A new president and vice president were voted in last week to lead the Upper Perkiomen school board as officials noted they will be tackling several important issues this coming year, including a new teachers’ contract and a “worse budgetary situation” for schools.
At a Dec. 3 meeting, the board voted School Director Bill Scott in at the head of the board and Harry Quinque in the secondary role.
Quinque served as the board president for six years and was given a gift on behalf of the administration. His leadership and service to the district were cited by Scott and Superintendent Dr. Beth Yonson.
School Director Jennifer Allebach was also recognized with a certificate naming her to the Honor Roll of School Board Service by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) for eight years of total service.
Allebach later noted upcoming openings on the board and urged people to encourage qualified candidates to run for the positions.
“We all know, more than anybody else, how hard it’s going to be moving forward,” she said, asking her colleagues to finalize who is running in 2013 and who isn’t. She noted Feb. 19 is the first day to file and circulate petitions for the Nov. 5 general election.
The board also discussed changing the format of their committee meetings to a more “formal and structured” platform, at the behest of Scott.
“I would like to see a more formal workshop from the committee meetings we have now,” he said. “I would rather have an agenda like this [current regular board meeting]. If issues come along that need to be researched, people can break into groups…The current academic achievement meetings are going too long.”
Allebach agreed, noting the committee meetings were hours in length.
“I think we can get more done in an expeditious manner if we went to a committee setting within a board workshop,” she said.
“I’m concerned about creating a second board meeting every month where we have actionable items brought forth where there is less of an opportunity for public purview,” School Director Rob Pepe said, indicating he wanted enough advertisement for the public.
School Board Director John Gehman said he appreciated having less formality and meeting in a different setting with back-and-forth input from the public.
Scott explained he was looking for more structure but that discussion would continue at the Jan. 10 board meeting.
In other news, Quinque announced a judge’s decision would keep the district from collecting transfer taxes from Northgate, a T.H. Properties (THP) development in Upper Hanover, for phases one through five. Those funds could amount to $500,000 to $600,000, he said. Under THP’s bankruptcy plan, those funds would instead go to creditors.
The board approved the school calendar for 2013-14, with school starting Aug. 27. The last day of school is tentatively scheduled for June 12.
The board announced they will meet for an executive session Dec. 19. No topic for the executive session was announced to the public. Administrators couldn't immediately comment on the reason for that meeting.