The Issue: For months, members of the community questioned the LMSD Board and Superintendent about why the Educational Specifications prepared by Dancu Associates called for fifteen (later revised to thirteen) Special Ed Rooms, even though the report assigned no enrollment to these rooms. When Board President Rosenwald and Superintendent Savedoff arrogantly refused to answer these questions, a group of citizens filed a formal written appeal to the PA Department of Education (“PDE”). The November 1, 2007 issue of "Support or Schools" created by the group "New Schools Now" states: these people "made serious allegations to the PA Department of ED with the Harriton Act 34 documents. PDE had no choice but to investigate. The allegations proved unfounded and the Act 34 application for Harriton was ultimately approved, but after months rather than weeks.” (Note that, originally, we incorrectly attributed this quote to the website of the Democratic candidates for Lower Merion School Board. While the Democrat's website does routinely post the writings of Greg Nowell, one of the authors of the "New Schools Now" statement, this particular quote does not appear on that website.)
Read on to see what the PDE really found!
The Facts: >Click here to read the memo from the Chief, Division of School Facilities, of the PDE to Superintendent Savedoff. The memo requests a response to the allegation that the District violated 22 Pa. Code § 349 by including thirteen Special Ed Classrooms in the Room Schedule for New Harriton. Also attached is a letter from Superintendent Savedoff admitting that the District “incorrectly designated” some of these rooms. The District revised its PlanCon submittal, this time with nine Special Ed Classrooms instead of thirteen. Hence, the allegations were not unfounded and the “cushion” to build New Harriton without an Act 34 referendum was reduced by $518,940.
The Conclusion: This Board and Administration are desperate to build two brand new high schools, regardless of the cost. They have refused to answer legitimate questions about their grandiose plans from members of the public. Rather than listening to the concerns of the community, they have made submittals to the PDE that were incorrect. Was this an innocent mistake, or another arrogant attempt to avoid a referendum and hope that no one is paying attention? You decide.
The current Democratic-led Board has shunned community input and has made costly decisions about both Harriton and Lower Merion High Schools specifically to avoid a public referendum under either Act 1 or Act 34.