04-14April Volunteer Clearances 2015

2015-03-10 Regular Legislative Meeting in 2 Separate Recordings

Permalink2015-03-10Live Recording


Two observations regarding this meeting:

  • The Cedarbrook Authorization of Request for Proposal passed on a 7-2 vote with Ms Russell and Ms. Hawkins voting against the measure.
  • The policy committee is busy passing policies regarding the reporting of arrests and obtaining clearances, yet I cannot recall an explanation as to why this activity is taking place.

The only reasonable cause for the policy committee to be working this hard has to do with the Pass the trash law signed by Governor Corbett last year. Sen. Anthony Williams of Philadelphia and Rep. David Maloney of Berks County lead the effort to pass this law. So what does the law do ?

  • Districts must check with previous employers whether a job candidate has been investigated, disciplined or dismissed for student abuse or sexual misconduct.
  • Job applicants must agree to these background checks with former employers.
  • Job applicants would have to sign a formal statement listing any past investigations, disciplinary actions by any party of child sexual abuse or misconduct.
  • Job applicants who issue false information would be terminated and face prosecution.

So why do school districts need to be forced by law to perform these common-sense actions ? The video below explains the situation:

One of the most egregious lemon-dance cases of a cross-state educator predator was that of former elementary school principal Edgar Friedrichs Jr. He started his career at the Interboro School District's Prospect Park Elementary School where, according to the Inquirer, "Friedrichs had been allowed to quietly resign from the Delaware County school amid allegations that he molested some of his students." He later "moved" to West Virginia where in January 2002 he was convicted on four felony counts of child sexual abuse. In 2003 he was indicted for the 1997 murder of a 12-year-old West Virginia boy.

While, it is a good thing that state legislators have finally addressed this problem, Pennsylvania is only one of three states to protect its children this way. Senator Toomey has co-sponsored a Federal "Pass the Trash" bill that would require tougher background checks as a condition of receiving federal funds.

DateTrackWeb Link
2015-03-101Regular Legislative Meeting Part 1 of 2
2015-03-102Regular Legislative Meeting Part 2 of 2

2015-03-10Regular Legislative Meeting Selected Documents

DateWeb Link
2015-03-10P818 Contracted Services Second Read 03 10 2015 3
2015-03-10P350 Reporting arrests second read 03 10 2015 1
2015-03-10P008 Board orientation second read 03 10 2015 1
2015-03-10P550 Reporting arrests Second Read 03 10 2015 1
2015-03-10P558 Required Clearances second read 03 10 2015 1
2015-03-10P450 Reporting arrests Second Read 03 10 2015 1
2015-03-10P458 Required Clearances Second Read 03 10 2015 1
2015-03-10Part-Time Confidential HR Secretary 02 2015 1
2015-03-10Coordinator of Athletics 02 2015
2015-03-10EDEP 3 10 15 Agenda Final
2015-03-10Gift Exercise Equipment from Salus University
2015-03-10Volunteers for School Board Approval