Community Questions 2016


October 11, 2016 Community Member Inquiry
Board Meeting Schedule and Structure - When was this discussed in public?  October 11, 2016
 
Who authorized the security to attend our meetings?
Security has been present at many Board meetings over the past several years.  Based on recent events locally and nationally, Administration has assigned security to ensure a safe environment for all students, staff and community members involved with Board meetings. 
 
PSBA policy format - clicking on blue highlighted number links.  Specifically Policy #006 - link takes you to Legislator's page - "Invalid Criteria."
Administration appreciates your bringing this to our attention.  We will work with the Pennsylvania School Board Association to correct this issue.
 
We hired a construction management company and yet we see change orders stating changes are due to code not being met.  Don't they know what the code is ahead of time?
The Boyertown Area School District hired D'Huy as our construction management company.  D'Huy is knowledgeable regarding building code.  D'Huy's interpretation of code and the municipal code official's interpretation may result in a difference of opinion.  The code official's determination is final. 
 
September 2, 2016 Community Member Inquiry
Information shared at the August 30, 2016 Facilities Meeting:

Item #3, Pagoda Electrical Inc., ECCO-010, I believe was not discussed during the meeting.  What are the details surrounding why this change order occurred?
These details were discussed during the Facilities Committee meeting on Tuesday, August 30.  The video for the meeting is posted to the website.

As part of the initial contractor bid for the project, why was ECCO-010, ECCO-011, ECCO-012 not factored into Pagoda's initial project bid? These change orders give the appearance of being project add-ons? Are they?
In most 
projects there are additional needs that are identified which increase the scope of the project.  These items are covered by contingency funds.

Pagoda Electrical ECCO-014 change order. Why was overtime necessary to complete this for an inspection?
The overtime 
was recommended by our construction manager and in their opinion was essential for the opening of school.
 
Are change orders for the project currently listed on the district's website along with other project documentation? If not, In keeping with the district's goal to provide more transparency to the public, I would like to see detailed change order information posted to the district website.
Change orders are discussed in a public meeting and are approved at a Board of School Directors meeting.

How many contractor delays have occurred (and who were they) during the HS project that were not related to bad weather? Are there penalty clauses included in the contractor agreements/contracts for not completing their phases of the work within their required amount of time?
The BASH
Project has not had delays, the project was slowed due to the added scope of work for all four prime contractors.

Can PLANCON
 documentation concerning the projects also be added to the district website? 
We don't currently
 place PlanCon documentation on the district website but do thank you for your input.  
 
July 22, 2016 Community Member Inquiry
Sr. High tennis courts:

Is there an underground spring that is either located underneath the tennis courts or nearby that is draining into the area of the tennis courts?
No

If not, where is the source of water coming from that in order to fix it properly would require filling that area with stone or other materials to avoid the tennis court area from further sinking or trapping water that would result in a future repeat of the asphalt/macadam surface issues?
Current United States Geological Survey (USGS) maps do show a stream and floodplain in this area. However, during a previous construction project, the stream was routed through a large 4’ x 7’ concrete culvert, the stream bed was filled, and the site developed for athletic use. This was fairly common many years ago before environmental legislation was enacted. The concrete culvert and current grading are shown on the site survey prepared for this project. The USGS maps were never updated. This concern was raised during the site development process and resolved to the satisfaction of the Colebrookdale Township Engineer.  The current tennis court asphalt surface failed because an inadequate base was installed immediately below the tennis court surface when the courts were originally constructed. The clay at that surface location is subject to swelling and shrinking caused by surface water runoff. This is being corrected by removing the clay, replacing it with crushed stone and drainage piping, and placing a “crown” on the asphalt surface. This solution was designed by a geotechnical engineer from David Blackmore Associates, licensed by the State of Pennsylvania and specializing in the resolution of soil and drainage issues.

