School board officials made one thing clear last Thursday night – they want the public's input on vital district decisions and they simply aren't getting it.
The district, which is currently in search of a superintendent and has seen multiple changes in administration at the middle and high school levels as of late, has been holding budget meetings this month and informational board/workshop meetings the last two months, with low attendance.
Officials said they had no one from the public at the March 4 budget meeting. Only one resident came out to an informational meeting to date.
"I was very disheartened at the first budget meeting to have no public attend," said Board President Bill Scott. "This is only going to work as a two-way street. The board needs the public to come out and tell us what they want, what they don't want…This is important to this district; we are at a crossroad. Without the public, it's very difficult to do."
When asked by East Greenville Mayor Ryan Sloyer if the district is still considering outsourcing support staff, Scott said it would be discussed at an upcoming budget meeting. Those meetings, arranged topically, are taking place through May. A schedule is listed on the district's website, upsd.org.
Sloyer said he hopes the board will take into consideration the strong pleas already made by the public on behalf of keeping support staff and not outsourcing their positions just for financial reasons.
"Every year we have to have that discussion," Scott said of outsourcing, which was pegged last spring at saving the district in excess of $1 million over three years. "We will consider what we feel is best for the district…both financially and education-wise. Sometimes sacrifices need to be made."
Scott also said, in response to a question by Sloyer about the status of the superintendent search, that as the district is still seeking candidates, they are also reevaluating the structure of all administrative positions.
In other business, the board briefly discussed the possibility of having to add third and fourth grade teachers, as well as a part-time kindergarten teacher, at the elementary level in response to enrollment, which is steadily climbing.
Marlborough Township resident Kim Wheeler asked what the district was doing to prepare for more students.
While the topic remains in discussion at budget meetings, Scott said he, personally, wanted to see more full-day kindergarten offered and, if that would occur, the district may have to look at transforming part of its Education Center on E. Buck Road in Upper Hanover Township into a kindergarten center, as was proposed several years ago.
Scott said the district is also looking into options for having an updated population study done that would give officials figures they need to better make those decisions.
The district approved the hiring of Allison P. Stephens as an assistant principal at Upper Perkiomen High School. Stephens was last employed as a special education facilitator with Palisades School District.