North Penn School Board discusses air conditioning and future infrastructure plans

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Julia Nardone

North Penn School Board holds first meeting of the 2021-2022 school year

At the first meeting since the approval of the Health and Safety Plan as well as Governor Wolf’s mandate for masks in all Pennsylvania schools, the North Penn School Board was able to focus on matters unrelated to masking.

During the first Audience of Citizens, parents and community members spoke on topics such as air conditioning in the middle schools, staffing changes in the special education department, mask exceptions, and the upcoming School Board election.

“I am extremely concerned about the incredible turnover within this department between teachers and administrators,” parent Toni Lady expressed on the recent loss of staff in the special education department in the high school. “The program is falling apart and the students are suffering because of it.” 

While it is no longer up to the school boards to determine whether masks are required in schools, many parents are still voicing their concerns to them about issues like mask exceptions for their children.

“No one has been able to provide me with evidence that shows my young children wearing a mask 35 hours a week will not cause a medical problem.”

— North Penn parent, Erin Blanc

“No one has been able to provide me with evidence that shows my young children wearing a mask 35 hours a week will not cause a medical problem.” Parent Erin Blanc said, going on to list some of the effects mask wearing supposedly has on her children such as chemicals in the masks and lack of oxygen. “I keep asking for choice, that’s all I ask for.”

Some community members were angry with the school board and brought up the looming election on November 2nd. This election puts Board members Jonathan Kassa, Al Roesch, Christian Fusco, and Tina Stoll’s seats up for reelection.

“Stop complying and allowing these scumbags to override [our] god given rights,” community member Mike Flannery said, aiming hostile and vulgar words towards specific members of the Board. “We are our saviors, and their biggest fear is us realizing that.”

North Penn sophomore Sara Jacob stepped up to the podium as well, and spoke about her experience with teachers and students treating her differently because of her political views.

“I’ve talked to kids and they’re terrified of talking about their political views, they’re scared of what other kids will say due to being harassed not only by them but also by teachers,” Jacob said.

While there was no other business discussed during the meeting, the Board approved the use of North Penn’s Natatorium to Upper Dublin High School for a competition, as their own natatorium got damaged during hurricane Ida earlier in the month.

The North Penn Education Foundation also donated 100 filled backpacks to Upper Dublin’s education foundation for students who were directly impacted by the hurricane. 

“I think there’s really nothing that exhibits that North Penn strong capacity more than that and being able to reach out to others in the community,” Board Member Juliane Ramic expressed.

Later on in the second Audience of Citizens, the topic of air conditioning was brought up. It is well known within the district that the middle schools do not have effective air conditioning, as Penndale middle school hardly has any.

“You have to fix more than just the air conditioning to get the air conditioning to work”

— Board member Al Roesch

“You have to fix more than just the air conditioning to get the air conditioning to work,” Board member Al Roesch explained, saying how some of the middle school buildings are over fifty years old and not designed to sustain new air conditioning systems.

Board Vice president Christian Fusco addressed the current ten year plan regarding the 9th grade center and the movement of certain grades into different buildings. 

“It would be fiscally reckless at this point to start that infrastructure program by putting air conditioning into the middle schools. It would just not make sense,” Fusco said. 

The next school Board meeting will be a work session on October 12 at 7 pm, the second to last meeting before the election on November 2.