What I found at last night’s school board meeting is nothing that hasn’t been spoken about on other venues. When they talk about the budget taking shape over the next few months, they are saying that the actual budget and spending has already been decided and is fixed. What they are waiting for is final numbers… how much insurance costs will go up, final estimates on projects, and how much revenue will be coming in from Harrisburg.
I’m going to reiterate what I posted elsewhere, what I learned at the school board meeting is that it is even more imperative for people to speak out. The meeting began with School Board President, Lisa Bowman, stressing the need to create talking points, and ended with a statement about how powerful the teachers’ union is. The school board seems to believe that the Octorara School District provides such an exceptional education, that people will happily move to the area to pay excessively high taxes.
It seems very clear to me that the school board is out of touch with the people they are suppose to represent. They live in a world where living in Octorara is a discount, even with the excessively high taxes, because if they lived in West Chester or Exton they would have to pay for a much more expensive home. They don’t realize that for the average person in the district, it is not a choice between a $350,000 home in West Chester or a $235,000 home in Parkesburg, and paying extra in taxes is worth it. They don’t care that the per capita incomes and household incomes are lower here. It doesn’t even register.
They completely dismiss and refused to acknowledge that the average person in this area has a much lower income than the average person in Chester County overall, and that these taxes cause real pain. At the end of the day, their decisions have nothing to do with the actual community, or the working-class people who make up the majority. They were more interested in how we compared to school districts like West Chester and Tredyffrin, and unwilling to acknowledge that we are a rural community without the resources to compete with wealthier schools.
The board meeting seemed primarily focused on was them knowing that there was a petition, and finding ways to shut down opposition. We need more people signing the petitions, and more people filling the seats at board meeting.