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.
Note: You can not ask questions or public comments here that the board will see. Griping about the board or the teachers or all of them is always welcome.