I would like this letter read into the record during the Public Comment portion of the next School Board Meeting. Thank you for your consideration.
February 5, 2009
To the School Board Directors of Lower Merion School District:
I watched the video of the January 26, 2008 School Board Meeting and was disappointed to see that the Board is still refusing to answer questions from the citizens. However, there was one exception that I found even more disconcerting. A citizen asked the Board to address the upcoming ACT34 Hearings that have been ordered by the Secretary of Education. Among all of the other questions asked, the Administration chose to ask the solicitor to address this one question.
District Solicitor Roos was quite disingenuous in his answers. First, he stated that there are no hearings scheduled. True, only because Mr. Roos has refused to provide BUDGET REFORM FOR STUDENT LEARNING at www.lmsd.info, the citizens group that filed the ACT 34 complaint, with timely access to the District’s public records. This delay forced the Hearing Officer to postpone hearings without yet setting new dates. But clearly, hearings have been ordered and will be scheduled. By contrast, the Pennsylvania Department of Education has already provided its entire document file to BRSL, before the District has even provided complete answers to BRSL’s document request.
Next, Mr. Roos stated that the complaint filed by BRSL “is an attempt to kind of derail or disrupt the construction of Harriton and Lower Merion High School.” He reiterated that it was important for people to understand it was nothing more than this! However, this is patently false. Mr. Roos knows that this appeal is an effort to cause the PA Department of Education to enforce the law. Enforcing the ACT 34 law would only provide the citizens with the right to vote on the school board’s modernization plan. BRSL believes that this right was wrongfully withheld from the voters. As an officer of the Court, surely Mr. Roos wants our laws enforced.
Finally, Mr. Roos stated that he has taken the position that these appeals are “meritless” and “filed way out of time.” What Mr. Roos did not say is that he has filed several motions to this effect and all have been denied by the Hearing Officer.
The School Board and Mr. Roos in particular have an obligation to be straight with the citizens. Mr. Roos is not an advocate for the School Board Directors. He represents the entire School District and works for all of the tax payers. It is a sad state of affairs when a citizen of Lower Merion Township is not being given a fair and balanced assessment of a public matter. I ask the School Board to correct this error at once.
Thank You for Your Time,
Bill Manginelli, Narberth
Of course, the Board chose no to read this letter into the record.