June 18, 2018 – School Board Meeting
To recap, the budget has failed to pass the School Board twice—once on April 16th and again on May 21st. Tonight was the 3rd vote.
The School board voted tonight to approve the school budget. Initially, everything but section H passed–H being materials Dr. Riker insists he needs for security.
|HS Stadium & MS Field & Track Cameras||$105,533|
|Additional Cameras in all Buildings||$ 20,000|
|Camera Software Upgrade||$ 6,700|
|HS Auditorium Sound System||$ 42,000|
|HS Gym Sound System||$ 27,400|
|HS Stadium Speakers||$ 8,000|
|HS Café Sound System||$ 13,500|
|Exterior Wireless – All Buildings||$ 61,600|
|Swipe Card Database Upgrade||$ 2,800|
|Portable Radios – All Buildings||$ 56,000|
|Police Vehicles||$ 45,000|
|K-8 Café/Gym/Auditorium Sound Systems||$300,000|
|HS Paging System||$200,000|
Glaros Y, no on H
Roberts Y, no to H
Vasko Y, no to H
Kalinosky Y, no to H
Stubits, Y, no to E,F and H
Mammana – Absent
The Budget passed, H failed 5 to 3
Yes, I know what you’re thinking and no, a backhoe wouldn’t be my idea of a needed security item either. Now, let’s talk about the fight.
Following the vote, Superintendent Riker asked for direction concerning the H items. He addressed last week’s discussion concerning hiring additional personnel. Personnel is a permanent expense while all the ‘security’ items were one time expenditures although Glaros pointed out that all machinery requires maintenance.
Butz pushed for hiring an additional two police officers and the police cars. Kalinosky wanted metal detectors as a first line of defense. McGlynn wanted to vote to reinstate the swipe card access because it only cost $2,800. Vasko wanted to know in which schools the police officers were going to be stationed. Riker said, with police officers, he needed police cars with lights or sirens because personal vehicles can get stuck in traffic. (No one pointed out the obvious – regular police can be summoned to a school building in an emergency.) Stubits pointed out that the officers haven’t officially been hired yet—their positions have just been approved. (The budget included money for 2 police officers which brings the total number to 4). Riker scolded the board for voting against the new equipment because, without expanding exterior wireless access, the Navigate system won’t work. Teachers standing in dead spots won’t be able to get critical safety information and students will be in danger.
The board is clearly uncomfortable with each other. Linda Stubits expressed resentment about these items coming up at the last minute. She said the district should have begun developing a comprehensive safety plan last September instead of springing it on the board at the last minute. Riker got angry at this, accused her of insulting him and said he had been developing a safety plan all year long with his school administrators. Kenneth Butz accused Stubits of caring nothing about the safety of the students. Twenty minutes later Stubits asked for a written copy of the comprehensive safety plan and Riker said there wasn’t one. (Editor’s Note: I attend 90% of the School board meetings and the first time I heard about safety equipment was June 11th) Riker continue to ramp up the fear mongering making it clear that, should anything bad happen, the school board would be held responsible. When Roberts asked if the same security for day time events was going to be applied to night time events, Riker had to admit it wouldn’t. The chaos was so out of control at one point there were 3 motions on the floor with the solicitor doing an impression of a rock who’d never even heard of Robert’s Rules of Order.
Correction: I initally identified the solicitor at the June 18th board meeting as Gary Brienza. Mr. Brienza did not attend this meeting, James Zulick attended in his place behind Mr. Brienza’s nameplate. I apologize for the error.
A re-vote was taken on Item H and passed 6 to 2 with Stubits and Glaros voting no. But hey, the school district owns a $111,000 backhoe now along with all its requisite maintenance costs.
Construction and repairs this summer include relocating the power cables and adding storm drainage under the Baseball field; roof drains and a new roof on the High school, new roof and classroom HVAC units in Butz Elementary along with new carpets and paint. Room 381 in the high school will have its floor resurfaced and a water heater replacement.
Items IV, VII & IX passed. A link to the agenda and minutes can be found here: https://www.nazarethasd.k12.pa.us/Page/1024
Becky Bartlett covers these meetings because citizens have a right to know what their government is doing.