As co-founder of Budget Reform for Student Learning, www.lmsd.info, I have spent years studying the actions of this board and the schools they intend to build. When I speak specifically of this board I speak of those who were on it prior to the 2007 election. For those new members who do not know the facts of which I speak , I suggest that they do some research to better understand the challenge they have inherited.
The problem we face today began with a lie by this board about a PA Department of Education regulation that our properties were too small for one school. I use the word lie because when I alerted the Superintendent and Board President of their error they ignored me an instead sent out a District Digest to every household restating their lie.
They continued by refusing to define new school boundaries first. The reason is obvious. Next, they lied about having to house over 2,500 students. They have now admitted that will never be the case. Next they lied to us at the budget hearings saying they needed every penny for education programs and then later having to admit that they stockpiled $20.1M of excess taxes to have a Harriton down payment sufficient to avoid an Act 1 budget vote. Now we hear that they need a minimum of 1,000 students for each school to satisfy another made up constraint.
And the biggest lie is the 1,250-student size of the schools, in reality each big enough to educate over 1,800 students. If it were not for this board’s need to now save face, redistricting would not be necessary; it is not necessary.
Don’t take my word for it. Go to www.lmsd.info, the alterenative to the District’s site. We’ve got all the source data there for you to draw your own conclusions.
I tell you this so you understand what your up against if you don’t like this redistricting plan. Despite overwhelming opposition during the Act 34 process to Harriton being constructed too large, this board went ahead and build it anyway, knowing that they would have to reach far south and east of Lower Merion High School for Harriton Students. You should expect the same after they are done placating us through the public comment process.
The fact is that you have only one real chance to make this board put a comprehensive plan to a public vote so you, not the nine people at the table, can decide what you want.
After waiting over 18 months, the petition we filed against the PDE for violating the law in approving Harriton without a vote will go to formal hearings in January. We are currently deciding how to proceed. To prevail, we need your support. Prevailing would force the board to provide a comprehensive plan that addresses all aspects of construction, including defining the high school boundaries. This plan could avoid redistricting all together and save substantial construction and operating costs at Harriton.
If you want to take control of what is happening to your children and your community, we ask that you sign our petition to the PDE asking them to rescind the PlanCon F approvals of Harriton and Lower Merion and force the district to a referendum vote. CLICK HERE FOR PETITION
Or, if you prefer to leave this in the Board’s hands, I suspect we will withdraw our petition due to lack of community support. But if we do so, we will all have to live with the decision of this Board to pick out the few communities that they don’t think will fight hard and force them into this ridiculous redistricting and bussing plan. We will also have to live with the fact that we passed up our last opportunity to rein in what has proven to be the wasting of tens of millions of our dollars at a time when we will be negotiating a new teacher contract and paying for the unfunded teacher pension crisis that was predicted for 2012, but may now be much closer at hand. Surely, with all this waste, as funding continues to tighten up, educational programs will suffer.
Please take this last chance to join us now. Go to www.lmsd.info and sign the petition to rescind PlanCon F. And, please email me at the link at the top of the left hand column so that we can keep you informed via email updates.
Bill Manginelli, Narberth