Diana Schroeder’s response to my letter on Sept. 7 stated Westmont Hilltop School District spends less money than most school districts in Pennsylvania. Yes, this is true and I commend the board for this.
At the same time, it should not be an excuse for failing to investigate potential cost-saving options. Several months ago, the board collected close to 100 potential cost-saving ideas from board members and taxpayers. These ideas were discussed at board meetings and assigned to various committees to investigate and evaluate. The last progress report on the Web page concerning these ideas was in June. The taxpayers deserve an update.
Personally, I informed the board of a Bishop McCort project that involves educating Chinese students. McCort receives a significant sum of money from this project and Schroeder stated the board would investigate the potential for adopting the project. To the best of my knowledge, the board has not reported on this.
Schroeder indicated the additional $300,000 in Pennsylvania funding would be used for capital projects. The district already has more than one million budget dollars available for capital improvements.
I am confused: Why would this extra funding be used in this manner when more than $1 million is already available?
The board should invite Realtors to speak at a board meeting to help them understand the significant negative impact school taxes are having on home values and the lives of district taxpayers.
Contrary to the apparent belief of the board, many residents are having a difficult time paying the exorbitant district taxes.
Editor’s note: We asked Diana Schroeder, Westmont Hilltop school board president, for a response, which follows.
Collaborative force making a difference
The Westmont Hilltop school board has successfully balanced its budget for this school year by readjusting building plans, examining all cost-saving ideas and incorporating those which were able to be immediately implemented and eliminating an administrative position.
Additionally, there was significant support to this cost-containment by the administrative team, teachers and staff to agree to a salary freeze. Because of these decisions, no tax increase was needed this past year.
These measures were taken in collaboration with the board, teachers, parents, community members and the leadership team.
This level of cooperation and collaboration is a testament to our school district and our community, and for that I am appreciative of everyone who has contributed to this work.
The ongoing work of finding creative and substantive ways to balance our budget will certainly continue and we will once again need this collaborative force to find ways to ensure a high quality education in a cost-efficient way.
I will reiterate my previous position
that I am grateful for the input of everyone who has a stake in the educational process at Westmont Hilltop School District, and we will consider all suggestions for the impact on the educational process and system, the potential cost benefit, the possible detriments and the requirements that are made upon a public education institution by the state and federal governments.
While there may not be immediate responses to suggestions, please be assured that they remain on the table pending more information and discussion.
Westmont Hilltop school board
Celebrate school bus safety week all the time
National School Bus Safety Week is Monday through Oct. 26.
Most people do not realize school bus transportation continues to be one of the safest forms of ground transportation. In fact, a school bus is 28 times safer than a passenger car. That’s no accident. It is through the efforts of hardworking and dedicated professionals in the school transportation industry.
Our tremendous safety record is due to tough federal and state regulations, extensive school bus driver training and review, and our commitment to safety.
School busing is a much more complex and demanding job than most people appreciate. It is supported by an extensive network including mechanics, dispatchers and driver safety trainers.
The vehicles are built and equipped for the safety of the children they transport. They operate at the busiest travel periods of the day and in all types of weather conditions.
The problem is that our best efforts can only deliver a part of the results. An awareness of the law and the behavior of the driving public remains a critical element in the safety of the children we transport to and from school.
Too many times, school bus drivers report motorists passing their stopped school buses when they are picking up or discharging students. Pennsylvania’s law is quite simple to remember: A motorist must always stop for a school bus when the red lights are flashing.
If a motorist fails to stop for a school bus and is caught, it is an automatic 60-day suspension of their driver’s license, five points on their driving record and a $250 fine.
Observe School Bus Safety Week every week.
It could save a life.
President, Tri County Transportation
Get facts straight before you criticize
In response to Charles Balon’s Readers’ Forum letter on Oct. 8, “Paint Township needs new leaders”:
As a lifelong resident of Paint Township, I take offense to his statement that I am not caring or unqualified. What is the basis for this statement, other than pure ignorance and/or hate?
For the record, I ran as a write-in candidate since nobody else would step up to the plate and run. Also, in the most recent election, Dave Blough did not even run and accepted the position after receiving a few write-in votes due to the fact that nobody else ran for the position.
Additionally, I take no money for my services and it actually costs me money to represent the people. So, with that being said I think the writer should do his homework before writing an article without knowing what direction he is going and spreading propaganda.
I especially admire the remark that the banks and the borough withhold funds until all the supervisors resign. This statement is so far in left field and ridiculous that it is hilarious. This would certainly solve the problem since we could close the doors and leave everyone without any services, including police protection.
Secondly, please let me know if you are offering your free service to become a supervisor and I will gladly step aside and spend my valuable time with my family, instead of working for you for nothing.
Chairman, Paint Township Supervisors