New 3-Region Voting Plan Passed by WC Area School Board

Chester County School BusDespite some conservative opposition, a new 3-region voting plan passed tonight by the West Chester Area School Board (WCASB). With one director absent, the final vote is 6-2 in favor of the map below.

The Borough of West Chester (purple) is in the new Region 1, along with most of West Goshen. If approved by our courts, our local voters will have greater input in selecting board directors who represent us.

No longer will just a few municipalities —or one party— control school board elections. More importantly, communication between board directors and their constituents becomes closer and directors become more responsive to residents.

Although not a Democratic Party initiative, we think this is a progressive step by our current board directors. Join us in giving them our thanks by contacting the Board.

New West Chester Area School District Regional Map (click map to enlarge)

New West Chester Area School District Regional Map (click map to enlarge)

West Chester picks new school board member

By Kendal Gapinski, Daily Local News, 6/17/14

WEST GOSHEN — The West Chester Area School Board voted unanimously Monday night to fill its vacant seat with longtime school district resident and previous school board hopeful Gary Bevilacqua.

Bevilacqua will fill the seat of Linda Raileanu, who resigned at last month’s school board meeting because she had to move out of state for a new job.

After formally accepting Raileanu’s resignation on May 28, the board legally had 30 days to fill the vacant seat.

Bevilacqua was interviewed along with three other candidates — Dianne Herrin, Kate Shaw and Cinda Russell-Reese — Monday night during a special school board meeting at Spellman Administration Building, 829 Paoli Pike.

“I was impressed with everyone,” board member Robin Kaliner said. “While very different, everybody brought something that would be valuable to the board.”

The candidates were each asked eight questions, which were provided to them ahead of time to review and prepare, and were given 20 minutes to answer the questions. Questions included why they wanted to be on the board, what they felt its priorities should be, their knowledge of the budget and state mandates, as well as whether they had children in the district and how many school board meetings they had attended….

read more at Daily Local News

West Chester school board begins interview process

by Jeremy Gerrard, Daily Local News, 12/10/13

WEST GOSHEN — The selection process for filling the empty seat on the West Chester Area School Board took a step forward at a special meeting Monday as the board began the interview process.

The board was left short one member in early November after Karen Miller submitted a resignation letter citing an immediate exit from the board for personal reasons.

After formally accepting the resignation in November, applications were made available through the district.

At the close of the application acceptance date, the district had received materials from 11 candidates. Board President Rick Swalm announced at Monday’s meeting that two candidates have since removed themselves from consideration.

On Monday, the district interviewed its first seven candidates.

Monday’s interviews included George Martynick Jr., Deborah Liczwek, Gary Bevilacqua, Nancy Bucceri, Jim Meikle, Jim Davison and James Bady.

Candidates were questioned on their intentions, familiarity with budgets and prioritizing with all the mandates facing education. Other questions included whether they had children in the district and if they attended any previous board meetings.

Finally, candidates were asked for their opinions on the ongoing teacher contract negotiations, redistricting and managing a budget within the Act 1 index. …

read more at Daily Local News

Support Better Direction for West Chester at Iron Hill 10/28

Elect ABD teamBetter Direction for West Chester (the bipartisan pro-education team running for West Chester Area School board) invites you to attend two events where it receives 20% of the cost of food purchased.

GIVE %20 …means dine with us on Monday October 28, 2013, and Iron Hill will donate 20% of your food bill (excluding alcoholic beverages or tax) to Better Direction for West Chester. Thank you for your support.

IRON HILL BREWERY & RESTAURANT
3 WEST GAY STREET WEST CHESTER, PA 19380 610 738.9600 WWW.1RONH1LLBREWERY.COM

Coupon required! Download and print up (4 coupons per sheet; bring friends): 10-28-13-Give20-WC.pdf

(You must bring coupon with you, can’t receive on the premises.)

Thoughts on Why We Must Change the WCASD Board Now

by a local Democrat

The Republic party, which has controlled the board since the Civil War, will say:

“Why would we need to replace any members of the school board? Our test scores are up. Our budget is down. This group must be doing a good job.”

However:

The Board is still in a protracted, expensive, and unpleasant negotiation with the district’s teachers. As months and years go by and a contract is not settled, the working relationship between teachers and administrators and Board deteriorates. There are questions to be asked:

What is the source of the inability for the two sides to work effectively toward a settlement?

Why has a prominent local Republican leader discussed the contract with a local Tea Party leader and with board negotiating team members?

Why are board members consulting with former board members regarding confidential matters?

Why have three top level administrators left the district recently?

Does our school board–with eight Republicans, one Democrat, and no Independent members–represent all the voices in our community?

The school boards of Pennsylvania are created by state legislators, but local school boards represent and tax their local communities. When the policies and laws passed by the state legislators are hurting public education, one of the duties of the local boards is to try to work with or at least inform their legislators of the effect of those policies and laws on our greatest resource – our students.

Each board has a legislative liaison. That person should be contacting our district’s state senator and representative at least monthly to get information from Harrisburg and letting those elected officials know the state of public education in our community. The WCASD board is not doing that.

A local school board should have school board directors who are connected to public education. Who believe in it and support its goals. Who support its administrators and teachers. Who respect the superintendent and work with him to provide a great education at a reasonable cost.

Every district in PA faces similar challenges. Wise boards do not blame their teachers for the PSERS funding pension crisis. Wise board members spend time learning how a school and a district work. It is complicated and time-consuming public service. It takes dedication and time to prepare for several meetings a month and exercise the responsibility to spend the public’s money effectively. Our children deserve no less.

What do the recent benchmarks really tell us about local property values & education in West Chester?

from Better Direction for West Chester

Recent high school rankings and school district data show favorable results on the surface. While it’s nice to be ranked well in the state or nation, it is much more important how we are viewed and ranked locally. Unfortunately, upon closer examination and comparison to neighboring school districts, the results underscore an opportunity for improvement. …

keep reading at Better Direction for West Chester