Bill Adolph Tribute

Bill Adolph TributeBill Adolph Tribute –Bill Adolph has announced that he will not seek re-election which will mean that come 2017 the 165th District in the Pennsylvania State House will have a new face for the first time since 1989.

The 165 District consists of all of Morton Borough, most of Springfield and Marple Townships and a large part of Radnor. Specifics can be found here.

Since this blog came into existence, we’ve probably been harder on Bill more often than not — actually we have been seriously hard on him at times — but we will never deny he cares deeply about his community. A Springfield resident, he has lived in the same house off Springfield Road for as long as we can remember, and the same can be said about his accountant’s office on Saxer Avenue. He was easy to find and easy to approach and if he wanted to hold the seat for another 28 years we  suspect he’d have no problem doing so.

And he’s done a lot of good things too, most recently doing yeoman’s work in keeping Gov. Wolf from dumping a brutally crushing new tax burden on his constituents.

So Godspeed Bill. Hopefully you stay in Springfield and stay active on the political scene.

Now, regarding those who seek to replace him regardless of party registration, we have your issue.

The (non-partisan) Springfield School Board has approved a new high school with an estimated cost of between $118 million and $140 million. The Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage Act of 1961 requires wages to be paid at an amount set by the Bureau of Labor Law Compliance. This law inflates the cost by perhaps up to 40 percent albeit 20 percent seems to be the consensus. Using the lowball estimates, simply repealing the law — and it doesn’t have to be replaced with anything — would save the Springfield taxpayers $23.6 million on this project alone.

And of course, other communities would save in the same proportions for all county, school and municipal projects.

Repeal should really be a no-brainer.

And so there you have a winning issue, candidates for the 165th District.

Bill Adolph Tribute

Wolf Launches Stealth Attack Against Adolph

Wolf Launches Stealth Attack Against Adolph
State Rep. Bill Adolph

A flyer has been mailed to homes in Pennsylvania’s 165th Legislative District accusing its representative,  Bill Adolph, of all sorts of vile things like keeping $183,650 i.e. chump change from the Marple Newtown School District and keeping $268,807 from the Springfield School District.

Yes it is chump change.  The Marple Newtown money would not  cover the cost for a year of some Delaware County public school superintendent pensions. And the Springfield money could only keep former Penn State Vice President Gary Schultz living in the style to which he has become accustomed through  late September.

Wolf Launches Stealth Attack Against Adolph
Gov Tom Wolf, trying not to get his hands dirty

The flyer  was produced by America Works USA which is a non-profit group that works in the shadows of the Democratic Governors Association to keep the fingerprints of people like Tom Wolf off the dirty deeds.

Gov. Wolf is trying to pressure Rep. Adolph to help him in his plan to put a crushing tax burden on the gas drillers responsible for whatever economic sunshine that has come Pennsylvania’s way over the last seven years.

All, of course, without recognizing that the state has a major spending problem, not a revenue one. Pennsylvania already taxes the drillers 2.7 percent — on top of salaries, sales and the other usual economic activity that occurs during production. Increasing the taxes will either mean more cost passed onto the consumer — how much was your electric bill last month? — or curtailing production.

Adolph is working hard to fix the pension crisis and recognizes the burden Wolf’s tax plan will place on the citizens of his district. He needs their support.

Addendum: The $268,807 Adolph allegedly kept from the Springfield School District would not be a blip on the radar concerning lessening the impact of   the recently approved $140 million new Springfield High School. On the other hand, repealing the state’s prevailing wage law could see a 20-percent cost drop i.e. $28 million i.e. not chump change  in the price. If you are inclined to contact Adolph about something contact him about that. You would actually see your standard of living improve — or at least not drop so much — if that law was gone.

Note the matter of the Springfield High School now goes to the township for approval of construction. Springfield School Director Bruce Lord said at the final Town Hall, March 19, the process of construction will take years not months.

Wolf Launches Stealth Attack Against Adolph

Springfield Cyber School?

Springfield Cyber School? Springfield Town Hall 3-19-15
Some of those in attendance who exhorted the Springfield School District to keep their taxes low.

About 130 attended tonight’s (March 19)  final town hall concerning the fate of Springfield High School. The event was held in the high school auditorium.

Four proposals are on the table: maintain the existing school on Leamy Avenue for an estimated cost of $100.39 million; build a new one behind Saint Francis Church on Saxer Avenue for $131 million; renovate the existing school for $133.8 million; and build a school on Leamy Avenue alongside the existing one for $136.4 million.