What will be the total cost to rectify the tennis court problem?  
$152,000

To date, what has been done to the tennis court areas and the amount of money that has been already spent per the Sr. High School project?
The surface has been removed on both the upper and lower tennis courts.  The existing contract is $375,000.  This does not include any subsurface work communicated at the Facilities meeting.  Approximately 25% or $94,000 has been spent.

If the board were to approve spending additional monies to try and rectify the plaguing the tennis court problem, will any warranty be provided by the contractor for their work done? If this more aggressive work is done to the tennis courts, how long has it been estimated this "fix" may last?
The Contractor’s warranty is 1 year.  

Usage of athletic fields and watering the fields:

Are there any district fields that are not currently being used as often as they could be? Some years back it was learned that groups had favored using certain fields over others. Besides the overuse of these certain fields, dry conditions had contributed to the problem where the fields didn't have an adequate amount of time to rest, which began to make them unsafe for use.
Yes, some fields are used more than others.

I believe there was also discussion last night about digging a deeper well or another well (?). Does the district have geological data to show what rock formations may exist below the surface if a 300+ foot well is considered? Having to drill through layers of rock could become an expensive venture for the district.
No

School district vehicle fleet topic: It was said at the meeting that on occasion the busing contractor is used for additional runs resulting in additional district transportation costs. What is the additional cost for that?
When utilizing Quigley Transportation for additional runs, a school bus is $65 per hour or $12.63 per ¼ hour; a school van $55 per hour or $9.47 per ¼ hour.  As per the contract, these rates will increase 1% for the 2016-2017 school year.  

During the school year and summer, how often has the district needed to contact the busing contractor to make these runs?
The number of contacts vary by school year and special needs. Provisions in the contract allow for us to bid special runs to receive the lowest possible price.  

What was the purpose of these additional runs?
Summer transportation runs mostly support students with special needs who qualify to receive extended school year services.  Other transportation may be arranged such as the remediation / lunch program for CES/BES students this summer which was supported through grant funds.  During the school year the additional runs support student extra-curricular programs and field trips.  

Besides our busing contractor, I also thought there were additional busing companies the district uses to transport students at more competitive rates.
The District utilizes the lowest competitive rate for specialized transportation by requesting bids.

Regarding the district's fleet, how many does the district currently have? Please break out the amount of vehicles used for building and grounds and others such as vans or cars.
The District has a total of 24 vehicles.  There are 18 buildings and grounds vehicles.  There are 6 vehicles used for student transportation.  

What are all the ways these vehicles are used?
Transporting students, field trips, athletic contests, snow removal, hauling equipment, mail delivery, carrying specialized machinery, delivering weekly board committee meeting/board meeting packets, and other various uses as are needed by the District.

What does it cost the district to currently maintain and operate all of these vehicles?
The District budgets $17,000 dollars for the repair and maintenance of building operations vehicles and $11,000 for the repair and maintenance of student transportation vehicles.  

Other than buildings and grounds, does the district need to keep and maintain the amount of other vans/or cars it currently has?
Yes

Has the district investigated leasing some of the vehicles it uses?
No 

Has the administration weighed the costs of leasing versus purchasing the vehicles?
No

My understanding is that additional insurance can be purchased to cover maintenance/repairs on a leased vehicle. Could leasing vehicles be a savings to the district? This is unknown.

 
June 14, 2016 Community Member Inquiry

Why weren’t rentals raised?   Wages did go up and electric is used and that also went up.
Based on Policy 1330(a), Use of School Facilities and Equipment, the rental fee schedule for school facilities defines the price per day and/or hour for each area in a school.  The policy has not been updated since April 2014. 

Regarding raises, you stated the percentage increase was 3.47%.  However, at a previous meeting it was stated that the Act 1 Index percentage would be used.   The index percentage is lower, so please explain which percentage is being used for raise increases or the reason for the discrepancy in percentage amounts.
As detailed in the budget presentation on Tuesday, June 14, 2016, the 2.4% Act 1 Index was used for all employee groups except the teachers who have a defined salary schedule included in their collective bargaining agreement.  The total increase in wages takes into account all employee groups including the teachers.  The teacher wage account also increased due to 7 teachers that were formerly funded by the Ready to Learn Block Grant (RTLBG) which has now been consolidated into the General Fund because the RTLBG money was absorbed into the State’s Basic Education Funding (BEF).

