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The Boyertown Area School District is making every effort to consider and meet the needs of the community.
At the last school board meeting, superintendent Dr. Dion Betts made a recommendation to the board regarding utilization of public relations services. These services would be used as a reference for future public relations issues within the district. The suggested firm: The Communications Solutions Group, Inc. in Jenkintown.
The firm would work directly with the superintendent and the district to address strategic or crisis matters at the hourly rate of $170. Betts has consulted the firm in the past for their public relations expertise.
Prior to voting, board member Dr. Ronald Christman questioned how exactly the firm would benefit the district, and what situations would create the need for outside consultation.
“They’d provide expert consultation in instances that would create public relations problems as well as the public’s perceptions of the district. We do not have a public relations person within the district. When it rises to crisis communications—I do need assistance,” said Betts.
Board member Stephen Elsier was in favor of the proposal, “I would encourage the district to use them not just in crisis, but also for pro-activity.”
Betts stated he has consulted with the firm for a total of roughly two hours throughout the past year. Board members questioned how many hours of consultation are projected, while also suggesting a cap on the amount of hours.
The recommendation was not passed, at a vote of 4-2.
Board members Donna Usavage and Ronald Christman voted no.
“The world is different now. Word spreads much faster than it used to. To ask for a couple of hours for advisement—I think it crucial. With everything else on the superintendent’s plate—asking him to be a public relations expert is a lot,” said board member Kenneth Parsons, Jr. during the board comments period.
During the meeting, the board provided an update regarding the cyber program—“As of today, we have 9 students registered for cyber program. Our break-even point is 6 students,” said Dr. Karen Beerer, assistant Superintendent.
The cost of program enrollment is $12,000 to 18,000 a student.
“We’re taking it step by step. With have a massive plan with minute details. As we get closer there will more registrants.”
Registration for the cyber program is ongoing year-round.
“As reflected regarding the budget, we have entered a culture of innovation. The financial pressures on public schools will continue to increase. Our final budget much better than as projected in fall; this is in part, due to employee pay freezes as well as innovative thinking in all departments,” Usavage noted during board comments. “Innovative thinking will get the entire school community through.”
Usavage also recommended a review of the voting model currently used by the district.
“Since joining the board in 2009, there have been concerns regarding 3-region voting model. We need a group of people, to explore voting region models and come up with recommendations.”
Board president Gwen W. Semmens will appoint 3 board members to address the concerns.