Community Questions 2015

December 8, 2015 Board Meeting
Question

Can you clarify the Enrollment committee as an ad-hoc and how the chair is determined?
A community member asked for clarification on the curriculum committee and polling of members in support of the District calendar.
Answer

The Enrollment Review Committee is an ad-hoc committee established by the Board President. A decision was made by the Board President to assign a chair to lead the committee and to work with the administrative liaison.
The BASD operates with a committee of the whole structure. The Board committees meet to discuss items related to the particular charge of the District committee. The board committees provide direction to District Administration on what to forward to the regular Board meeting agenda for consideration and approval. During the Curriculum Committee meeting held on December 1, 2015 Administration reviewed two draft calendars and gave the pros and cons of the two calendars. The Board of School Directors gave direction to provide information with a student start date after Labor Day. District Administration communicated to the Curriculum Committee that its recommendation was Calendar A. After hearing the information on both Calendar A and Calendar B, the majority of the Curriculum Committee directed Administration to move Calendar A to the Board meeting for consideration and approval. The administrative recommendation was to approve Calendar A which is consistent with the direction provided by the Curriculum Committee.
November 17, 2015 Facilities Committee Meeting

Question: There was a discussion on the amount of money the school district would be saving over a 20 year period for light bulbs, etc. Did the school district take into account the extra money it is costing the school district to run the air conditioning. Do we really have the savings we are being told?

Answer: The Guaranteed Energy Savings Act (GESA) is designed to utilize energy savings to fund projects within the District. A detailed analysis of all utility costs expended by the District is completed by the Energy Savings Contractors. The cost associated with anticipated new equipment will be a component of the energy usage data analysis. The Energy Savings Contractor is required by the Guaranteed Energy Savings Act (GESA) to quantify the savings realized by the District. This guarantee is included in the final contract developed between the ESCO and the District. In the event the District does not receive the guaranteed savings, the ESCO is required to write a check for the amount that they guaranteed the District would receive.

Question: When did the school district hire Mr. Mowry? She thought the decision was going to be made tonight (11 17 15). However, Mr. Mowry said he worked last month (October) and this month (November).

Answer: Mr. Mowry was officially hired by the District on November 24, 2015 by board action. Mr. Mowry worked with the District as a professional courtesy without any expectation of compensation.
 

October 13, 2015 Enrollment Review Committee Meeting
Question: Will handouts be made available at meetings?
Answer: Whenever possible, handouts will be provided at public meetings. Other documents are made available on the District website.

Question: What is Hanover?

Answer: Hanover is a company that provides educational research, analysis and interpretation to assist the District with making informed recommendations and/or decisions.

Question: Does the Boyertown Area School District have a contract with Hanover?

Answer: Yes, the Boyertown Area School District has a contract in place to provide research and information related to multiple initiatives such as the transition to middle school, learning academies, climate survey development, enrollment review as well as other projects.


September 24, 2015 Policy Review Committee Meeting

Question: What will the consent agenda look like and will details be provided?

Response: Under proposed Policy #006, the Board President, in conjunction with the Superintendent, will determine the items that will appear on the consent agenda. The amount of information provided will be similar to current practice but the agenda format would contain a consent agenda portion.

Question: What will happen if a Board meeting is cancelled due to snow?

Response: Proposed Policy #006 states that the Board President, in conjunction with the Superintendent, can add, cancel and/or reschedule regular Board meetings as long as these actions comply with statutory requirements and provide appropriate public notice. If a Board meeting is cancelled due to weather conditions, the Board President would collaborate with the Superintendent and determine if the meeting will be rescheduled to another date.

Question: Will proposed Policy changes be made available to the public?

Response: Yes, proposed policies will be made available to the public at Policy Review Committee meetings and Board meetings.



