To The Editor:
If you were one of the over 450 citizens who took the time to write commentary in opposition to the New Harriton High School and submit it to the school district last fall, Jamie Savedoff says that you are hardly representative of the desires of the school district. To quote his words as closely as I can from tonight’s (2/26/07) board meeting, “With 40,000 voters in Lower Merion, 450 to 460 people opposing the new schools is hardly representative of the desires of the majority of the school district.”
If you were one of the 60 citizens who wrote commentary in favor of the new high school last fall, you are lucky. Apparently, Jamie Savedoff counts you as more important than those who outnumber you by over seven fold.
How did this comment come about? During the public comment period of the school board meeting, I asked the board to answer three questions. Since, during the Act 34 public comment period last fall, 450 letters were submitted to the district opposing the New Harriton High School plan that the district would submit to the PA Department of Education (PDE) for approval of the size and scope of the project, and only 60 letters were submitted in favor of this bloated project, 1.) What effect did this have on the board’s thinking toward how the project addressed community desires? 2.) What guidance has the PDE given to the LMSD regarding this community response? and 3.) What ongoing method is available for the community at large to provide continued commentary to the PDE regarding these high school projects?
Dr. Savedoff’s response (note that our elected officials who are responsible for oversight of this man do not answer) was to say that the PDE told the school district that it acted within the law. Acted within the law? Does that mean that the public commentary period is meaningless to the PDE? Does it mean that the school district behaved in such a way that the best the PDE could say about it is that the district was within the law? You decide. (Note that none of the questions was actually answered.)
It is time to continually remind the school district what we think of their irresponsible spending plan for these school buildings. Write to the school board and tell them that you oppose the oversized, overpriced new school buildings as currently planned. Tell them that you demand a referendum on these projects. The recent bids for building the New Harriton exceeded the amount approved by the PDE, and the school district must revise their plan and request new bids before any work can begin. There is still time for them to listen to the taxpayers of Lower Merion. You should have the right to vote directly on whether or not to pay for these projects. You can contact them in two ways.
1.) Via e-mail at email@example.com
2.) Via US Postal service (or in person) to:
Attn: Ms. Jane Guelich, Board Secretary
301 E. Montgomery Avenue
Ardmore, PA 19003-3399
This is a worthwhile endeavor! The School Board of Directors does get your comments, and they cannot ignore them forever. Please get your beliefs on record often, so that the school district knows what the majority really thinks!
Heidi Schulze, Bala Cynwyd, PA