My name is Jim Brophy.

I live in Douglass Township, PA , and I am running for the Boyertown Area School Board.

Being recently retired, I have had the opportunity to review what is happening in our school district. Here are a few of my thoughts:

  • Transgender issue was blown out of proportion.
    • Should have been resolved locally without publicity
    • Should have been solved without placing district in lawsuit jeopardy
    • Was a specialized lawyer consulted prior to district actions?
  • Asset protection of our buildings and equipment
    • Stadium having to be replaced
    • Could not be strategically planned due to structural safety issues
    • How did we get there, no maintenance, no inspections?
    • How are our other assets being maintained?
    • Will we have future large-scale failures?
    • What is our long-term inspection program and why did it fail?
  • Taxing Strategy is not clear.
    • Presently taxing at ACT 1 plus due to income/expenditure gap
    • Is our goal to continue with excessive increases or work to restore only inflation-required tax increases

Due to Pennsylvania’s archaic method of funding schools, yearly inflation tax increases or ACT 1 waiver requests will continue. However, we need to have a goal of only asking for inflationary increases.
Spending plans need to be adjusted to reflect what the district can afford. That means there is a need to perform strategic planning so as to spread out spending over a suitable period while not extending out loans well beyond the life of the asset.

  • Closing of Pine Forge is inappropriate
    • Parents and students are satisfied with service
    • Location is acceptable for travel times for existing students
    • Keep all buildings as they are presently configured until future student levels are understood
    • New construction should be on a ten plus year strategic plan at minimum
    • Another example of reactive problem solving versus proactive approach
  • Some areas of the district will face a student influx if present trends continue
    • Redistricting should be examined
  • Lack of respect among board members
    • hindered working toward common goal of excellent and affordable education

These are the immediate issues I believe are important.

Boyertown Area School District Issues (Current)

  • Tax increases are double the ACT 1 guidelines
  • Lack of Fiscal responsibility and oversight
    • A cursory review of the existing board’s past voting practices shows a complete lack of understanding their roles
    • Majority voting to fund anything requested
    • Not searching out the best financial instruments for financing
    • Loan terms that will have the loan far outlive the asset
  • Privacy rights for non-transgender students
  • Asset maintenance (buildings and equipment)
    • Lawn care outsourced while we possess a large maintenance force
    • Preventative/Predictive maintenance practices
  • Pine Forge closure
    • Redistricting in advance of possible localized influx
    • Are we creating a future problem
  • Support of extra-curricular school sanctioned activities
    • An activity fee is a fair way to co-fund this item.
  • Fair Market compensation for Teachers and Staff
  • No use of true strategic budgeting 5- to 10-year frame
    • Reactive planning/moving target
  • Long-Term Strategic district planning
    • Assets
    • Curriculum
    • Changing world condition effect on student choices
  • Ranked 116th in State while above the mean is not where we want to be.
    • This is an above-average ranking out of about 563, but is it what we want
    • Ranking fairly static for several years
    • Do we benchmark against other districts?
      • Two Southeastern districts in Pa. have increased their rankings
        • Methacton up 23 places
        • Springfield up 25 places
  • Six of our schools have dropped in rankings 2017/2018 (most recent available)

About my opponent, Lisa Hogan

My Opponent moved here only about 2 years ago from Philadelphia, as she has stated at several School Board meetings. Having made the same move 34 years ago, I understand her reasons for wanting a strong school district as she has also stated at several school board meetings. Her deficit concerns for our district are real. At the meetings she has clearly stated those concerns and her solution.

Whereas I agree with her deficit concerns, we are in a debt crisis, I deeply disagree with her on the proposed solution. At several meetings she has clearly stated that the fix for our district is raising taxes. She has made this point several times as shown in the attached video clips. However, she does not offer any guidance into how those increased monies should be used or at what point money should be capped. Unlike the federal government who seems to believe it can continually print out more dollars, our taxpayers have a bottom to their pockets. Taxing or cutting programs indiscriminately will not get us beyond our present difficulties. Business as usual will not work!

While I commend my opponent for taking the initiative to run and take on the tough job of School Board member, I believe I will bring a more solution-based philosophy and therefore would be a better fit for what is needed in solving our present crisis.