In The Weeds

If you like details, data and research as much as Bill does, this is the page for you!  If you want to go further into the weeds on any topic, please contact Bill at any time.

(Check back regularly to see what other “weeds” may have popped up on this page.)

Voting Record That Shows Bill's Priorities

Bill’s voting record shows that he is an independent voice on the board who focuses on expanded student opportunities and achievement, and will align with any other board member to achieve that end.

Keeping Kids in School.  Over the past 19 mos., a top priority has been getting students in school and keeping them there.

  • In Sept. 2020, I played a pivotal role in securing a competitive sports season for the ChesMont League by organizing a coalition of board presidents across the county. https://vimeo.com/showcase/7005160?video=453838596 (Comments starting at 40:25)
  • On Nov. 2, 2020. I led the 5-3 majority voting to transition our students back to in-person learning.
  • Dec. 10, 2020. Voted in 5-4 majority to allow our Cheer team to travel to Nat’l competition if pandemic restrictions eased.  (The trip ultimately proceeded.)
  • In Aug. 2021, I was the only board member who focused on the likelihood of mass quarantining of students absent a mask requirement. 74 students quarantined the first 3 day of school before 5 other board members voted with me to require masks.  Beyond health and safety concerns, masks keep kids in school.  This could have been AG – https://www.witf.org/2021/09/16/northern-york-middle-and-high-schools-halt-in-person-learning-due-to-covid-19-cases/

Transparency and Community Engagement.  I have always been a public facing and community engaged board member.  I post regular summaries of board meetings and explanations of board actions, my email and phone number are always listed with an invitation to contact me, and I successfully advocated for: public posting of board presentation documents prior to meetings(2018), live streaming budget meetings and archiving of all budget documents (2019), and live streaming of ALL meetings (2021).

No Partisan Politics on the Board.  I am a pragmatic moderate who makes decisions without regard to party affiliation or partisan ideology.  In five years on the board, I have never once voted along political party lines, either in the majority or the minority. On split decisions, I have aligned at various times with every other board member in both the majority and the minority of the vote.  (See voting record) My priority is always to provide students with high quality academic and extra-curricular opportunities at a level of investment that is reasonable for our community.

Support for Avon Grove Charter and Other Educational Opportunities.I am a believer in free market competition.  Private, charter, technical school and Homeschool options all play an important role in improving the overall “educational ecosystem”.

  • I have worked with AGCS leadership and the PA School Board Association (PSBA) seeking to reform Charter School legislation in a fair and balanced way.
  • In Sept. 2020, I worked to ensure TCHS students were provided busing while our schools remained closed.
  • I have helped Homeschool families access the district services to which they are entitled by law.

Concern for the Tax Impact on the Community.

  • I helped bring back the Senior Volunteer Tax Rebate program.
  • I am advocating in Harrisburg for a property tax cap for certain fixed income seniors.
  • I identified specific savings in the 21-22 budget and worked with other board members and admin to significantly lower the tax impact in the budget while still funding the facilities project. https://vimeo.com/showcase/7005160?video=534664588  (Comments at 2:53:00)

Facilities Project and a Future Vision.  The facilities project is about much more than new and renovated buildings.  The project is about a long term vision for expanded learning opportunities.  It is about using new technology to allow for flexible scheduling, increased course availability, dynamic, student centered classrooms and so much more.  Opening the new HS is only the beginning of the project, not the end . . .

. . . and that is what this election is really about.  Do we vote to keep building on the progress of the last 5 years, or do we vote with those who fought the facilities project every step of the way, tried to shut it down in 2019, have consistently voted against operating budgets and voted against a reasonable administrators contract at a time when those administrators were working 80+ hour weeks in the middle of a pandemic?

On November 2, the choice is yours AG. 

Aug. 26, 2021 Voted with Auerbach, Billig, Dumont, Engel and Weber in 6-3 majority to continue live streaming and recording of meetings.

Aug. 26, 2021 Voted with Billig, Engel, Linn, Lisi and Wolff in 6-3 majority to require masks.  (74 students quarantined during the first week of school. This vote prevented the near certainty of hundreds more students missing school due to quarantine, and the possibility of building closures.)

Feb. 11, 2021.  Aligned with Weber in the 2-7 minority in favor of pursuing installation of a sprinkler system for the HS renovation.

Dec. 10, 2020.  Voted with Billig, Dumont, Lisi and Weber in the 5-4 majority (against admin recommendation) to keep open the possibility for our Cheer team to travel to the National competition if pandemic restrictions eased.  (The trip ultimately proceeded.)

Nov. 2, 2020. Voted with Auerbach, Dumont, Lisi and Weber in the 5-3 majority to transition students back to in-person learning.

April 26, 2018 Unanimous vote for facilities project.  (I was at the center of making this vote unanimous.  In the words of John Auerbach, “we wouldn’t be building this HS if it weren’t for you.”)

AGSD delivers top return for tax dollars invested!

Avon Grove provides the best educational value for your tax dollar of any district in the county!  AGSD has the lowest per pupil spending in the county, the lowest administrative costs per pupil and still delivers achievement scores above county average. 

Supporting Data:

Achievement score is based on the % of students scoring proficient or advanced on the included standardized tests (as shown in columns J-N).

The two phase facilities project is currently on time, it is on budgt for total construction dollars, and well under total financing budget.

When the pandemic hit, it sent financial markets and construction schedules into turmoil, but as a result of a well thought out, balanced financing strategy and careful attention to detail over the last few years, the total cost projected cost to the taxpayer is currently 2.43 mills, down from the originally projected 2.86 mills.  This translates to about $16.9MM less in total project cost than originally anticipated, which should translate to a lower tax increase needed to fund the project. But we still have one more bond issuance and the high school to middle school conversion is about to start.  It is essential to have people on the board who have been with this project from the start and understand the complexities and details!

Supporting Numbers:

Quality online academy benefits students and saves the taxpayers money!

In July, the board leadership and administration discussed the likelihood that the health dept. would eventually mandate a fully remote opening for all Chester County districts. AG did not wait for the mandate. AG made the decision early to announce a fully remote opening. While other districts were working on developing both hybrid and virtual learning models, our administration focused solely on developing a quality Online Academy that eventually became a model for other districts.  Our teachers then worked tirelessly to learn and deliver the content, which is likely what kept AG students from transferring to cyber-charter schools as happened in other districts. (See chart) Each student who attends a cyber-charter represents a loss in district revenue of over $11,000 for a regular ed. student, and over $24,000 for a special ed. student! So, the early decision on remote opening benefited both our students and our bottom line.

*Chart is from CCIU budget presentation to Finance committee on 4/13/21

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