Jones’ current contract ends next year; the new one runs to August 2012. She is making about $204,000 this school year and will get just over $210,000 next August, with 3 percent increases in each subsequent year.
Jones, 58, who just started her 14th year in the 4,000-student district, is the longest-serving superintendent in Chester County.
Voting for the contract were board president Susanne Carr, Kevin McTear, Elizabeth McGarrigle, Katherine Pettiss and Melanie Scott. Voting no were vice president Nicholas Vastardis, Salwa Raven, Ralph Tang and Eugene Kozik….
Steven Kantrowitz said that Great Valley was a small district “with a very, very, very high superintendent’s contract.” To loud applause, he said: “It’s time, I submit to you, for a change.”
Jones and the board sat at the front of the room, listening impassively.
POSTED: November 18, 2007
The rift became very public on Sept. 17 when the Great Valley school board, by a 5-4 vote, extended Superintendent Rita Jones’ contract four years, despite a contingent of residents at the meeting who spoke out against Jones.
Many district residents were incensed that the only notice of the vote on Jones’ extension was a posting on the district Web site on Sept. 14. About 20 residents formed Great Valley Stakeholders, a group organized with the goal of changing the direction of the school board.
Members of the group helped spread the word of a write-in campaign for David Barratt, 45, to unseat the current board president, Susanne Carr (who voted in favor of Jones’ extension), who was running for reelection in Region I….
Using Tredyffrin-Easttown and Radnor School Districts for comparison, Chambers contends that spending per student is too high in Great Valley, and hasn’t resulted in a concurrent increase in test scores.
“We’re not saying the district is horrible; it’s a good district, but when you look at what we’re spending per student, we’re not getting what other districts are getting,” said Chambers, 56, father of two Great Valley High School grads….
The school board and Jones
All of Chambers’ claims stem from his central complaint that the board works too closely with Jones and the district, rather than in the oversight role school boards are intended for by law.
“The concern we have is not focused strictly on Rita Jones,” he said. “Our concern is more that the school board is not doing its job, that they’re not holding the superintendent accountable, not establishing meaningful goals. That they’re essentially allowing the superintendent to run the school board as well as the schools.”
So then you skip forward to 2009 when this land deal occurs. And after the land deal there seems to be a mass exodus from the school board and even Superintendent Rita Jones announces retirement? (Here is an article about her replacement Alan Lonoconus. Now since he has retired it is Regina C. Speaker Palubinsky, Ed.D.)
Again to quote Wikipedia:
Two weeks after the March 16 meeting, on April 1, Superintendent Rita Jones announced she intended to retire during the upcoming summer. In addition, all 4 board members who are up for re-election in the November 2009 election announced they would not seek re-election. Further, because Jack McDowell stepped down in April due to illness, only 4 of the 9 board members who were involved in the land deal were still on the board as of December.
I will note at this point that a lot of the articles that WERE online about these school district issues back then (including school board minutes) have disappeared off the Internet from their original sources. The GVSD has a couple of recent years of archived video recorded minutes but I have not checked them out because they use a non-supported plug-in.
In May of 2009, The Daily Local ran an article about seven candidates running for Great Valley School Board seats. At the end of May 2009, Main Line Media News ran an article about a Great Valley School Board member stepping down. That even garnered a mention in a Charlestown Township newsletter back then.
So flash forward to now and the school district is now selling this land? And supposedly at the same price per acre as they bought it? Really? Is that true? And this site is close to the old lethal Foote Mineral Site? Mind you Bacton Hill Road is no stranger to industrial stuff. See what I found on a Google cache.
EPA Region 3 RCRA Corrective Action Statement of Basis for James Spring Wire Co PAD002331635
Bacton Hill is such a weird configuration of quasi industrial and industrial sites along with warehouses and such.
If the school district land is what is being sold or is under consideration for selling to that Great Valley Community Organization, I think there should be like two phases of environmental impact audits, right? And if the Great Valley School District isn’t interested in further testing, in my humble opinion the Great Valley Community Organization should pay for testing.
People have said there is some kind of report detailing past issues with railroads and chemicals and a pipeline company and clean outs across the road? Is any of this true? I am just concerned because well, you have to admit there are quite a few environmental hot spots around there.
Sorry I have a thing about places that might leave people potentially glowing in the dark (figuratively speaking) .
So anyway, I posed my questions to the Great Valley School District and others and these are the documents I got out of the conversations:
Look sorry to stir the pot, but if the Great Valley School District is going to sell this land to the Great Valley Community Organization, fine. BUT if there are going to be a lot of kids and so on around and active on this property would it hurt for the Great Valley School District to do some additional testing?
We know so much more now how to be better stewards of the land and testing in a lot of cases is faster and improved so why not do it? Why not do things right this time?
I am sorry but this is why people no matter where they live have issues with school districts. Everything is done like they are secret societies with their own language and secret handshakes yet we the taxpayers pay for it all?
Look I appreciate the Great Valley School District sending me documents and answering questions but does anyone want to relive 2008 with the Great Valley School District? If the answer is “no”, how about some updated testing? Just to make sure that the amazing Great Valley Community Organization isn’t inheriting issues with this land that no one knows about? So many people have skeedaddled from the Great Valley School District since this land purchase happened on Bacton Hill Road, so why not better safe than sorry? After all even the current superintendent would have heard about this controversy considering she came from neighboring Phoenixville School District?
And again, if the Great Valley School District doesn’t want to do the testing, the Great Valley Community Organization should strongly consider it.
Thanks for stopping by.