Letter to the Editor 4/29/2014
Points to consider
To the residents of Towanda Area School District:
To any one who has read the account of the last (April 22) Towanda School Board meeting on Friday (April 25) page A5 of the Daily Review. If you have read the whole thing, you probably recognize there is some friction with the superintendent about when and why we negotiated between teacher and support staff and how much we now offer to administrators.Keith Lamphere and I have consistently thought that some administrators receive too much at the expense of others. Mr. Gobble is aware of this, but he still insists that those who administrate should make more, even in bad financial times when we'll probably have to increase taxes to afford to pay for these raises and their already large based salaries and fringes.
Keith and I will continue to vote against what we feel are excessive.We ask that you call other board members and ask them to vote NO sometimes and think of those who have other priorities than taxes.
In addition to this note of introduction, we would like you to consider this letter given to Mr. Gobble and the Towanda School Board by Mr. Lamphere before they took the vote to increase these contracts. It should be noted that this letter was ignored and no discussion was had about spending many thousands of your and our money. A copy of that letter from April 22, follows:
April 22, 2014
When Mr. Gobble presented his proposal to change the scale for some of the Act 93 administrators and other staff, we were glad he wanted to add to those on the lower scale and maybe give less to those on the upper scale. We thought this was interesting and unusual and maybe the general way to proceed with money we take in from several sources.
We studied this for several weeks in the hope we could agree or maybe see a way it could be done without spending more money. We thought if less money could be spent on one end, than the other end would have more to share. We think that many taxpayers, many others who share Act 93 scales, some administrators and hopefully a majority of board members would agree. If those at the top would take none, than those at the bottom could take more and we could split the difference, with no more spent in total.
We finally decided this wouldn't be agreeable so we gave up. However, we were glad it was voiced and at a better time it could be revisited. Thank you Mr. Gobble! We think at a better financial time it might be appropriate.
Presently, however, we still think it's time to cap a lot of base salaries we're considering for our votes We think the "sky's the limit" should be dumped and rethought. Some seem to think you and others can spend our way out of debt. We don 't think it will work and we'll only go further in the hole.
With our present debt of $300,000+ on this day, we don't understand why you and others would think of adding to salaries which will shortly include teachers, fringes, and pensions. Some things to consider:
1. Should we think about the high school principal and the assistant principal as to how much money is needed to do this job?
2. Should we evaluate the elementary principal and the area of curriculum coordinator responsibility as to some grades and the financial splitting of money to pay for each of their services?
3. Should we talk of eliminating rather than adding to Act 93 list and administrators' jobs?
We would rather keep essential people in place by retaining those who are necessary or replacing those who retire with those who can do the job and make their money. We're tired of seeing programs weakened, or sacked by others with higher salaries who must be retained for their higher salaries and raises that seems to distract from good financial management.
Regardless of our feelings, we ask that you respect our point of view just as we respect yours. After all, we as well as you are just arguing the best way of spending our always inadequate source of money.
At some meetings we have had it seems we are not respected and our words come from a lessor God. Please let it be known we also spend much time and thought as to what we feel is an alternative course of action!
Last year the cost of living was 1.5% in the area and its predicted to be less this year. We also believe that some on the board should also think a little more about some of our taxpayers who struggle with low paying jobs and really have to worry about food and their bills to bring up and nurture their families and kids.
We think it is past time for our board to meet and really face the facts without egos and cross examinations.
Signed, Keith Lamphere and Bob Hettich.