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Discussion with Lynn Donches, former East Penn School Board Director

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Lynn Donches served on the East Penn School Board from December 0f 2011 through November 2015. The Commentator requested that she share her perspective on her experience.

Lynn stated that her goals upon entering office were to promote transparency, accountability, fiscal responsibility while maintaining a high standard of education for the students, and to encourage more public participation.

Lynn initiated more discussions and more questions being asked with positive results. An example is a reduction in bond management fees stemming from her question asking if it was possible to reduce the fees (12/8/14 minutes). As a result, the fees were reduced by 15% (2/23/15 minutes), which in turn saved thousands of dollars. We thank you Lynn for asking that important question, and we wonder why other Board members did not ask.  Also, due to her questioning, there was a change in the copy machine vendor resulting in a savings of $84,000 a year!

Ms. Donches was diligent in her fiscal oversight and requested more information be given on the bill list, which the Board and Administration continually refused to do. She realized that Board members were approving expenditures without full knowledge of where the money was actually being spent.

The School District’s burial of asbestos on the Wescosville Elementary School grounds was another issue. The knowledge of the burial was made public thanks to questions Ms. Donches raised during discussion about remediating the area.  Those questions, like peeling an onion, started to reveal a scandal of serious proportions.  Lynn was not only looking after the finances but also the children’s safety.  Ms. Donches mentioned this item as one of her disappointments in that no other Board member thought this issue important enough to seek the full details!  To this day, how and why the asbestos was buried on the Wescosville School grounds has not been revealed.  Someone certainly has that information!

Lynn was also instrumental in the revision of the summer reading list which included titles of books with graphic adult content for 13 to 15 year old students. Parents here in Emmaus and across the U.S. have referred to these books as containing pornography.  Although another Board member stated she felt “our” students are “mature” enough for this type of reading material, Lynn prevailed, and the titles were removed from the list.

Lynn enjoyed and continues to enjoy attending functions involving student activities. She does believe that the community supported her efforts and saw her as a fiscal watchdog. She ran for office stating she would only seek one term, and she was true to her word.  Lynn is an interested citizen and will continue to attend meetings, but she has no current plans to run for office.

Lynn stated that serving on the East Penn School Board has opened her eyes as to how the School Board really works – a perspective that the general public is not privy to. One must remember that the School Board is elected to oversee all school operations including the Administration.

We thank Lynn Donches for steadfastly following her promises to the taxpayers. We wish her all the best in her future endeavors!

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