POTTSTOWN PA – Residents of the Pottsgrove townships – Lower, Upper and West – surrounding the borough of Pottstown, and the Pottsgrove School District as well, took their lumps Thursday night (Jan. 5, 2012) during a meeting of the Board of Education of the Pottstown School District, according to an article published Sunday (Jan. 8) by The (Pottstown PA) Mercury newspaper.
One board member reportedly characterized “people in Pottsgrove and Douglassville” as having done less than those in Pottstown in building and paying for what came to be Pottstown Memorial Medical Center (PMMC). And the board’s new president reportedly claimed Pottsgrove school officials displayed a “holier than thou” attitude regarding a repeated suggestion to merge the two districts.
Both comments arose during the Pottstown board’s discussion of the future of its five elementary school buildings, Mercury reporter Evan Brandt wrote in his top-of-the-front-page story.
- Read the article by Brandt, titled “Board delves into past, future of elementaries” and published Sunday by The Mercury, here.
Long-time Pottstown board member Robert Hartman Jr. at one point during the meeting, Brandt wrote, proposed that construction of a pool on Morris Street property now occupied by the Edgewood Elementary School should be paid for by the Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation. The foundation’s asset base came from the July 2003 multi-million dollar sale of formerly non-profit PMMC to for-profit Community Health Systems of Tennessee.
“If you look in the plaque at that hospital, you will see it was built and paid for by Pottstown people, not people in Pottsgrove and Douglassville,” Hartman was quoted as saying. He seemed to be “suggesting Pottstown deserves a larger share of the foundation’s funds,” the article said.
The story did not mention if Hartman was aware of the large numbers of Lower Pottsgrove, Upper Pottsgrove and West Pottsgrove residents who, over several decades, contributed to or helped raise funds for the medical center’s construction and programs; who continued to support the hospital (and now the foundation too) financially through its auxiliary organizations; or who worked as PMMC employees now or in the past.
The board’s earlier approaches to the Pottsgrove district about the possibility of a merger between it and Pottstown apparently also were a topic of conversation Thursday.
It was Hartman who, in February 2009 as the Pottstown district’s president, contacted Pottsgrove to explore the suggestion following public comments by former Gov. Edward Rendell. Pottsgrove declined to talk about merging, saying in part the idea was premature.
When the subject of such a consolidation arose again last week in the context of Pottstown elementary building use, Brandt wrote, it “was met with a certain skepticism.”
“The last time we talked to Pottsgrove, they had a little bit of a holier-than-thou” attitude, newly elected Pottstown president Judy Zahora was quoted as saying. She reportedly asked Pottstown Superintendent Dr. Reed Lindley to “see if you can get someone to answer the phone,” at Pottsgrove.
“They always answer the phone,” Lindley was said to have replied.
Presumably, Lindley’s potential conversation with Pottsgrove Superintendent Dr. Bradley Landis will be a discussion item among Pottsgrove board members sometime in the future.
Mercury image from The Newseum; school board photo from the Pottstown School District