WESTFALL TWP. A ten million dollar projected construction cost of the planned new Delaware Valley Elementary School will cost tax payers an estimated 2.8% tax increase, if the preliminary school tax budget is passed on June, 19th.  According, to John Bell, Superintendent of Delaware Valley School District the proposed school tax budget for the 2014-2015 school year will be posted for 30 days, before the finalized vote.
                Serious concerns were raised by some School Board Council members at Thursday’s May 15th meeting.  Jack O’Leary, Board Member and Jack Fisher, Board Member raised concerns over the increase vs. the burden on tax payers. 
      Fisher, who is the member in charge of financing stated only one new business, a commercial factory,  was established in the area in 2014.  Will additional taxes imposed on the established commercial businesses generating revenue generate relocation ideas?  Or, will the additional taxes on prospective home buyers be a deterrent to buy?
                Jessica Decker, Board Member reported to the School Board the declining writing test scores of students which ranked very low in the State, overall.  Decker requested additional funding in the budget to purchase new text books and other materials as an answer to the low test scores.

••• Pay for marching band
                Possibilities of reallocating funds set aside for a marching band were discussed, at length.  The budget has allocated $19,000 to organize a marching band and purchase uniforms and other necessary equipment in the 2014-2015 School Budget.  Several Board Members thought the funding should be reallocated to purchase “writing program” materials in lieu of establishing a marching band at DV.
                Pat Lutfy, President of the School Board, along with John Bell, Superintendent, stated they were confident both programs could be accomplished within the projected budget.  Bell and Lutfy, Board Members, stressed the addition of a marching band would enhance the school’s extra curriculum programs.  Pat Lutfy, President, mentioning her 17 years as a School Board Member, said, any additional programs that would offer students in the rural area another opportunity should be welcomed.
••• Other items
•       Recognitions of gratitude were offered by the DV School Board to the nursing staff, special education staff and guidance council staff.  All were present at the May 15th meeting.  Several short films were created and shown of DV students thanking the staff members for their added help at DV.
•      Michelle Ulmer, from the Pike County Conservation District, spoke about the “Rain Barrel” program the schools participated in.  Federal grant money obtained by the Pike County Conservation District funded the conservation project.  Each school received a rain barrel and decorated it.  Then, the barrel was displayed outside adding to the décor while collecting nature’s precipitation.  The rain collected was then used to water plants and wash cars.  At the completion of the project, the rain barrels were auctioned off to raise money for the schools.
•       Questions were raised about the changes in law enforcement and the School Board’s position on the changes.  Matamoras is considering eliminating local police officers and utilizing the Pennsylvania State Police.  Although local police are used for many DV events, Jack O’Leary, School Board Member assigned to research the issue recommended the School Board remain neutral on the issue.  O’Leary stated that discussions to eliminate the local police force were raised in prior years, but did not occur.  Upcoming meetings are scheduled on the issue in Matamoras.
•       New Pennsylvania State mandated curriculum standards forced numerous changes to the Delaware Valley District’s curriculum for the 2014-2015 school year.  Superintendent Bell referred to it as a “complete overhaul.”
The Delaware Valley School District website is www.dvsd.org for anyone interested in viewing the 2014-2015 School Budget.               
    The May 15th meeting was held at the Delaware Valley School District’s Administration Office.  The next regular School Board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, June 26 at 7 p.m., at the same location.