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The Abington Citizens Network
where Abington, PA residents can share ideas and join forces to build a better community
 

 

SCHOOL ISSUES

  THE SUPERINTENDENT'S SALARY -coming soon - we intend to post the $319,000 salary details . Please check back weekly

 
The Abington School District Website  including Facebook and Twitter 

   The School Channel Comcast 968 and Verizon 34 - includes  School Board Meetings 
                    Plays at different time slots weekly  ie Friday 6 am to 9am (see schedule )
                      or at http://www.abington.k12.pa.us/about-asd/amp-tv/

  
Wednesday Morning  The email Newsletter  of Highlights from the Tuesday Board Meeting
                      Send an email to SR-subscribe@lists.Abington.k12.pa.us  & it will come right to your email box
 
 
 
THINGS THAT OTHERS WOULD LIKE TO DISCUSS/ KNOW MORE ABOUT OR CHANGE

 


RYDAL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PTO PRESIDENT  CHARGED WITH STEALING $19,000    Not the first time an
                  Abington School District parent teacher group has  faced such  difficulties. Yet it doesn't look like regular oversight
                   has been made a priority  . Regular audits and very open books are snot necessarily in play in this district.
                   Please take the initiative to find out and ask that your PTO's practices include the audits and regular reports at
                   monthly meetings and that the books are fully available to any parent who asks to see them. Then designate
                   volunteers to do this at least every other month or once a quarter.
    
                      
http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20150723/former-abington-pto-president-charged-with-stealing-19k

 ENFORCING SCHOOL POLICIES ( please contact us to join in the conversation )
                         ie:  Is c
ell phone use allowed in certain areas and tolerated throughout the building even during class
ACADEMIC STANDARDS
                         ie: Are
academic standards for the “college prep” classes high enough ?
NEWS THAT GETS BACK TO PARENTS
                         ie: Are parents or the community receiving all positive news, leaving out for instance  any mention of fights
                          or the need to call police , etc.  Is the news we're getting the whole news? Is it "balanced?
CLASSROOM  AND BEHAVIOR STANDARDS
                           ie:  In some classes , are students drowning out the teacher. Are respect standards always in place
                            with some uniformity?
 WHAT OTHER ISSUES WOULD BENEFIT FROM A HEALTHY DISCUSSION OR REVIEW?
                               contact us and share your ideas....
 GREAT PLACE TO SEE SCHOOL PERFORMANCE AND TAXES

                          http://www.openpagov.org/school_taxes/sdefault.asp

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   Our Educational Access Channel

6-09   Comcast Channel 938 and Verizon Channel 34  are the Education Access Channels.  On  Comcast  few are likely to bump into it by "surfing "--  and some homes do not get those high numbers .  Besides working to get Comcast on a lower # channel, the school meetings that we need to see should be shown in more week day hours & evening hours to increase their viewing and get more awareness and involvement of the Community.  The Township channel should now just feature highlights of the school's offerings and directions on how to get to that channel.     See the School's  TV Schedule   is how to find when it is on.  If you are interested in seeing improved content that is NOT COMMERCIAL FOR EITHER FOR PROFIT OR NON-PROFIT  please  contact us

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  Help Ensure Use of School Facilities for Community purposes :
         
When Community members seek space to discuss either School District or Township issues, how their dollars are spent, how programs are administered, etc  the facilities that are paid for with tax dollars should be available to them without charge.  It is important to foster the discussions that lead to oversight of our programs and budgets. Instead we see accommodations made for non-profit groups or others . Citizens should not have to "form a non-profit"  or be a member of one to have a say in how their dollars are used .  Please help us work towards getting accommodation by any requesting resident for discussions about the issues that affect the township and school.

   Using School Facilities for Political Purposes
Despite a policy directing no use of School property for political purposes, this policy was put aside by School board members to allow multiple political addresses in 2008. While all of us recognize the value of our children's involvement in the political process, there is a strong sentiment by many about the putting aside of policies in such a fashion. Some have expressed that, just as policies should not be created without ample input and discussion by & with  residents, they also should not be changed without the same due process.  However much may be gained from the experience for our young people, the question has been asked if the same gain could have been realized  had the students attended at another local venue, such as at a local college, without the negative precedent of our schools being used for political purposes and of policies being put aside without due process. 

 

   COMMUNICATIONS POLICY
Does someone have a 2013 update on this issue?

 On  8-12-08  at the School Board meeting the new policy changes were discussed. Of particular concern was the portion below - this portion was subsequently removed from the policy before it passed and slated for further discussion. We were assured we would be alerted when the policy discussion came up again. This was the objectionable wording :
1. All contacts and communications between the District Board of Directors and District personnel and staff related to District operations shall be channeled through the Superintendent.

2. In order to facilitate compliance with this policy, District employees shall be advised that they shall not contact or communicate with District Board members directly without specific direction and permission from the Superintendent.
 (The above text may have been amended at that meeting where the policy was approved.) 
   