Regarding driveway modification at West. You stated a safety issue caused you to change it.  I would suggest you check these other schools also for safety issues – Colebrookdale, Washington and Pine Forge Elementary schools.   What do you plan to do about them?  The safety concern at JH West that you are referring to has been brought to Administrations attention due to the fact that the walkers need to crossover a driveway entrance to JH West.  In the case of the three elementary schools, none of them have walkers and therefore would not have this same safety concern.

During year 2013, large sums of funds were transferred and advanced to the Capital Projects Fund to pay for the architect who at that time was EI Associates.  It was said by Administration that once financing/borrowing was secured for the high school project that the money would be returned to the fund.  When will the money that was advanced for the project back then be returned to the fund where it came from?  If I recall, the money that was advanced and transferred was from the fund that held the Bradbury settlement.  

During the early stages of the BASH project, the Capital Projects Fund was used to pay for preliminary project costs until permanent financing was established.  The permanent financing was established in December 2014 when the General Obligation Bonds of 2014 were sold. The proceeds of the bond sale were deposited into a newly established Fund entitled the BASH Construction Fund.  Shortly after the bonds settled, the amount of money used from the Capital Projects Fund was reimbursed by transferring the amount from the BASH Construction Fund to the Capital Projects Fund.  The Bradbury settlement funds received through litigation against our former Financial Advisor were deposited into the Debt Service Fund.

 What is the definition of Fund Balance?  

There are various types of Fund Balances.  The types of Fund Balances and the definitions of each are as follows:

Nonspendable Fund Balance - Amounts that cannot be spent because they are either in a non-spendable form, or legally or contractually required to be maintained in tact such as inventory, or principal of a permanent fund.

Restricted Fund Balance - Amounts constrained to be used for a specific purpose per external parties or legislation

Committed Fund Balance - Amounts constrained to be used for a specific purpose as per government’s highest level of decision making authority such as the school board, board of directors, board of trustees, etc. Note:  Board resolution required. Constraint can also be removed or changed by an equal level action.

Assigned Fund Balance - Amounts intended to be used for a specific purpose as per committee or individual authorized by the governing body.  These amounts are not restricted or committed.

Unassigned Fund Balance - Amounts available for any purpose within the General Fund only.  Other governmental funds, by their nature would automatically require that funds be classified as nonspendable, restricted, committed or assigned.  In the event that a fund, other than the general fund has expenditures that exceed revenues, the unassigned fund balance category may be used to report a negative ending fund balance only.

 
June 6, 2016 Community Member Inquiry

1.    In the new budget have we increased the rentals for the district, such as YMCA, etc., if so how much?   If not why not? 

The forecasted revenue for rental income for the 2016-2017 fiscal budget is $160,000, which is the same amount that was budgeted for the 2015-2016 school year.  The rental fees are determined by Board Policy #1330(a) as last amended 01/11/2011.  

2. Why are the community questions no longer available on the web site? Some questions asked would benefit the community.

Questions submitted and the administrative responses are still available on the District website, www.boyertownasd.org.  The Q& A section may be found under the Our District tab, Comments & Inquiries or Questions/Answers.  The link to the webpage is below: 

3.  What is the total wage increases for all employees, inc. administration in dollars and cents?

The total projected wage and salary expenditures included in the 2016-2017 school budget as presented at the May 31, 2016 Finance Committee meeting is $50,217,017, an increase of $1,685,169 (3.47%) over the 2015-2016 budget.

4. Are we still charging the students to take the AP tests, as we have done before?  How much does that generate?

Student AP exam fees are paid by the student.  The cost of a test is $92 and the District gets a discount of $9.  Students pay the net cost of $83. The District does not generate any revenue from administering the AP exams.  Students that qualify for Free & Reduced Lunches pay less per AP Exam with the State subsidizing a portion of the student’s test fees.  

