Because of privacy concerns, community comments and inquiries will no longer be available to the public on the website.November 2014:
How much did BASD budget for Pennsylvania School Board Association (PSBA) services in 2014-2015? $13,000
What services does BASD receive from PSBA currently? PSBA provides information, updates on legislative action and numerous training opportunities for BASD. Additional information regarding PSBA services can be found at https://www.psba.org/
What is the General Obligation Bonds interest rate? The interest rate is contingent on market conditions on the date the interest rate is locked.
How do the one million dollars impact our PSERS liability? The additional one million in PSERS reserve will reduce the tax impact to our taxpayers.
How will the one million dollars in debt service impact the Emmaus Bond Pool borrowing? The one million dollars will provide security should the variable rate interest rate increase dramatically and need to be converted to a fixed interest rate.
Is air conditioning still a part of the capital projects? All options for improving the conditions in our schools are still being considered.
Do we have a surplus projection for 2014-2015? As of October 28th, we do not have a surplus projection.
Did Banyan provide an estimate on the impact of the Affordable Care Act? The Affordable Care Act is a far-reaching and confusing law. As the law is being implemented through the phase-in approach over several years, most employers are still trying to understand the implications to their employees, their health plans, and their budgets. Banyan has assisted the Boyertown Area School District in understanding the law and its effect on the District and has kept the District in compliance with the new parts of the law as they are implemented. Many meetings have been held to understand what the District will be required to do as July 1, 2015, when the law requires employers to cover employees working an average of 30 hours per week with an affordable health care plan or possibly face penalties. No one can accurately project the final cost to the District, but through the assistance of Banyan consulting the District has a better understanding of what the costs may be in 2015-2016.
Where is the 200,000 and 400,000 shown in the reserve? The $200,000 and $400,000 as referred to in this question represent the 1/10 mill increase in the 2013-2014 budget and the cumulative effect of an additional 1/10 mill increase in the 2014-15 budget. There is no way to show these amounts in the reserve other than to review the expenditure line item (Account 912, Principal Debt Payment) in last year’s budget and the 14-15 budget. The District will be faced with two years of higher debt service in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 budgets that will require the use of these additional funds. These amounts are reflected in the estimated debt service schedules as presented in the PFM presentations at several Finance Committee meetings.
Why is the percent established for the borrowing of the variable rate bond set at 3.5%? The 3.5% was established to address the average percentage rate fluctuation over a 15 year period. This recommendation was established by our financial advisor and could be subject to change depending on the market. Please refer to page 3 of the PFM presentation from the October 21, 2014 Finance committee meeting.
Are there costs associated with the Berks Tax Collection/Berks EIT Merger? This is a cost savings to the district of $2,000 annually.
What is the status of the Bradbury settlement money? The net amount of the Bradbury litigation after associated legal fees was deposited into the debt service and will be used to mitigate the bond borrowing impact to taxpayers.
In Exhibit #1 there is a projection on the general fund balance for 2013-2014, is there a projection for 2014-2015? Fiscal year 2014-2015 started on July 1, 2014. We are four months into the 2014-2015 budget. The Board of Directors will be provided with a fully accrued projection in April to assist in guiding their budget decisions for the 2015-2016 fiscal year.
What contributed to the estimated 15% increase in health costs? Banyan will be providing a detailed presentation on the estimated health care coverage cost increases at our December Personnel Committee meeting.
What services does Banyan perform for the fee we pay them?
The Services provided by Banyan Consulting are applicable to the Benefits Programs set forth below:
- Prescription drug
- Stop Loss
The following services are currently provided by Banyan:
Plan Performance Analysis
- Maintain historical medical, Rx, stop loss, dental and vision claims data
- Perform 12-36 month retrospective analyses
- Perform year-to-date analyses
- Perform monthly, quarterly and annual claims reporting
- Conduct annual, comprehensive claims reviews
- Prepare annual renewal forecasts
- Prepare ad-hoc reporting as required (additional fees may apply)
Plan Consultation, Design Strategy and Vendor Evaluation
- Minimum 1 time per year
- Identify, evaluate and recommend plan administration and management vendors
- Develop analyses and recommendations pertaining to
- Employee and spousal contribution strategies
- Plan design changes
- Wellness initiatives
- Plan designs and covered services (annually)
- Plan costs (quarterly)
- Employee contributions (annually)
- Provider fees discounts (quarterly)
- Administrative costs (annually)
- Comparisons by organization size, industry, geography
- Planning and preparation
- Face to face with vendor
- 1 or 2 times per vendor in a three year period
- Plan design change financial modeling
- Health Care Reform education and compliance
- Legislative and Regulatory compliance
- Governmental Filing
- Preparation of Annual Form 5500 filings and Summary Annual Reports
- Quality Manager Services
- Objectively measure the quality of care and wellness
- Determine which patients are receiving appropriate care and those that are at risk
- Assist third party vendors in delivering targeted messages to non-compliant members
- Develop prospective patient lists for case management
- Initiate actionable dialogue with health care providers and care management vendors
- Assist in the development of a Voluntary Benefit program offering that meets Boyertown’s stated objectives
- Manage the vendor selection process
- Monitor ongoing experience and customer service levels
- Resolve administrative issues as appropriate
Did the District issue letters to proceed to the State on the PlanCon projects? The district sent three letters to the Pennsylvania Department of Education communicating that the projects identified by the board were still being considered as future projects.
