POTTSTOWN PA – Recent jottings from a reporter’s notebook:
How 180 Minutes Equals Only 14 Words
The Jan. 10 (2012) meeting of the Pottsgrove Board of School Directors has been described as a raucous affair, one at which cooler heads ultimately did not prevail. There was plenty of shouting as its public discussion of Pottsgrove School District plans for redistricting grew testy after more than three hours. Accusations flew back and forth. Board President Michael Neiffer closed the session abruptly.
None of that controversy is reflected in the board’s proposed and still unofficial minutes of its meeting, which were distributed Friday by the district via e-mail and can be found here.
The minutes, which may be approved Tuesday (Jan. 24) when the board next meets in the auditorium at Pottsgrove High School, Kauffman Road, Pottstown, are succinct. They contain only two sentences, with a total of 14 words, about the evening’s arguments:
- “Re-districting options were discussed;” and
- “Several parents spoke in reaction to the Redistricting Committee findings.”
Such brevity shouldn’t surprise those who follow Robert’s Rules of Order.
You remember Robert’s Rules? It’s the the stuff of high school civics and history lessons: a de facto guide to conducting public meetings, first written in 1896 by Gen. Henry M. Robert and revised many times since.
Robert’s Rules is very specific in commenting on commentary within board minutes. “Not only is it not necessary to summarize matters discussed at a meeting in the minutes of that meeting, it is improper to do so,” it says. “Minutes are a record of what was done at a meeting, not a record of what was said.”
Tuesday’s board gathering, by the way, will continue the discussion of two weeks earlier.
Bringing Out The Heavy Hitters
Depending on who you asked following the Jan. 10 Pottsgrove meeting, the district administration either “held its own” in making a case for the use of elementary grade-level education centers in its re-districting plans, or – and this is being polite – it didn’t.
Many audience members during that session publicly criticized Director of Education and Assessment Todd Davies’ presentation of the district’s reasoning, but a veteran board member observed that was akin to shooting the messenger.
Rest assured, the director noted, Superintendent Dr. Bradley Landis and others scrutinized and approved every word and slide of the show before its delivery. Davies, the director contended, was merely the night’s target-du-jour for public wrath.
It will be Landis himself, and Assistant Superintendent Shellie Feola, who take Davies’ place as presenters during Tuesday’s (Jan. 24) follow-up meeting, according to an advance copy of the board agenda. It’s available for download from the district website, here. Time is budgeted for public reaction and comment following their remarks.
A Spring City Blogger Makes A Difference
Congratulations to Spring City PA blogger Jo-Lynne Shane, who last Wednesday (Jan. 18) excitedly proclaimed on Twitter that “$1,102 worth of food was just delivered 2 The Cluster Food Pantry in Pottstown … WOOT!!!”
What her Tweet didn’t mention was the role she played in that delivery.
Shane publishes “Musings of a Housewife,” in which she describes herself as a suburban Philadelphia mother of three who also is “a talker, a writer, and a collector of people.” Her blog covers “faith, family, food and fashion, and anything else that strikes my fancy,” she says. “Musings” is more than just a part-time fling; it’s a business. She also writes professionally for major companies like Udi’s Gluten Free Foods and Boston Market.
Shane reported she’s been impressed with the outreach center efforts of the Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities. Between Nov. 22 and Dec. 20 (2011) she established an online food drive for the Cluster at YouGiveGoods.com, a website created to help free food pantries across the country. Then it was simply a matter of asking her readers to contribute, if they were willing and able.
A truck with food purchased for the Cluster with the money donated by Musing’s followers arrived a little later and a little lighter than Shane hoped. Her goal was $3,000, with purchased food delivered before the holidays. No matter. “It is indeed a blessing to be able to help.,” she told one reader in a thank-you note.
Editor’s note: Notebook Worthy is a series of occasional articles; find others like it, here.
Related (to Pottsgrove School District redistricting):
- Notebook Worthy: Pottsgrove, The Master Of Brevity
- Pottsgrove’s Case For Ed Centers: A Nutshell View
- In ‘Horse Race’ Of Opinions, Pottsgrove Serves As Track
- ‘Grove Residents Want Proof Ed Centers Will Succeed
- ‘The Blues’ May Await Pottsgrove’s School Board Tonight
- Both Sides In Pottsgrove Redistricting Head To Facebook
- Pottsgrove Crowd Vocal In Opposing Educational Centers
- Advocate: Pottsgrove Centers ‘Best Access’ To Resources
- Debate Over Pottsgrove Redistricting Gets Started Tuesday
- No Matter What Plan Pottsgrove Adopts, Buses Ready
- Redistricting Info ‘Slanted,’ Pottsgrove Volunteers Charge
- Pottsgrove Redistrict Discussions Quietly Move Ahead
- In Pottsgrove, Redistricting Study Work Gets Started
- Pottsgrove Sets Dates For Redistrict Committee Work
- As Expected, Interest A’Plenty In Pottsgrove Redistricting
- Landis Calls For Pottsgrove Redistricting Volunteers
- Touchy Pottsgrove Redistricting Now Being Considered
Photos from Amazon.com, and the Musings Of A Housewife blog