We apologize for the delay in posting this article. The night of the Colonial School Board’s last meeting we asked the AV tech recording the meeting if we would be able to obtain a copy of the meeting. He said no problem and even emailed us the next day asking me to respond back with the request, which we did.
We didn’t receive it and followed up a couple/few days later and were told that Director of Communications Dave Sherman said that we would need to go through him. We asked Sherman for it and he told us we had to rely on the antiquated system the School District uses to publish its videos (really, its horrible). Apparently Sherman has never heard of YouTube.com (its even free).
Anyhow, we are resourceful and figured it out. Below we have posted the full video of the meeting three times. Each time, we have set it to play at a specific time we want to highlight. This video is not edited and you can watch the entire meeting if you choose (and you should).
The reason we wanted to present the video in this fashion is to make it easier for you to hear what was said yourself.
The points in the video we chose to highlight show members of the School Board addressing the decision making that went into the controversial decision to terminate the contract of its long serving current solicitor and replace him with Michael Clarke of Rudolph Clarke.
Clarke donated $2,500 to the campaign of the four newest members of the School Board and almost $50,000 overall to local Democratic Party committees and candidates since 2011.
This whole issue started, at least publicly, with a Facebook post by Cathy Peduzzi, a Democrat serving on the School Board. Here is the post:
The only reason a RFP was ever issued was because Peduzzi made the brave choice to challenge members of her own party through this public statement.
There was no legal obligation for the School Board to undergo a RFP process for professional services, which solicitor falls under. In Peduzzi’s post she refers to interviews. These interviews were to take place BEFORE the four new members of the School Board were sworn in and before there was a vote to issue a RFP. The interviews didn’t take place after there was a public uproar.
It appears that the only reason a RFP was issued was due to the public getting engaged into the issue. And even then, the School Board didn’t even put it on the agenda that was released prior to the reorganization meeting on December 4th, but amended the agenda during the meeting to allow a motion to instruct the Superintendent to issue a RFP.
Are they really claiming to be transparent after they were forced to undergo the RFP process due to the public outrage?
School Board Policies
School Board Member Susan Moore asks a question about why the Board is considering terminating the current solicitor’s contract early. She states that she is not aware of anything that would justify that action.
Newly elected member Eunice Franklin-Becker than states how she has reviewed the School District’s policies and there are a great number outdated and that she feels it is the solicitor’s role to “advocate” for keeping the policies updated.
The problem is that the solicitor’s role is to advise, not advocate. It is the job of School Board members to advocate for changes and updating the policies. Then then work with the solicitor to create policies that are legal and they vote on whether to make the change.
What is so odd is that Franklin-Becker didn’t seem concerned about the outdated policies during the campaign. We went through months of her Twitter account and couldn’t find one Tweet discussing the topic. We also read articles in The Times Herald and Conshy Courier where candidates for School Board offered details on why they were running. Again, no mention of the outdated policies.
Now lets put that in perspective. We can’t find a single instance where she campaigned on the state of the school district’s policies. It was Franklin-Becker who made the motion to amend the agenda and then to instruct the Superintendent to issue the RFP. She was the person to call for a special meeting to select a new solicitor (this meeting was never held due to the weather).
Why didn’t she campaign on this issue if it warranted terminating a contract early? Why didn’t she campaign on an issue she felt the need to call a special meeting for?
Didn’t seem that important to her until she needed a reason to justify terminating the solicitor and installing Clarke.
Eunice Franklin-Becker states that one of the reasons she supported Rudolph Clarke is that it “respects and works well with labor.” We would just like to point out that Rudolph Clarke is the solicitor for the Norristown School District, where the teachers have worked without a contract since at least 2016.
Stay tuned for Part 2.