Starting Down the Road to Octorara’s 2017 Election

Starting Down the Road to Octorara's 2017 Election

The Octorara Board of Directors held their Facilities and Policy Committee Meetings, and the Work Session Meeting on Monday, January 9, 2017. Only six of the nine members were in attendance. Brian Norris, Samuel Ganow, and William Kloss were absent. Additionally, Dr. Thomas Newcome, District Superintendant, was also absent.

This week’s meetings were probably the lightest since I have been on the Board. As a result, there is not much to report. The Policy Committee is working on the DIstrtic’s “Unlawful Harassment” policy. It is a work in progress, and changes are being made to consolidate some redundant language. Also, Facilities received updates on some ongoing projects. They also discussed the positive impact of having the 10-year Facilities Report and the possibility of creating a Long Range Plan as an additional tool.

The Work Session Meeting was also a bit short. What passed as a Budget Presentation was limited to a statement that there have been no changes since the last presentation. However, Mr. Curtis did report that the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials (PASBO) is recommending that districts not budget any revenue increase from state for 2017-2018. As you may be aware, Pennsylvania is suffering from a tax revenue shortfall, and there is no expectation that the state will have the money to spend more.

If Not You… ?

It is that time again. School Board elections are on the ballot in 2017. Moreover, as we have discussed, voters have the capacity to replace 6 of the 9 Board Members, radically altering the balance of the Octorara Area School Board and the direction of the School District. Those positions include 2 seats in each of the 3 regions. 

It is time to step up and take action. If you are tired of out of control taxes, it is time for you to run for the Octorara Area School Board. If you are tired of poor academic achievement and the lack of focus on education, it is time for you to run for the School Board. If you are tired of wasteful spending and programs that do not improve student performance, it is time for you to run for the School Board. If you are tired of the lack of transparency, it is time for you to run for the School Board. If you are tired of the Board’s finger pointing, whining, and lack of leadership, it is time for you to run for the School Board.

There are many important issues facing Octorara:

  • Academic Performance
  • Accountability
  • Reading & Literacy
  • Contracts
  • Transparency

While these are not the only issues facing our district, these have proven to be not only the most troublesome, but are those our Board seem to be unwilling to truly tackle. So, if you understand there needs to be greater transparency and accountability on matters including budget adoption, contracts, curriculum adoption, and fiscal planning and oversight, your community needs you. If you want to see policies that move us toward being a school district with greater responsiveness, citizen inclusion, transparency and fiscal responsibility, then your community needs you.

If you believe in higher expectations for all students, accountability at every stage of schooling, and attacking the bigotry of low expectations, our children need you. If you believe parents are the ultimate determiner of ethical and behavioral norms and traditions, holding teachers and administrators responsible for student performance, and Data-driven instruction, our parents need you. If you believe in encouraging Pennsylvania legislators to make changes that allow greater flexibility for schools to be innovative and creating a merit-based tenure system, our District needs you.

Are you ready to make a difference for your community and a positive impact on our children’s future? I am here to help you. Reach out to me through my contact page, and I will give you the information you need to get your name on the ballot and run for the Octorara Area School Board of Directors.

Important 2017 Dates

  • February 14 – First day to circulate and file nomination petitions
  • March 7 – Last day to circulate and file nomination petitions
  • March 8 – First day to circulate and file nomination papers.
  • March 22 – Last day for withdrawal by candidates who filed nomination petitions
  • April 17 – Last day to REGISTER before the primary
  • May 9 – Last day to apply for a civilian absentee ballot
  • May 12 – Last day for County Board of Elections to receive voted civilian absentee ballots
  • May 16 – MUNICIPAL PRIMARY
  • May 17 – First day to REGISTER after primary
  • May 23 – Last day for County Board of Elections to receive voted military and overseas absentee ballots
  • August 1 – Last day to circulate and file nomination papers
  • August 8 – Last day for withdrawal by candidates nominated by nomination papers
  • August 14 – Last day for withdrawal by candidates nominated at the primary
  • October 10 – Last day to REGISTER before the November election
  • October 31 – Last day to apply for a civilian absentee ballot
  • November 3 – Last day for County Boards of Elections to receive voted civilian absentee ballots
  • November 7 – MUNICIPAL ELECTION
  • November 8 – First day to REGISTER after November election
  • November 14 – Last day for County Board of Elections to receive voted military and overseas absentee ballots
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6 thoughts on “Starting Down the Road to Octorara’s 2017 Election

