The last North Penn School Board meeting before a looming election day


Julia Nardone

The North Penn School Board listens to each community member as they speak during the Audience of Citizens.

Less than two weeks before election day where four North Penn School Board members could potentially be unseated, members of the community showed up to voice a variety of concerns for the last meeting before the election. Board President Tina Stoll, Vice President Christian Fusco, Board Director Jonathan Kassa, and Board Director Al Roesch are up for reelection for 4 year terms on November 2nd.

At the beginning of the meeting, this year’s national merit scholarship semifinalists were recognized by the board. Anna Chen, Edward Kong, Arushi Mittal, Naman J. Parikh, David Shin, Sulin Shin, Ananya Venkatachalam, Anthony Wang, and Eric Wang received certificates, and commended students were recognized as well. 

The national merit scholarship program gives prestigious financial aid rewards to students who are in the top of their class, with exceptional grades and test scores. It is an immense honor to all who qualify and the Board wishes the semi-finalists luck as they await the results.

During the first Audience of Citizens, community members and parents each had three minutes to speak to the Board compared to their previous 2, about multiple topics. Some spoke on the special education program, the upcoming election, and inappropriate material in books in district libraries. Click this link to watch the recording of the meeting’s public comment.

Various parents of students read out some of the inappropriate content from those books to the Board to prove why those books should not be in schools and through doing that, hurled insults and threats at the Board.

Many of those who participated in the public comment took information from the School Board Election Town Hall Debate that occurred earlier in the week hosted by North Penn High School’s Newspaper, The Knight Crier

Some community members however, voiced their support for the Board for enduring the difficult climate of today’s local politics. One community member also angled hostile comments towards certain members and organizations within the audience like the Mom’s for Liberty.

The meeting proceeded quickly after the Audience of Citizens and the Board made their reports.

The North Penn Educational Foundation has been working on mid-year grant proposals for teachers and administration and has garnered much support from fellow school board members on other projects.

“21,000 has been designated in funding [for mid-year grant proposals] and I encourage our educators to consider applying,” Board Director for the North Penn Educational Foundation Juliane Ramic said, “it really does inspire teacher innovation and great projects.”

During the Superintendent’s report, Dr. Curt Dietrich reported that Dr. Mia Kim’s employment contract has been extended until 2024. Kim is the Director of Human Resources and a member of the Superintendent’s cabinet and has been a great asset in the recent months.

“We really appreciate all of [Dr. Kim’s] efforts, especially this past year, it was a tough job, and we thank you very much,” Stoll expressed emphatically, along with the rest of the Board.

The second audience of citizens was more unruly as some community members continued to vocalize their concerns from earlier in the night. At one point, Board President Tina Stoll had to use the gavel to calm down the crowd, calling for security to escort especially irate community members out of the auditorium.

School Boards around the country have been facing aggressive and threatening members of the community who are getting more and more involved in local politics as a result of the increased polarization of America. North Penn has been affected in the past year with meetings being disrupted by community members wanting to influence board members to make changes to policies and plans. 

The next school board meeting will be held on November 9, 2021 at 7 pm. Election Day is one week prior, on November 2.