12/9/19 School Board Meeting Guide

Here are the things you should know about last night’s school board meeting:

Improving the Tax Rebate Program

Fellow board member Josh Levinson proposed we revise and expand the district’s property tax rebate program, which assists those who are elderly or disabled and living on incomes of less than (currently) $20,000. I am strongly in favor of expanding this program. Board support for the resolution was unanimous and the details of the expansion will be built into the coming budget process. Applications for the existing program– which is underutilized– is available here. You can watch the board discussion of the issue here. (Sidenote: The board also voted unanimously to limit any tax increase in next year’s budget to no more than the rate of inflation set by the state, known as the Act 1 Index.)

Update on Replacing the High School Football Field

D’Huy Engineering provided an update to the project currently underway to replace the football field with artificial turf. The project is on budget and on schedule to be completed before the 2020 season. The board discussed a variety of ways to lower the overall cost of the project. Watch the discussion here, with the presentation slides available here. If this is the first time you’ve heard of this project, you can check out news from previous meetings here and here. $1.45 million of the costs of the project are being paid by a sponsorship agreement with Lehigh Valley Health Network.

The PA Future Ready Index

The board discussed the results of recent state data on school performance, known as the PA Future Ready Index. The results, based primarily on standardized test scores, show district schools are doing well in overall attendance and graduation rate, and are on track for meeting long term state goals in English language, math, and science. The district is not, however, making adequate progress toward state goals for its non-native English speakers, special education students, and racial minorities. Watch the presentation and discussion here; slides available here. I continue to have concerns about how much weight is given to metrics like this. For more on what I mean, check out What Vietnam Can Teach Us About Standardized Testing or my many other posts about this issue.

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