The crowd seemed overwhelming in favor of the least expensive route. We counted 19 audience comments that either supported the “maintenance plan” or were an exhortation not to raise taxes — including one fellow who suggested a cyber school. Well, that would be less than $136.4 million.

Four persons spoke in favor of a new school  and five asked generally neutral questions.

The number and passion were on the side of the low taxes.

“If one person was forced out of home, how could you sleep at night,” one man told the school district’s representatives — school directors Chris DeSantis and Bruce Lord, and Donald Mooney, the district’s  Director of Operations.

Another said that 30 percent of Springfield is over the age of 60. Another expressed skepticism of the district’s figures claiming that recent renovations of Haverford and Marple Newtown high schools were less than two-thirds that of what is being estimated for maintenance of  SHS.

More than one person expressed fear of being forced from his or her home because of taxes.

Bruce Lord presented a timeline of what comes next to start the meeting. He said the board and facilities will meet; the committee will present the Town Hall findings to the board, and then the board will begin project implementation. which means the board begins discussions with the township, which must approve all construction, then get a building designed then submit bids for construction. He said the process will take years, not months.

Mooney squelched a few rumors flying around the community. He said the district is not going to acquire the Saint Francis property and that there will be no teacher layoffs to help fund the school.

Springfield Cyber School?


Final SHS Town Hall Meeting

The Final Town Hall Meeting on the Springfield High School Master Plan is 7 p.m., tomorrow,, March 19,  in the Springfield High School Auditorium, 49 W. Leamy Ave., Springfield, PA 19064, reports Regina Scheerer. Final SHS Town Hall Meeting

The meeting i will include a summary of the proposed plans with a comment/question session. It  will be broadcast live on Ch. 8 Comcast and Ch. 29 Fios.

One can review all slides and presentations from all the town hall meetings at and click on SHS Master Plan.

Final SHS Town Hall Meeting is tomorrow, March 19, in the Springfield High School Auditorium, 49 W. Leamy Ave.

Springfield High School Project Funding

Here’s a thought about funding the proposed Springfield High School project regardless of the option picked: treat it holistically.  Springfield High School Project Funding

Consider other savings in the school budget to be part of funding for the new (or repaired) school.

Ending the prevailing wage mandate would cost the district nothing and still save money. School Director Doug Carney, Feb. 4, said he did not feel the savings would be that much concerning the high school project. Suppose, however, it was just a mere $100,000. Or even $10,000. One suspects if the district could get $100,000 (or $10,000) for naming rights to a classroom — one of the out-of-the-box suggestions being considered for funding — the district would be very happy.

One is pretty confident that if the proposed money-raising foundation got a $10,000 donation, the district would be happy.

And that’s not even considering savings in other projects — school, municipal or county — ending the prevailing wage mandate would garner. All tax dollars at all levels ultimately come from the same source, after all, whether it be via a purchase, a property or a paycheck.

So a strong public push to end this mandate would be perfectly logical in the context of building the high school project.

For what it’s worth, Commonwealth Foundation pegs the cost of the prevailing wage mandate at 20 percent for public projects.

Let’s consider the mandate for school districts (and counties and townships) to pay for advertisements in newspapers of general circulation when announcing meetings and seeking bids and such. The cost statewide was $26 million in 2006. This is just a straw on the back of the Springfield taxpayer but one less straw is one less straw.

It would cost nothing for the school board — and the township commissioners and County Council — to pass a resolution calling for its end.

The most damning thing about this mandate is that it actually inhibits good government. Changing the mandate to one where public notices are placed on a searchable government website would make the process far more transparent than the status quo besides being a lot cheaper.

And then let’s get the teachers involved in the matter. Would they be willing to forgo a salary increase in their next contract to help pay for the project? If a resident surviving on Social Security or who has just seen his unemployment expire asks them to, does that mean the resident is anti-child?

Just a thought.

Springfield High School Project Funding

5th Springfield High Town Hall Draws 300

About 300 persons sprawled throughout the Springfield High School (Pa.) auditorium for tonight’s (Feb. 4) fifth meeting  concerning the fate of the school. Springfield High School 5th Springfield High Town Hall Draws 300

Being debated are four expensive options ranging from building a new school near Leamy Avenue, estimated cost $136.4 million; renovating the existing 60-something-year-old structure on Leamy Avenue, estimated cost $133.8 million; building a new school near Saxer Avenue, estimated cost, $131.05 million and doing basic maintenance on the existing structure $100.39 million.