June 2015

Thank you for answering my questions online, however, I am somewhat confused with the answers: You stated proceeds from the General obligations bonds were transferred back into Capital project fund, than you say the architectural fees paid to E.I. ass. & litigation costs will be included in the cost of the BASH construction. E. I. Architectural fees and litigation costs are paid thru Capital Projects fund 31 to keep costs segregated. All costs are being charged to the project code BASHEXP. That did not answer my question - why would we have a separate accounting for these items instead of paying them direct from the project immediately. Including the costs in the final costs of the project is great, but what if there is not enough money to transfer in the end... Why do transfers at all. My question now is why are you using two accounts for the same expenses and once again , unless I do not understand, first you say the money was transferred, than you say it is being paid thru Capital projects fund 3l. Please explain what and why and did the money or not get put back where it came from? Thank you and yes I will fill out your form and submit online. The reason the costs associated with EI Associates expenditures, including the architectural fees paid to them prior to their dismissal and the subsequent litigation expenses to recoup those fees, are being processed through the Capital Projects Fund is in accordance with direction received from the Facilities Committee. Attached are the minutes from the October 1, 2013 Facilities Committee meeting, which you attended as a Board Member. The highlighted section details a discussion involving the costs of the BASH renovation project and what should be charged against the budget, which at the time was $55 million. (The budget was subsequently increased to $61 million to provide a sufficient contingency for the project and the cost of the proposed road and intersection projects required by Colebrookdale Township). The reasoning behind this direction was that the Committee realized that the plans received for architectural fees paid to EI Associates were of no value and additional architect fees would be incurred for future design and specifications. The litigation against EI Associates is to recover the architectural fees paid to EI Associates and the legal fees paid to recover the funds expended would be deposited back to the Capital Projects Fund and not the BASH Construction Fund. This is the reason that the expenses are paid from two different funds.


May 2015
Below are a series of questions (with the district responses) that were asked by a community member during the Tuesday, May 26, 2015 School Board Meeting.

We originally hired E.I. Associates for the High School project, we then fired them, a law suit is in progress, the lawyers fee associated with the lawsuit, Where are the funds coming from to pay these bills? Are they coming from the high school project money? If not why? The expenditures for the architectural fees paid to EI Associates and the subsequent litigation costs will ultimately be included in the cost of the BASH Construction. The School Board agreed to pay the cost of the EI Architect fee and litigation costs through the Capital Projects Fund (Fund 31) to keep the costs segregated. This is why the Capital Project Fund is paying monthly legal expenses related to the EI Associates litigation. Although Fund 31 is processing payment for these expenditures, all costs are being charged to the project code, BASHEXP, and will be included in the final cost of the project.

We originally paid approx. 1.2 million dollars to E. I. Associates before firing them. We took that money out of our accounts with the statement it would be put back once we borrowed the money for the project and financing was secured for the high school project, has that money been replaced? Yes, the proceeds from the General Obligation Bonds were received in December 2014 and the money has been transferred back into the Capital Project Fund from the BASH Construction Fund.

The road being put in to go out to Montgomery Ave was started and shut down immediately by the township - we are paying a clerk of the works, why wasn’t it being overseen, what happened that the road work was shut down and what was the cost we had to the township, if any? Where was the clerk of the works in all this? Your statement regarding the Monroe Street extension to Montgomery Avenue is correct. The General Contractor started the construction entrance in early January 2015 but was told to stop by Colebrookdale Township because the land development plans did not receive final approval. D’Huy Engineering is our construction manager and advised E. R. Steubner not to begin this work until they had received approval from the township. E.R. Steubner proceeded without authorization. The District did not incur any cost associated with the contractor’s work beginning prior to the Township’s authorization. The construction manager performed exactly as expected on this issue by communicating with the General Contractor.

When we started the cyber charter school, the intent was to build up the number of students to enroll - now the enrollment is going down - why? Since we have budget problems it would appear we should put more thought into building up the Cyber charter school, what is being done to do exactly that? Please refer to the attached handouts that explains our BASD Cyber Charter enrollment and savings as a result of reclaiming students into our BASD Cyber Charter as well as back into our brick and mortar building. The savings generated to the BASD taxpayers over the past 3 years as a result of educating our BASD students in Boyertown and not outside of the District in other charter schools totals $ 1. 4 million dollars.
Cyber Analysis

Cyber Enrollment


Why are we running a schools with approximately 150 students short of what was normal at that school and buying modulars for another schools, that are not even hooked up to that elementary school. Why? The school attendance issue was discussed at the November 25th Finance committee meeting. The following is an excerpt from the Committee meeting explaining the reasoning for not re-districting attendance areas now or transporting students to another school:

Mr. Scoboria, Dr. Faidley, and Mr. Szablowski shared an administrative recommendation to pursue additional classroom space at Gilbertsville and New Hanover Upper Frederick Elementary. Given the increased student population in the eastern portion of the District and the student enrollment in these two respective schools, the buildings exceed capacity and all classrooms are being utilized. A proposal to investigate temporary modular classrooms was proposed. There was discussion about realignment of building attendance areas or the bussing of students from these schools to other less populated schools. The administrative recommendation is a short-term fix until the high school project is complete and the building grade alignment is completed. The impact on students if they were temporarily displaced or bussed was taken into account with the recommendation and was discussed by the Committee. The Committee supported the administrative recommendation and it was forwarded to the December 9 Board meeting.


April 2015:
Have we paid the 1.2 million dollar start up fees back that were utilized to initially start the BASH project? Yes
How many students do we have in our BASD Cyber Charter program? Is this number going down? The total number of students currently enrolled in the BASD Cyber Charter program is 23. This number is five less than September of 2014. However those students who have left the BASD Cyber program have returned to the BASD brick and mortar schools. Over the past three years the savings to the BASD taxpayers as a result of the BASD Cyber and the recouping of outside cyber charter students totals $1.4 million dollars. The Curriculum Committee provided an update on the BASD Cyber Charter at its May 12, 2015 meeting.

Where are the attorney fees charged for the BASH renovation project? Attorney fees related to the Bash Renovation project are charged to the BASH renovation project.

The following is the information that was taken verbatim from the recording of the Board meeting on April 14, 2015: Community Member: I did speak to a couple of Board members about this but I did not see anybody asking questions. The road that we are putting in to go out to Montgomery Avenue why was… That road was shut down as soon as work started going through, I thought we had a Clerk of the Works Why wasn’t that taken care of why was that road put in because that was costly. That clerk of the works I think after everybody presented their fees they were going to charge, they wound up getting an extra $300,000 more than what their original bid was but it was because it was such a difficult project now that we went down a little bit and we don’t have it scaled so high, my question is, is it still $300,000 more because the project is not as big as it was before or as difficult… ummm the money that we used to start with this building project with the first architect. We took money out of an account and we were told it was gonna be, it was announced it was gonna be put back in as soon as we borrowed the money, I think it was a million point two. Has that money been put back in and what is happening with that? And also where are the attorney fees now that are associated with the project being paid from building project or is that coming out of one of our other funds. Ummm the other thing I had was on the cyber charter school, I think unless I got misinformation, the number of students we have in that in our cyber charter is going down, I was wondering why that was, if we could have information on that. Thank you. Due to the lack of clarity and not being able to ascertain the question being posed, an email was sent on April 17, 2015 to the individual speaking during public comment to request the exact question in writing so that a response could be generated. As of May 14, 2015, no response has been received. Therefore, no responses are available at this time.

Which Board members participated on the interviews for the hiring of the secondary director of special education? As per District policy, the Board President requested that three Board members participate in the interview process. The Board members were Mr. Paul Stengle, Dr. Ron Christman, and Mrs. Jill Dennin. In addition, all board members were invited to interview the candidate in a subsequent interview.

Which Board members participated on the interviews for the hiring of the athletic director? Interviews have not been scheduled for the open athletic director position.

Can the final proposed budget and the final proposed budget presentation slides be posted on the District website? Yes . Click here to access the information on the BASD website.

When will the twenty-year waiver of the plan con at Junior High West no longer be required? The twenty year waiver of the PlanCon at Junior High West will no longer be required in February 2018.

How many students attend the BASD cyber program? As of our April 1, 2015 enrollment, there are 24 students in the BASD cyber program.
 

March 2015:

Past Practice – Why aren’t we asking residents for input to offer savings on the budget? The residents of the Boyertown Area School District are always invited to provide input to the School District. There are many opportunities to address the School Board members, including all the regularly scheduled Board Meetings and Committee Meetings during the public comment portion of the meetings. The School District also provides opportunities through the suggestion committee and the District’s website that provides residents with a way to communicate ideas, and suggestions directly to Administration. Any responses submitted through the comments and inquiry link (https://www.boyertownasd.org/domain/1158) will receive a response from administration within three business days. In addition, there is a dedicated email address budgetideas@boyertownasd.org which provides yet another great way for residents to submit their ideas regarding budget savings. Finally, for those that prefer a non-technology option residents are always welcome to call directly to the Education Center (610-367-6031).

