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Neshaminy School Board Delays Construction Funding Decision

The Neshaminy School Board was unable to pass a motion to send plans to the state for the construction of a new school for funding Tuesday night.

The Neshaminy School Board has delayed a decision that could begin the process of building a new school and closing certain schools by two weeks.

At the board meeting Tuesday night, the board considered giving its approval to send initial plans to the state in order to qualify for additional funding for the construction and consolidations in the district; however, the board was unable to do this and the motion to do this will be back on the agenda for the Septemeber 11 meeting.

The motion Tuesday night received four yes votes from Scott Congdon, Mark Shubin, Anthony Sposato and Bill Oettinger; Ritchie Webb, Irene Boyle and Mike Morris voted against the motion. Board members Susan Cummings and Kim Koutsouradis were not in attendance. 

Even though the motion received a majority of yes votes, the motion needed to receive five yes votes in order for the district to enter into a contract.

Though Webb voted against the motion, it wasn't because he disapproved of the plan.

"I’m all for doing something, we need to do something...but this hasn’t been vetted to the public," Webb said. He added that if the situation had been different and the plan had been vetted to the public, he would have supported it last night.

Boyle agreed with Webb, stating that "transparency has been the hallmark of the board."

"I definitely think people should be able to weigh in what they think," Boyle said.

However, Oettinger, who heads up the Ah Hoc Facilities committee, said that the board has been transparent about this issue and that his committee has been discussing consolidation and construction plans for that past two years.

Since the motion wasn't approved Tuesday night, the Ad Hoc committee will further discuss the plans at its meeting September 10 at 6 p.m. in the district offices board room at Maple Point Middle School.

The school board has until the end of September to submit an application to the state to receive the approximate $3.8 million in state funding, which would awarded to the district over a period of 20 to 30 years.

Had the board approved the motion Tuesday night, it would not have locked the district into any construction contractors or closing specific schools, Shubin said.

Shubin made a motion, which was unanimously approved, to form a community committee for the consolidation of schools and the possible closings in order to gain Neshaminy residents' opinions and ideas.

Despite delaying the vote to submit the application to the state, Webb said that he was confident that planners from McKissick Associates would be able to complete the application in time to meet the October 1 deadline.

Though the McKissick Associates' plan identified schools that could be closed and consolidated in the district, the district would have to hold hearings to close buildings.

In addition, acting superintendent Jacqueline Rattigan said that certain schools could be closed, the whole district would be redistricted and students could change schools even if their current school wasn't closed.

Oettinger said that the plans that could be sent to the state would call for a new elementary school being built at the . 

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