What is the impact of the Affordable Care Act on the Boyertown Area District in 2017-2018? We do not have enough information from the Federal Government on the Affordable Care Act impact to the Boyertown Area School District to identify a dollar impact.
What was the 12th Day Enrollment? The 12th-day enrollment for the Boyertown Area School District was 7,021.
What portion of health insurance premiums do central administrators contribute? All Boyertown Area School District administrators contribute 15% of the health insurance premium for the years 2014-15 through 2017-18.
Do we have an approved architect of record for the PlanCon projects submitted by the District? The architect of record for projects submitted to PDE for Colebrookdale, Junior High West, and TBD Elementary is EI Associates. The architect of record for BASH is KCBA. "Please note that the answer to this question was updated after an inaccuracy was brought to the attention of the District Administration, the information stated above is the accurate information."
What is the timeline requirement for updating the demographic study and does it go by the year or the month? The timeline for updating the demographic study is within two years of the bid date.
What type of fire alarms are included in the high school renovation project? The fire-alarms included in the BASH project meet the Pennsylvania Code and are those recommended by the Fire Marshall.
The list of alternates for the high school renovation project increased from 18-25, is there a reason? Regular meetings between the District, architect, and construction manager allow for ongoing discussion on the ability to bid alternates which can enhance the quality of the project. The District is working with a limited budget, therefore, bidding items as alternates will allow for Board flexibility when making a final decision on the complete project.
What is the cost for the last five years of tax increases? Please refer to the comprehensive annual financial report located on the Boyertown Area School District website at https://www.boyertownasd.org/Page/534
What are the high school renovation costs to date for both D’Huy and KCBA? As of September 17, 2014, a number of expenses paid for the project total $2,877,290.
Where is the money coming from to pay KCBA and D’Huy since we have not borrowed any money to date? The money is coming from the capital projects reserve fund.
The changes in the Food Service Equipment changed? Is there a reason? The change in this amount is due to the refrigerant requirements for the new equipment.
What factors drive down bond ratings? The information on the Boyertown Area School District’s AA bond rating can be found in the report completed by Standard and Poor’s Rating Services. Click here for the report.
What are class sizes at our elementary schools? Please click here for average class size information for BASD elementary schools.
How many students are currently in a cyber program? 29 in the BASD cyber program and 142 in outside cyber programs
Are we using PSERS funds? Yes
Don't we already have an architect on record for JHW (Jay Clough) because we needed one to submit something for PlanCon? Yes, the architect of record for the JHW project is EI Associates. The Boyertown Area School District does not have a contract with KCBA for architectural services for JHW. KCBA is the architect of record for the Boyertown Area Senior High School renovation/addition project.
Is BASH $63M or $61M and does that number include the Monroe Street extension? The total project cost is $61 million including the contingency.
Commented on health insurance increases up from 4% to 6% to 10% now back down to 7%. Asked if we are continuing health initiatives? Yes and this cost is neutral with $25,000 from Capital Blue Cross.
What are the locations of the Learning Forward training? The location of the Learning Forward training includes Chicago, Nashville, Toronto, Washington D.C. and Vancouver.
What is the status of the Pennsylvania Department of Education waiver at Junior High West? This will be discussed at our facilities meeting on September 16, 2014, at 6:00 p.m. The meeting will be held at Junior High West in the Cafeteria.
Because of privacy concerns, community comments and inquiries will no longer be available to the public on the website.December 8, 2015, Board Meeting
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.
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 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 canceled 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.
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.
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.
Why are we running a schools with approximately 150 students short of what was normal at that school and buying modular 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 a discussion about the 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.
Have we paid the 1.2 million dollars in 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 in 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 in 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 planned 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.
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 budget firstname.lastname@example.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 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 five 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:
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
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 by 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.
What will fire protection 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.
Because of privacy concerns, community comments and inquiries will no longer be available to the public on the website.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?
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?
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.
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?
Has the district investigated leasing some of the vehicles it uses?
Has the administration weighed the costs of leasing versus purchasing the vehicles?
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, including 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 the 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 conduct an 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 was 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 (https://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.
January 24, 2017 Community Member Inquiry
How many central office staff we have now, and how many we had 5 years ago Also the same for central administrators.
6 Central Administrators in ’11-12 and 6 in ’16-17.
19 education center personnel minus administrators of which one was part-time in ’11-12. 19 education center personnel minus administrators of which three are part-time in ’16-17.
Are we getting better educational outcomes as a result of an increase in staffing? Also the additional cost.
Over the past few years our data has shown continuous growth. This can be seen by reviewing the data summary which is available on our website (https://www.boyertownasd.org/Page/3304). This information was presented during a board meeting earlier this fall.
The number of special ed. students per each school, thus the total of special ed. students.
School Spec Ed Gifted BES 120 20 CES 82 7 EES 74 6 GES 166 30 NHUF 175 19 PF 54 7 WES 119 14 JHE 162 48 JHW 158 60 BASH 254 108 TOTAL 1364 319