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April 16 Great Valley School Board Meeting at a Glance

Massive restructuring of the middle and high schools remains on table, science aides are taken out of discussion, and Policy 202 stays unchanged, for now.

The Great Valley School Board meeting Monday night at clocked in at just over four hours, wrapping up shortly before midnight. Here are some of the main topics that were discussed:

  • Teachers' union offer—The board issued a statement saying it had unanimously rejected an offer from the teachers' union, the Great Valley Education Association. The union reportedly said the contract would save the school about $3.5 million dollars, but the school board disputed those calculations. Board member Mary Ravenfeld read a statement saying that the contract was tantamount to an extension of the current contract, "and any expansion of that contract is not in the best interest of our students or our community."
  • Science fair winners—Twenty-seven Great Valley elementary students placed in the 2012 Chester County Science Research Competition. Some middle and high school students earned awards in the Delaware Valley Science Fair.
  • PSAT scores rising—25 students were recognized for their high PSAT scores as either National Merit commended scholars or semifinalists, an increase from 21 and 19 in the two previous years.
  • Budget—Superintendent Alan Lononconus reviewed the current budget predicament (see attached photos for his presentation), and the board discussed whether to keep some of the most controversial cuts in consideration. Among the topics discussed:
    1. Cutting busing services, morning buses in particular, was discussed at length. Administrators said it would create major logistical problems, including traffic jams, and was not feasible for next school year.
    2. Social workers remain a possible place to cut. The current proposal calls for one social worker to be removed from the budget next year.
    3. Science aides were taken out of consideration for cuts. The board held a straw poll vote of 7-2 in favor of securing the aides' place in the budget, with Ravenfeld and Bruce Chambers dissenting.
    4. A reorganization is still a possibility. The board is considering having teachers take on six classes, instead of the current five. Principal Dan Goffredo spoke on the far-reaching implications and drawbacks of such a change, but said the dire financial situation could warrant it.
    5. A reorganization is also being considered. The proposal includes breaking the school day into one fewer period. Principal Ed Souders went over the effects of the plan, which would include fewer gym classes and a 10:30 a.m. "brunch" lunch period.
    6. Policy 202, which allows nonresident children of Great Valley teachers attend the district for free, was revisited. There are 27 children to whom this policy currently applies. A motion to impose $4,000 tuition after a two-year grace period was voted down 7-2, with Chambers and Ted Leisenring dissenting, but it was unclear whether the board planned to reopen the discussion again soon.
  • Write the Future, an initiative aimed at channeling community donations to the Foundation at Great Valley, kicked off a drive to raise $250,000 in two weeks. According to co-chair Jodi Stello, the group had raised more than $30,000 by the end of the night.
  • Resolutions—Bruce Chambers introduced three resolutions for consideration at the board's May work session. The resolutions concern: prevailing wage legislation; pension reform; and ability to furlough district personnel for economic reasons.
Joe Herget April 17, 2012 at 09:01 PM
At the end of the day, GVSD is still spending about $18k/student... almost double the national average. The Board shouldn't have any problem figuring out how to address the budget problem. But rather than address the years of ramped up spending, the district continues to look for cuts to programs that should be considered essential.... Cut physical education and sports? Duh.. The # of kids in the USA who are obese is at an all time high and the future healthcare costs will cripple this country. What brainiac came up with those ideas? Maybe it's time to take a look at administrative expenses. What are we spending compared to other school districts across this country (not just compared to TE and the rest of the Main Line)???
Jared April 19, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Like most failing businesses there is too much fat at the top! It's time to cut some administrators. The of course there is PSERS. There's plenty of fat to trim there too!

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