5.  In reference to the collection for the earned income tax, who would be the third party collecting and when we collected the tax, we didn't have a third party, isn't it the job of the current collector, to collect the money instead of hiring a third part? 

The Berks Earned Income Tax Bureau is the appointed Earned Income Tax (EIT) collector for all of the applicable Berks County Taxing Authorities (School Districts, City, Townships and Boroughs).  The Berks EIT Bureau has proposed using a collection agency to collect delinquent income taxes from taxpayers and employers.  The Bureau is proposing this action to minimize the Districts’ expenses in collecting these delinquent tax amounts.  The third party collector is compensated only when successfully collecting the delinquent taxes at a rate up to 25% of the delinquent tax which is added to the delinquent taxpayers’ or employers’ account.  The contingency fee of a third party will reduce the fixed cost of hiring an EIT employee to collect from the scofflaws.

….changing the driving pattern at the Jr. High West front driveway because parents won't obey the rules.  Is this spending educational money on what?   I would like this question answered, why are we doing this?

This investment is not an educational expense but a safety expense.  The problem of traffic in and around an area where children are crossing the drive to walk to school was identified by the school personnel.  To create a safe path for walkers from the corner of Madison St., included in the construction plan is removal of part of the driveway in front of the building and additional curbing.  This serves two purposes, the original need for a safe walking area from the corner to the front door and an environmental issue where the impervious service is being removed in place of a newly proposed addition on the back corner of the building.

There was mention at the last meeting (5/31/16 Facilities) that we did not do a Act 34 hearing, I was at one so could you please tell me what I attended?

The discussion at the Facilities Committee meeting on May 31st regarding the Act 34 provisions of the law were quite confusing.  The law states that when the total square footage of additions to an existing building exceed a certain percentage an Act 34 public hearing must be conducted and much information about the project is shared with the public.  You did attend an Act 34 hearing, which was held at Colebrookdale Elementary in 2014.  At that point, EI Associates was the District architect and their plan was to add many additions onto several areas of the school.  These plans triggered the need for an Act 34 hearing.  Subsequently, EI Associates was dismissed and the new and existing plans for the high school renovations were designed by KCBA Associates and were approved.  The total added square footage of the new plan did not mandate the need for an Act 34 hearing.

I was hoping that the budget would be further reduced, this was stated at a meeting that you would continue to look for additional ways to save money, what has changed since the preliminary budget vote? 

The 2016-2017 budget as proposed at the May 31 Finance Committee has been reduced from the Final Proposed Budget that was adopted in April.  We continue to look for additional ways to save money in expenditures or increase our revenue.  However, with the use of several one-time sources of income, such as the use of the committed fund balance for PSERS, the transfer from the Debt Service Fund and the proposed use of unassigned fund balance, the tax rate has not been reduced from the proposed 1.5% increase.  The Act 1 Index for the District is 2.9%. In consideration of future budget needs and the uncertainty of what the District will receive from the State, the tax rate as proposed will remain at 1.5%. 

Did you even try for a grant from Pottstown Wellness to help with the track repairs?  

The District receives a significant amount of grant money from the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation (PAHWF) to fund various programs throughout the District.  The track is ten years old and is in need of maintenance.  This investment for a very nice asset to the community will be an ongoing expense and the District did not request assistance from the PAHWF.

Is there a policy that states I need to put my questions in writing. If so could you please direct me to that policy and was it discussed in private, which would be in violation of the sunshine law.  Was it voted on, or just decided by you or your administrative team?

There is no policy that requires the public to submit questions in writing.  There is however a procedure that has been established to help collect questions from the public through our online system (http://www.boyertownasd.org/domain/1158).  By submitting questions in writing we are ensuring that there isn’t misinterpretation of what is being asked.  Additionally, as you will see referenced on the sited webpage, those uncomfortable submitting their questions in writing are welcome to call the Education Center to discuss the item.

 

 
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