POTTSTOWN PA – A memo delivered last week by Pottsgrove School District Business Administrator David Nester to the district Board of School Directors was simply labeled “Ringing Rocks Discussion.” What it contained, however, was actually a series of discussion-starters, questions board members say they want to air publicly, and which they expect may take months to answer.
Nester’s memo, dated Dec. 2 (2008) and distributed to the board during its meeting that night at Pottsgrove High School, consists only of eight questions. Its intent: to help district officials understand how the admittedly divided board would like to proceed, or not, on the question of proposed multi-million dollar renovations or reconstruction of the aging Ringing Rocks Elementary School, 1401 Kauffman Rd.
- Does the board agree that the Ringing Rocks … building requires a renovation?
- If so, when would the board like to see the project be completed?
- Does the board support program equity among our elementary schools?
- Would the board be willing to sacrifice one of the playground areas at (Ringing) for an addition?
- Does the board support the concept of providing four classrooms per grade level at (Ringing) in order to provide room for full-day kindergarten and growth possibilities?
- Does the board support the relocation of a portion of the (district offices) to (Ringing) to reduce crowding at (the offices)?
- Does the board have a financial threshold (it) would like to stay below?
- What information does the board need in order to commit to a project?
All represented good places to begin, board members generally agreed. Their answers, Nester said during the meeting, “would help to set some broad parameters on what the broad is looking to accomplish” in district capital improvements during coming years.
But directors also urged Nester and district Superintendent Dr. Bradley Landis to expand the list to cover related topics, and they asked Landis to give the list broader distribution to the public. They made it clear, too, that opinions vary widely among themselves over how much they are willing to spend on improving Rocks, as the school is nicknamed, and when.
“I wonder if we’re really posing these questions to the appropriate audience,” board President Michael Neiffer told his colleagues. Board Treasurer Fred Remelius concurred. “We need some feedback,” he said, “on what the community’s willing to stomach.”