When the NPNP candidates made the decision to run for our School Board, we began doing our homework, because we all believe in the value of information. But what we discovered was a lack of transparency and fiscal responsibility that is plaguing our school district.
For 22 years, our community has been served by a board that seems to be so accepting of the status quo, that they have lost the will to look ahead and act in a proactive and strategic manner. This has led to a budget crisis that is about to have a big impact on our community. And a lack of transparency and communication means that this likely comes as a bit of surprise to much of the community.
Case in point, North Penn High School is overdue for large-scale renovations, including a new heating-ventilation and air conditioning system, electrical and plumbing upgrades, ceiling and carpet replacements, to cite just a few key elements of this project. The estimated cost, when the proposal was issued in 2014, was $92,285,591. As time passes, costs rise and the burden on the taxpayers grows.
We believe that the board has a responsibility to act in the best interest of the taxpayers. This is done by addressing projects such as this, in a timely manner, and with long-term strategic thinking. A few years ago, some of our elementary schools went through renovations. At the time, the district had an opportunity to install the necessary elements to prepare these schools for the addition of air conditioning. The board failed to consider the long-term savings and declined to add these elements. Now, as we are trying to address the rising temperatures in classrooms, we are faced with another round of costly renovations.
We also find it concerning that many of the district contractors and vendors, including the architect responsible for these-large scale projects, have made campaign contributions to our local Republican candidates, year over year. The men and women elected to serve our community should do so without these kinds of conflicts of interest. Decisions must be made based on what is best for our students and with a clear sense of responsibility to the taxpayers in our district, not special interests that donate money to help their preferred candidates win an election. This is the kind of behavior that fails to “ensure taxpayers get the best possible value from their investment in our community”.
We believe that North Penn deserves better. It is time for us to demand transparency and fiscal responsibility. We wholeheartedly appreciate the time and commitment that our opponents have shown, serving NPSD over the last 22 years. But there comes a time when new leadership, new ideas and a willingness to go against the status quo is necessary to make progress. On November 7th, we hope you vote for progress.