Judging by the questions and applause, the crowd seemed evenly split between the Saxer Avenue option and the bare minimum (or less) one with maybe a slight skewing towards the latter.

Architect and volunteer Gary Lockman said the simple maintenance cost was so high because the school’s HVAC and electrical systems were at the end of their life cycle. He said it would cost $20 million just to upgrade those systems. He further said the asbestos roof deck needs to be replaced. He noted that this type of roof deck is rather rare significantly hiking the cost of its removal. He said the district investigated cheaper solutions without success and that the asbestos was impossible to encapsulate.

He also said it made no economic sense to renovate the building. Unlike the simple maintenance plan, the renovation plan would include upgrades rather than mere replacements.

Another factor in the expense was the labor cost in southeastern Pennsylvania. A slide was shown illustrating that labor costs were 47 percent less in Berwick and 29 percent less in Pittsburgh.

Don Mooney, the district’s executive director of operations,  said the project would be financed with new 20 to 25 year amortization bonds that would wrap around existing bonds scheduled to be paid off in 2025.

He said the owner of a home assessed at the district’s median of $146,050 would pay $250 a year for the simple maintenance plan when the full cost kicks in nine years after the project starts and $399 per year for the Saxer Avenue plan.

One women in the question segment, however, asked if the school district could guarantee that the tax bite would not be greater than what they were claiming, and the district’s representatives were unable to do so.

School Director Douglas E. Carney, who is the driving force behind the town halls, said the school board has been lobbying legislators to repeal the state prevailing wage law, which artificially inflates costs of projects. He said, however, he didn’t think getting rid of it would make much difference in the Springfield High School project due to the project’s scope

For the slide show displayed at the 5th Springfield High Town Hall go here.

5th Springfield High Town Hall Draws 300

300 Attend 5th Springfield High Town Hall

5th Springfield High Town Hall was Feb. 4, 2015

Springfield Master Plan 5th Meeting

The fifth of six Springfield High School Master Plan Meetings is 7 p.m., tomorrow, Feb. 4, at  the Springfield High School Auditorium, 49 W. Leamy Ave., Springfield Pa. 19046, reports Reginia Scheerer. Springfield Master Plan

The meeting will be televised live on Ch. 8 Comcast and Ch. 29 Fios.

The agenda will cover “Costs and Financing Strategy”.

There will be a 45 minute presentation by the Committee, then a 45 minute comment/question and answer session.

Springfield Master Plan 5th Meeting

Philly Charter School Beats Springfield

The Pennsylvania Department of Education has launched giving residents greater access to the balance sheets of Pennsylvania’s schools, says State Rep. Jim Cox (R-129).

He says the website shows school spending by district, including total revenue, total expenditures, per-pupil expenditures and average staff salaries, albeit we could not find the average staff salaries and we had to figure out the per-pupil expenditures ourselves.

The website also tracks charter and cyber charter schools, and comprehensive career and technology centers, Cox says.

And it includes academic performance.

We decided to have some fun with it comparing Philadelphia Academy Charter School with the Springfield School District  in Delaware County.

Philadelphia Academy spends $9.475 million on instruction for 1,180 pupils which is $8,029 per pupil.

Springfield spends $34,054,290 for 3,907 pupils or $8,716 per pupil.

The extra $687 per pupil — which translates to $2,684,109 per year to the taxpayer — isn’t something to sneeze at but if it means more engineers and doctors and a cure for cancer who will object, right?

Some cynic here might chime in and and ask what if it doesn’t, well, we’ll get to that.

Philadelphia Academy’s total spending is $15,598,815 or $13,219 per pupil.

Springfield’s is $59,441,901 or $15,214 per pupil.

Philly Charter School Beats Springfield High SchoolThat’s $1,995 more per pupil which adds up to $7,794,465 per year to the taxpayer. While salaries to attract great teachers might be justifiable, one can see where the extra money for non-instructional use and support might make someone laid off or living on a fixed income feel a mite resentful.

But if a cure for cancer is coming, it is worth it, right?

Which gets us to the academics.

We should note here that 33 percent of Philadelphia Academy’s pupil population is “economically disadvantaged” with 20.76 percent in special education compared to 14.5 percent “economically disadvantaged” with 15.87 percent in special education for Springfield.