  1. Tim
    It is so disheartening to see you again highlighting negative feeling about the school district. One can presume you are trying to do harm to the school district in you actions and verbal comment about what is wrong with the Octorara School District. Why don’t you try to find ways to improve the problems in the district by offering solutions? One has to ask the question on your motives for you course of actions! Find solutions and work tot help the School District to become an excellent place for kids to learn and be successful. Be positive

    • It is nice to see you commenting again, Mr. Butch. However, as you know from our previous conversations, I have and continue to offer solutions to our District’s many problems… problems which you have repeatedly agreed do exist. I am now offering another solution. After 4 years, it is obvious that we can’t fix our problems with the same minds who created them. Therefore, the only way to create positive change is with the public voting out all those Board Members suffering from group-think. In a community with limited resources, we need a Board that puts academic achievement first with responsible budgets. We need to face the literacy problem at Octorara head on and worry less about aesthetics, special interests, and pet projects. The status quo of the last 15 or more years has not worked. It is time for a change… real change.

      • Well, Mr. Alexander, at least you are consistent in your comments and thoughts. Proceed with caution and whatever happens make sure you are providing the best education money can buy for the children of the school district. Good luck in getting 5 new board members to commit to serving in a thankless position. I will continue to monitor your site and comment where appropriate. Octorara is an awesome place to get an education as long as the students and parents take advantage of the programs available.

      • Mr. Butch, have you actually taken the time to look at Octorara’s School Performance Profile scores? Just at the Jr/Sr High School, the majority of the students failed to meet minimum standards for English, Math, and Science. The idea that Ocorara is providing a world-class education, and students and parents are just not taking advantage of the programs available, when the majority fail to meet minimum standards for achievement and growth, is ludicrous and baseless. Are you seriously suggesting that roughly 60% of our students and their families just don’t care about education? That is the sum of your whole argument? You are going to have a hard time convincing me of that. However, I am pretty sure several of the other Board members do agree with you, and that is one big reason why they need to go.

      • Tim
        Where do I find those school performance profile scores for the district ?
        Just a comment: test scores are not always the best indicator or educational success. We put way to much emphasis on them when if fact they are just one part of the whole picture

      • The PA School Performance Profile Scores can be found at http://paschoolperformance.org/

        You will notice that the overall building scores are not based solely on test scores, but multiple factors. Regardless, if you truly believe that test scores are not a good indicator of educational success, would you go to a hospital that employed nurses and medical staff that did not or could not pass the state licensing exam? I know this is a hypothetical, because it is illegal for a hospital to have unlicensed medical professionals. Nonetheless, testing is the only objective method of evaluating learning. A nursing school that consistently graduates students with a high percentage who can’t pass the state licensing exam will eventually get shut down. Are you willing to make the same argument about nursing students, and advocate abolishing state exams for professional licenses? No reasonable person would.

        In any event, if “test scores are not always the best indicator or educational success” that does not explain the large discrepancies between the different districts. It does not explain wy Pequea Valley HS scores 81.67 for Math/Algebra but Octorara scores only a 42.62. It doesn’t explain why every High School in Chester County met or exceeded minimum standards, except Octorara and Coatesville. It does not explain why Chester County’s median Building Level Academic Score score for High Schools is 89.9, but Octorara Area JSHS scored 27.9 points lower. The purpose for the School Performance Profile scores is to inform the public about the quality of their schools, and they do.

        The fact is, not one of Octorara’s schools met state minimum standards. Worse yet, our performance scores are moving downward, and we are competing with Coatesville for the title as the worst district in Chester County. There are opinions, and there are facts. And the facts show that our community is paying a high cost for very poor performance. Those who tell you otherwise are engaging in apologetics, excuse making, and scapegoating.

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