At the Aug 26th, 2008  meeting there will be a second reading  of the policy and it is possible there will be an attempt to pass this policy among the many that were changed.   We hope this does not happen as this would be a terrible set-back to the free communication that is necessary to a  good system that has as many checks and balances as possible in place.  This would tie the hands of the School Board members and put  District personnel  is a place where they had only  one person to work with to make changes ----- and what if suggestions about THAT one person were in order? How would that work?
Update:  We understand the policy was passed but do not have the final wording .  Limiting the communication to and from the School Board Members is not a good day for transparency.  I had asked to be alerted  when the meeting was continued, so I could comment before the vote  &  I  was assured by President McGarry I would be, but the vote came & went without my knowledge. 
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  Advertising On Our Channel
Allowing any kind of  advertising  at all on your access  channel can be a very slippery slope. In 2008  our educational channel aired an RTI segment  which did less to explain what was happening in Abington Schools  ( an interview with staff or other Abington personnel would have been much more informative ) and more to just promote RTI  like any typical commercial. In 2008 or early 2009 a "Commercial " for one of the elementary schools was made.  Is that really how we want educational dollars spent?  Do we want to know  about the real progress and challenges - or do we want PR?   In 2009 a local bank who is a generous sponsor of local activities was allowed air time that really can only be viewed, in my opinion,  as  advertising.  ALL sponsors - large & small - should get equal billing in alphabetical order - or you create a  situation where dollars make the difference about who is on the air. This is an educational channel . It is important that we guard against such use.  The struggle to get our meetings aired went on for years.  If commercial interests ( and yes - non-profits are businesses, too) are allowed access in any way to our channel, it will not be possible for our voices to be heard. We have no way of competing with that. Without hearing the information  from meetings or other important presentations, we have no way to really know whom to vote in or out.  Far fewer people will see the finances or know the issues. We have no forum to hear each other's voices. We have 900 other channels for "entertainment" and commercial use.  It is important to safeguard the few "channels of communication"  that we have where our individual voices can be heard and some oversight of our processes can be had.
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   How many millions are being held in the Fund Balance?

6-10-09   As reported in the Times Chronicle  the School will be able to reduce millage this year rather than increasing it.  The millage rate will go from 27.29 to 27.09,  saving the average taxpayer  $28.23    There is an estimated $1.6 million  coming from Stimulus money --- but  funds used to "balance" the budget  included  $8.4 million from the Fund  Balance .  It was reported that approximately $31.5 million would be left in the Fund  Balance    ---- so the amount that our School had in the Fund  Balance   would appear to be near  $40 million . This amount held is in addition to the  $10 million plus or minus in the Township Fund  Balance each year.  (The required Township buffer is $2.5 million.)  It would appear that balancing our budget was possible because of funds that were over-taxed in prior years. With 21,000 households in the Township, as much as 2000 or more  per household would represent a figure of $40-$50 million.  Some of the monies are possibly being held for projects in the budget awaiting payment - but what amount exactly falls under that category.  When as much as 10 million is readily accessible to balance a budget ( or for other unspecified purposes) some questions arise.   Is this an appropriate amount to be holding and what was the stated purpose of these funds when taxes were being raised to acquire them ?

  In the article in the Times Chronicle one Board member suggests that other districts will have to pass on to their taxpayers major increases to support the "massive increases in pension costs" .  Our Fund  Balance, he says, leaves us prepared, he hopes to avoid that .  OK - so if you  over tax early  and hold on to our money, then you won't have to tax us when a problem arises....? In Abington, as many as 12%  qualify for the school lunch program.  I'm not sure how many families overall are families struggling in these economic times among those in the community this Board member  serves, but personally I  believe that Abington residents would prefer to have had their taxes reduced early on, and increased only as serious, specified need arose.

What amount do we anticipate might be used for pension costs ? And what amount is stated by law, or by policy or other decree, if any, to be held as a buffer?  These are additional questions still to answer.

  

 


   SHARE OR  CORRECT  Please feel free to send your  information to us  and please be sure to  contact us 
                     About any information you believe to be incorrect.   Please verify info with your Township or School
                       authorities  before relying on
what you read here.  We do our best to get things right but  we may
                       misunderstand or miss a correction .......

   This site is a forum for information sharing and idea sharing.  Please feel free to  contact us .


 

 

  

 

 

 

BROKEN LINKS ALERT  

Abington Township recently completely revamped their website at the end of 2015 . All links directed to the old site were broken. We will be reinstating links as we find them and if the data is still available.  
Please  let us know if you find a broken link . Send us the name of the link and the page it is on , and if we can reinstate it, we will.

 


Disclaimer:

The information on this page or in this site may have unintentional inaccuracies, and also has opinions. It should not be relied upon as fact until investigated personally by the reader.  Please read our full  Disclaimer
and read our Policies page before using this site.
 All who find inaccuracies are asked to please contact us so we may correct them.