The school performance of Philadelphia Academy is higher than Springfield High School for mathematics/algebra (84.22 percent proficient or advanced on PSSA to 75.27) and science/biology (68.71 percent to 42.96) although SHS wins on reading/literature (87.36 percent to 77.28)

Regarding elementary education specifically, at least with regard to reading, Springfield wins with 89.7 percent of Scenic Hills pupils and 83.65 percent of Sabold’s pupils being  proficient or advanced on reading as per the PSSA while  Philadelphia Academy’s score was 80.6 percent.

We kind of think the great engineers and doctors and the cure for cancer are more likely to come out of Philadelphia Academy.

Really Springfield, a 42.96 percent proficiency in science/biology?

Hey, let’s build a $144 million Taj Mahal. That’ll fix it.

Philly Charter School Beats Springfield

Philly Charter School Beats Springfield
As per a Philly charter school beats Springfield public school district.

Yes, a Philly charter school beats a highly regarded suburban school district on several metrics.

And Philly charter school Philadelphia Academy Beats Springfield

Springfield GOP High School Position

The big news at tonight’s (Jan. 21) meeting of the Springfield (Pa.) Republican Party was that the party was not going to take a position on rebuilding or renovating the high school, the price tag for which ranges between $110 million and $144 million.

Chairman Mike Puppio noted that school board matters have been decidedly non-partisan since 1991. He told committee persons to direct all complaints and inquiries on the matter to the appropriate school board member.

He said that while the school board has been having town halls on the subject, no plan has been submitted to either the township zoning hearing board or the commissioners, and the state Sunshine Law prohibits either body from commenting on the matter unless it is in the proper venue.

He said the issue is starting to bubble up and he expects it divide the community as those on both sides have much passion. He said that what the school board wants is not a  “done deal” and that despite some speculation no “wink or nod” has been given on the matter by the township.

He said those who claim this are taking the lazy way out and merely looking for an excuse to avoid getting involved in the debate.

He stated specifically to the committee people in the audience and other community interested attendees that the party would not stand in the way of anybody seeking a school board seat as several are up for election this year.

Maybe there is a position there, after all.

In other matters, several people up for election or re-election spoke to the group including District Attorney Jack Whelan, who said that compassion was as important to his job as getting convictions;  Common Pleas Court Judge Tony Scanlon, who was appointed to the bench last June by Gov. Corbett and is now seeking a term of his own; Michael Culp who is seeking election to County Council following his appointment to the seat that had been held by new 26th District State Sen. Tom McGarrigle; Andrea B. Puppio, who is seeking her third term as magisterial judge for court 32-1-32; and Jim Merkins, who is seeking election to a full-term for Magisterial Court 32-2-54 that had been presided over by Scanlan and to which he was appointed following  Scanlan’s elevation to Common Pleas Court.

Springfield GOP High School Position

Springfield GOP High School Position
The Springfield GOP High School Position
And the Springfield GOP High School Position


Fourth Springfield High Town Hall Tonight

The fourth of six town hall meetings on the Springfield High School Master Plan will be 7 tonight, Jan, 14, at the Delaware County Intermediate Unit (DCIU), Rooms 171-172, reports Regina Scheerer.

The building is  at 200 Yale Ave., Morton, PA 19070.

This town hall meeting will not be televised live, but will be recorded and available later online at

The agenda is:
Academic & Community Matters
Academic Impacts, Site Circulation/Village Green
Concept Disruption Academic Costs, Community Benefits,
Green Space/Athletics, Sustainability

The town halls, in our view, are an attempt to foist a $144 million edifice called the Saxer Avenue option on the Springfield taxpayer despite the high school property, as of yet, not abutting Saxer Avenue.

Can we call it the Doug Carney Building?

Just kidding.

We have thought long and hard about the matter and have concluded that allocating $10 million for repairs with the specific task of keeping 1,600 students (present student population is 1,204) warm, safe and dry while skilled teachers educate them is more than adequate as it should be obvious that it’s not the building that matters but the personnel.

That should be more than sufficient, assuming inefficiency spawned by corruption doesn’t rear its head, and more than generous.

If inefficiency spawned by corruption does rear its head, then ending that, of course, becomes the priority and the repairs get put on hold.

Fourth Springfield High Town Hall Tonight

Fourth Springfield High Town Hall Tonight concerns the “Master Plan” which is an attempt to foist a $144 million edifice on the Springfield taxpayer.

Fourth Springfield High Town Hall Tonight