|I never understood why the apple is black,|
and not red...
- Thanks to inclement weather last week, the Work Session was cancelled. So, the Board shoehorned last weeks' meeting into this week, creating a briskly-paced meeting totaling in at a mere four hours long. We didn't get home until about 11:20 last night, when most meetings don't last until 8:20. It's safe to say we won't see something like that again.
- A victory for the pro-turf crowd: the Board passed Resolution 14-01, which starts the process of taking out a $5.5 Million Bond with a variable interest rate (currently set at around 1%, but as the finance person noted, it varies week-to-week). According to Dr. Zerbe, Worcester recently edited an ordinance allowing Methacton to finally "put shovels in the dirt" and get this project rolling. Whoo-hoo.
Now, I've been a vocal opponent of this project for many reasons. I don't believe artificial turf is the way to go for Methacton, or sports in general. The heat absorption alone puts students at a massive risk, and seeing that the number one deteriorate of artificial turf fields is UV Rays, and Methacton's Football Field sits in the middle of an open area, you have a nice math problem that adds up to headaches in the coming years of turf-field-ism. And that all is on top of historical Methacton, who has allowed the football field, et al, to fall into this sort of disarray, where if you ask anyone who has played in The Vet, the one thing that is worse that an improperly maintained field is an improperly maintained turf field.
Oh, and remember when I said voting for the Teachers' Contracts felt rushed? That same feeling came at this meeting. The Bond presentation was given, then about forty-five minutes later, the Bond was passed 7-2, the dissenters being Mark O'Neil (who asked for the vote to be pushed back to allow the public more time to analyze the deal--good call Mark!) and Maria Shackleford. I personally feel that a major expense like this project, or the Bond refinancing, should be put up for referendum, but the Board, in typical Methacton fashion, eschewed true public opinion and went with what they felt was "true public opinion," because a thousand people signed a petition on Facebook means the majority of Lower Providence and/or Worcester wants this project to go through.
- The Conditional Use Hearing for lights in February 4th (my birthday!) at the Worcester Township Building at 5:30 if I'm not mistaken. Because, even though Worcester is allowing MSD to put shovels in the dirt for the turf project, the issue of lights is still a couple of four-letter words away from becoming a fist fight in Worcester. Don't believe me? Read for yourself.
- The School Resource Officer contract was renewed by MSD, making a three-year deal. Concern was raised about raising costs along with the program, since the program was started with Federal Grant money, and that said money has since dissipated, resulting in the school district to foot the bill fully now. A fun thing for those of us who live in Lower Providence, since Lower Providence police officers are policing the schools; you're paying township tax for the police officers and property taxes for those same two officers to be in the schools. And we wonder why Worcester doesn't want to establish a police force.
- An interesting new policy was put up for First Reading: Policy #815 and #815.1, which involve use of outside machines (read: laptops, smartphones, et cetera) and the use of social media during school hours. It's interesting because in the later years of me going to school, all social media was banned, even though we found ways around the proxy to go on Facebook, or we went on Twitter because it wasn't blocked. This was a snag if a teacher wanted to show a video off of YouTube--the proxy blocked YouTube as well, so this will be interesting to see how the classroom dynamic changes. I mean, MHS policy was for us to store our cell phones in our locker, and I can count on one hand who did that, since everyone had a phone on them during school hours, including teachers. It makes sense to pull that rule when no one was following it anyway.
- To boil it down, more money is being spent to aid MSD in the Conditional Use Hearing, which includes not playing music too loud. Which, is the reason why I still don't believe Worcester is just bending over and allowing turf, when Architerra first gave their presentation, the Worcester Board of Supervisors were in the room, and were very coy about how their township classifies artificial turf as a permeable or non-permeable surface.
- The Preliminary Budget presentation was last night. I will admit, I was struggling at that point to pay attention, but I do have a few nuggets of info. The proposed tax increase will be at four percent, thanks to the Bond issue that was just passed, and this is before any budgetary work. On the other hand, this is also before the State Budget is announced, and the index and PSERS exemption isn't really known, where last year it totaled to about 2.95%. Which is much less than four, but I digress.
- The Geothermal Update was last night, which impacts my family directly because of how close we live to Arcola/Skyview. From the slide we saw last night, only Skyview and Woodland has Geothermal Wells, where we were under the impression that Arcola benefit from them, too. The energy savings from Skyview was minimal at best, while Woodland seemed to have the benefit of about 30% savings, but to be honest, I had a hard time understanding the numbers behind it. I requested a copy of the presentation and hopefully I'll be able to better decipher it.