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School District union overtime adds to public pension crisis

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The East Penn School District’s public union contract (see pgs. 6, 30, 31 and 32) has a section called “Extra pay for Extra Work”, normally refereed to as overtime pay. School Board member, Lynn Donches, asked a very insightful question at the 8/10/2015 school board meeting. She asked the administration whether the teachers who get paid overtime to coach the after school programs have this “Extra pay for Extra Work” added to their base salary. The answer, yes it is.

The list of programs is long, students can learn to juggle, scrapbook, play guitar and even Lego. Each costing $35.33 a session with a maximum of 8 sessions. These sessions were not figured into the “Extra Pay for Extra Work” costs

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School Board member asks why documents are deleted from public view

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Kudos again to East Penn School Board member, Lynn Donches. This time for bringing public attention to the fact that for years the administration has been stripping the informative documents called “Exhibits” from the agenda when they were posted on the school website as approved minutes.

Typically at a school board meeting, you can pick up a paper copy of the agenda for the night’s board meeting, and within the document are exhibits. Exhibits are items to be voted on, for example the bill list, contracts, and any other information which describe the agenda items the school board will be voting on. The problem Ms Donches pointed out was as follows, after the votes are taken and the meeting is adjourned the exhibit

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School Board member says waste less paper and shift savings toward students!

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Kudos to school board members Lynn Donches and Rebecca Heid for suggesting that the school board members switch to paperless agendas, although their reasons are worlds apart. Ms. Heid wants it done for personal reasons while Ms. Donches would like to see the cost savings shifted to student activities.

This paperless agenda request led to the discovery that the East Penn School District actually printed about 100 too many paper copies for each and every school board meeting dating back for many years. According to the administration figures, the cost savings associated to this overprinting would be $2175 per year! Over a decade this could have put $21,175 into budget line items for student activities.

The administration has been printing ~125 paper hard

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Do East Penn School District accounting methods seem archaic to you too?

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It all started with Ms. Donches, a member of the East Penn School Board (EPSB). Her main reasons for running for election had been transparency and accountability. She has abstained from or voted nay on the bill list since early on in her tenure exactly because of the lack of detail and transparency on the school district’s accounting methods.

Remember the alleged infamous administration order to illegally bury hazardous asbestos waste at the Wescosville School? You Don’t? Check it out here. Well, it turns out that the costs for this illegal action were listed on a bill list. It included costs related to rental of equipment (after all it was a hole 26’X30’X4′ deep) and for the layer of topsoil to cover

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East Penn Superintendent says we have 48 less kids enrolled

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At the East Penn School Board (EPSB) meeting on Monday 8/10/2015 the Superintendent gave an enrollment update in which he said there are 48 less students enrolled than the end of the school year. The grammar police tell me it should be said that there are 48 fewer students, but hey, he’s only the Superintendent and we can forgive him for that.

So as it stands now the total student enrollment is 7948, which is 48 fewer students than in June when the school year ended.

EPSD test, test and test again till mastery

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Parents watch out! If you thought your children were tested enough in school now, wait until you hear about the district’s newest plans. At the 8/10/2015 school board meeting the Superintendent announced that your kids will now have the opportunity to reach “mastery”. How you may ask? Well, by taking the tests over and over and over until they do.

This may sound strange to hear from the Superintendent since he recently admitted we already have an over-testing problem in the schools.

Also the Superintendent explained how EPSD will have continuous grading throughout the year instead of just quarterly grading. This is a pilot program beginning with the sixth grade in Eyer Middle school.

Changes like this

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EPSD will have 148 fewer students starting next year

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The Superintendent for the East Penn School District let it be known that there will be 148 fewer students enrolled next year compared to this year. This total may change slightly depending on a few factors like; moves, kindergarten sign-ups, etc…

This is the expected direction as the Demographic study ,the EPSD commissioned last year, showed that the population of the school district would stay flat and then contract for at least the next ten years.

The EPSD took land by eminent domain years ago in order to build a new high school, that was back in 1989. Too bad they didn’t do a demographic study back then, they could have saved a lot of time and money for

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East Penn School Board: Ms. Donches rectifies board minutes, interesting

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Ms. Lynn Donches needed to change the school board minutes to clarify a big discrepancy before the full board voted to accept them at July’s meeting. It seems the minutes misstated Ms. Donches, claiming that she said the amount of money that the district would save, if they limited the administrative pay raises to 1% instead of the actual 2.5%, would have offset the total tax increase of approximately 4.3 million dollars. Since the administration got almost $100,000 in increases this is obviously not true. However, had the administration limited their pay increases to 1% as Ms. Donches requested the district would have saved about $50,000. This money would have gone a long way in restoring the cuts to student programs that the

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