Watch LIVE: Pottsville Area School Board Meets – Teacher Cuts and More Likely Discussed
Members of the Pottsville Area school board hold their regular monthly meeting via Zoom tonight.
You can watch the May 2020 Finance Committee meeting Live via this Facebook Live simulcast:
Canary Ride-along Coverage
We’ll offer live commentary and insights on tonight’s meeting as they develop.
Finance Committee Meeting
- To no one’s surprise, taxes likely on the rise. Business manager Brian Manning says school basically can’t operate going forward without a property tax increase this year. Says tax base is diminishing.
- Discussing staffing cuts: “I struggle with these cuts,” board member Jerome Urban says. Stresses losing full-day kindergarten: “I ask that you and Jeff (Zwiebel) really dig into this.” Board president Bud Quandel agrees with Urban.
- School district is staring down at least a $1 million deficit from the coronavirus fallout, alone.
- Finance committee showing real concern that the state will take control of Pottsville Area School District.
- Zwiebel issues statement indicating he’ll go a fourth year, coming up in 2020-21, with no pay raise.
Regular Meeting Agenda
You can view the agenda for tonight’s meeting here:May 12 2020 Board Agenda FINAL pottsville area school district
- School administration trying to explain why they’re in the financial hole:
> 15% drop in district enrollment between 2010-2019 (2,572 students in 2019)
> 74% of costs at PASD go to Salaries and Benefits (per Business Manager Brian Manning)
> Pension impact: $5.3M per year, according to Manning’s financial report
> Special education students on the rise
> From 2012-18: expenses higher than revenue
> Quandel says buildings need to be maintained
> There is no money going out for the solar panels. “There is a 5-year lease payment …” Manning says, rather contrary to his previous sentence.
> The 40-year cash flow projections rely on these solar panels generating a lot of energy and no changes to how companies are forced to pay for renewable energy certificates. Making projections on things they can’t control. Totally reckless.
> Taxpayers being held hostage by these solar panels:
> Quandel sounds like he’s blaming the Gallagher administration for NOT raising taxes even though the coffers were constantly overflowing with cash. Sad excuse party or public school board meeting?
> Again, if this solar panel project isn’t going to cost us any money going out, why did we need to take out a $4 million loan?
> Quandel REALLY believes in this solar project: “It’s the most misunderstood program. Without solar, Pottsville would have to make additional cuts from Day 1.”
> Quandel calling out former board member Scott Thomas’ criticism of the public comment portion of meetings. Will read a statement saying public comment is not a Q&A.
>Board limits public comments to 1 hour … Quandel seems pissed.
- Several school board members visibly laughing and smirking as comments read from former member Scott Thomas.