Did we already borrow $15 million for the Jr. High West project? No


Why are we changing past practice on the offer for incentive this time for the teachers? Each retirement incentive offered contains a statement that the action is non-precedent setting and therefore any previous action is not considered a past practice.


In the last 5 years how much per year has the taxes increased in $ each year? Please refer to the District’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, which can be found at the following link:
https://www.boyertownasd.org/cms/lib/PA01916192/Centricity/Domain/403/Comprehensive%20Annual%20Financial%20Report%20Boyertown%20Area%20School%20District%20Fiscal%20Year%20Ended%20June%2030%202014.pdf

This document contains the requested information plus much more information about the Boyertown Area School District.

What fund amounts were requested for the parts of the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation (PAHWF) grant application?
The following funds were requested from PAHWF:
Lead Teacher Position - $46,000
Cub STEALTH Workshops - $6,000
West Road Warriors - $2,000
Brain Body Project/Elementary - $3,000
Brain Body Project/Junior High - $10,000
School Mini-Grants - $3,000
Staff Development - $3,000
Elementary Pilot SAP - $8,000
Transportation YMCA After School - $10,000


February 2015:

What is the total amount of the budget spent on technology? The Technology Reserve Fund and the 2800 (IT) function total $3,211,112. This includes all expenses related to technology support including personnel wages and benefits, professional, contracted and purchased services, equipment purchases and leases for hardware, software, both administrative and certain district-wide educational software and licenses.
Health Insurance was projected to increase at 15%; why then is the total amount of expense for health insurance proposed to go up by more than 16%? The projected increase in premium for single, two-party and family is projected to increase by 15%. The 16.62% actual expenditure increase is based on more employees being covered by the District’s health care insurance.

What is the Committee fund balance for PSERS? The Balance of the committed Fund Balance for PSERS as of July 1, 2014 was $6.2 million. An additional $1 million was committed in October and the District planned to utilize $1.2 million in the 2014-2015 budget to offset the mandated increase in the PSERS contribution rate. The projected balance at the end of the 14-15 fiscal year is $6 million.

Please explain budget transfers requested during the year? If the money is not used in a certain account, why is it being transferred to another account and being spent when it could be saved? The adopted budget each year is based on priorities established months prior to the budget being adopted. Priorities do change as the fiscal year begins and therefore money budgeted in one category based on old priorities must be transferred to accounts that support the newer priority. The bottom line of the budget does not change, but the category of expense and the use of the budgeted funds is subject to change. A budget is a living document and must allow for flexibility on the use of funds based on priorities.

What is the total amount annual budget for travel and conferences? The amount budgeted for Travel and Conferences (Account 580) for the 2014-2015 school year is $175,816.

What is the total amount paid to the BCTC for 2015-2016? Didn’t they just renegotiate a new professional contract? Has the BCTC Board approved the budget? The total amount of tuition to be paid to the Berks County Technology Center (BCTC) for 2015-2016 is $1,923,402. This figure represents Boyertown’s proportionate share of 15.911% of the BCTC budget. The 15.911% is based off of a three year average attendance, which produces an average Boyertown attendance of 235 students of the 1,475 three-year average for total students at the BCTC. Salaries for the BCTC include a 3.23% increase in classified staff, a 2.37% increase in the professional staff and a 2.75% increase for Act 93 employees. Employee benefits are projected to increase with the largest increases being $375,945 for mandated PSERS contributions and $135,773 in health care.

Why is water and sewer expense projected to decrease? Reviewing actual expenses over the last few years in these expense accounts, the amount budgeted for 2014-2015 was higher than the actual expenditure, which allowed the District to project 15-16 expenditures lower than the year before.
 

January 2015:

What fire protection will be used in the Boyertown Area Senior High School renovation /addition project?
Please click on the following links for fire protection information:
Fire Alarm Spec
Fire Protection System
Siemens HMS Specs

What is the School Board Budget comparing 2013-2014 Actual Expenditures and the 2014-2015 Budget?
Please see spreadsheet listed below.
 
 School Board Budget
 
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