Sunday, January 14, 2007

Calandras Don't Want To Sell Land to NASD

The Morning Call reports today (read the article here) that the Calandra family does not want to sell 5.9 of its 9 acres to the NASD to serve as athletic fields at the new MS campus.

In the article it is clear that the NASD will most likely be able to have its way in the courts.

The NASD has not yet, but can use eminent domain to take the land. It would be for athletic fields and as such it would be a public use and allowable by law.

Simply because it is allowable by law does not make it right.

The NASD states in its need for the project enrollment growth and that "The school (current MS) was specifically designed for a middle school concept instructional facility but has little flexibility to enhance a middle school strategy of team and thematic instruction."

This tells me while it is specific to MS level it wasn't designed correctly ten years ago.

Further the NASD considered four options:
  1. New k-5 Elementary
  2. Expansion of LNES and Bushkill
  3. New Intermediate School (IS)
  4. New MS and conversion of MS to IS
Why not consider a new K-6 elementary and make MS 7&8, thereby alleviating the enrollment issue at the MS and reducing transportation costs. You'd also be building the facility that requires the least number of accessories (auditoriums, tv studios, etc)?

Obviously option 4 was selected. The NASD reviewed 50 potential sites with 20+ acres available for purchase (I guess 'available for purchase' was loosely defined). The NASD went with the one option that provided land adjacent to the HS and where they could create a "campus".

These choices by NASD have provided us with:
  • We get a "campus," but, having a campus does not enhance learning nor does it create any facility efficiencies because we are replicated existing facilities at the current MS.
  • There is a significant price tag.
  • There will be increased transportation costs.
  • There will be increased operational costs.
  • There will be a significant increase in traffic in this area as a result of parent pick-up and drop off.
  • There will be an additional transition year for students who will be pulled out of elementary at 4th grade to go to a centralized school.
  • Parents with multiple elementary aged students will most likely have children in different buildings creating logistical challenges as well as for lack of a better word, "comfort" issues (knowing your child's principal and staff at a building through many years of interaction instead of a few).
I think it is time to reconsider this decision. If the family had no problem selling the land, I would still say we should reconsider, but I know it would be met with deaf ears.

If there were in fact 50 sites with 20+ acres available, let's look at some other sites and while we are at it let's go back and consider some less costly and more effective options. If done right, we could spend less than what is proposed and get much more.

It is up to the NASD Board of Directors to do what is right, not what they can get away with legally.

111 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is totally obscene and outrageous. Think hard about it. You live across from a school and they need more room for parking or a basketball court. Goodbye home!!

Anonymous said...

I can't believe I just read this article in the Morning Call. This is the first time I am hearing anything about this. This is just another thing kept quiet. So the District went ahead with their plans without having this issue settled and the attitude is the heck with these people, What we want matters most. Let Mr Keller give up his residence. Lets talk about what a great place Nazareth is to live in. Like I said before "the heck with the old timers who have lived here their whole lives". I wonder if we could condemn Andretti's property or even Orwigs, Sorry guys nothing agianst the two of you but I am sure the NASD wouldn't even consider pushing you out of your right to live in your home. I think we should all back up the Calandra's, let the NASD give up a baseball feild or two. Where are these people suppose to go with their business, this is their bread and butter community. I can't believe this is the first time we are hearing about this.

Brad Moulton said...

Anon 11:09-

The Callandra family wouldn't be giving up their business. The land in question is the land directly behind their building/business on East Lawn. (That still doesn't make it right).

However, Ross continues to be a voice of reason here and his point is well taken. Why are we building this new MS when an elementary school would have been much cheaper? Not to mention all the hassle of having a split elementary structure and all the headaches that go along with that.

It seems however, that there is no way to stop this freight train....

Anonymous said...

Actually this has been on the school board minutes and meeting agenda for the past few months. I think it is very sad that the only way the public is informed or aware of such by nasd is by the above mentioned. And for those of us without computers or cannot attend meetings out of luck. THIS is where I am thankful for newsovercoffee because even if articles are read by someone else word of mouth can pass it along. The field and farmland for the ms we have now was also taken by eminent domain and the field for baseball at the Nazareth Boro Park. There looks to be room for playing fields at the ms now that we have. CERTAINLY the Kellers just sold many arces of land for another housing development...too bad nasd or the Kellers they did not make them an offer to sell or buy there land for nasd playing fields. Instead they want to steal right away from long time residents and respectable business owners in our very own Nazareth community. This land is still owned by the Calandra's, who one day could of exercised the option to expand and if nasd grabs it that option is gone. Plus farming the land also gave the local farmer a bit of a profit too.

Anonymous said...

The following board members are up for reelection this year: President Donald Keller (Region III), Vice President Kenneth Butz (Region I), Angela M. Callie, and Thomas K. Maher. It’s time for a change and this website is a perfect platform for new candidates to come forward. As per an earlier post on this site, candidates interested in running for school board need to file by March 6. Sometime (it wasn’t entirely clear) before the week of Feb 13, petitions required for filing would be available through the Northampton County Commission of Elections. Interested candidates can contact the office at (610) 559-3055.

lori bernardo said...

This is an outrage!!! Condemnation??? What is to condemn?? It is a beautiful open space!!! There must be other options. The community should rise up and support the Calandra's on this one.

I am sure that all the great minds in history did not become that way because they attended a sprawling suburban campus. Learning comes from books and life experiences, not elaborate buildings or playing fields.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:27 has it right. It is time we find candidates to oppose these people, and at the grass roots, rally support behind them.

It is time we take back control of our district.

If we remove at least one of these poeple (Keller would be ideal), we can send one heck of a message to the rest.

There is a lot of open space in the area, and to selectively "grab" this parcel goes against everything we should stand for.

Yes, they will be compensated. But, the point is, they don't WANT to sell the property.

If you live next to any open space in the area that could possibly be developed, this should scare you.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately nasd did not grab the School House Terrace Apts has a steal deal when they had the chance in the past. Sore subject with taxpayers back then. Yes the next in line to be built after the new ms and (up in air) maybe before or after the sprawling state of the art new gym center will be...a new elem school. Dr. Lesky mention at a meeting that will probably be in the northern end of Upper Naz. Maybe they should conquer and devour Tuskes new develop after he gets in the water and sewer. And boy lo boy the racetrack area even has some blenchers left and much land for numerous fields. Why not grab that too.

Anonymous said...

I think that 12:27 had it right. It is time for all 4 to go. DK has too many conflicts of interest that have been evident in the past (the NASD tax payers paying for the Borough baseball field renovations). He is the Engineer for the Borough and the Municipal Authortiy. He is also extremely arrogant and self-serving. This is not meant to be mudslinging but it is his personality and he has not been good for NASD. I hope this website will keep the public informed about potential candidates in the various regions.

Cindy Werner said...

In the case of the municipal building in Nazareth, the citizen's committee was formed.

Someone should take control and form a citizen's committee for this issue as well.

You will need people from the borough who love this town, people from the school district who love education in it's pure form, and people from the entire naz area who think both of the above create a need to do alot of hard work to stop the plan as it now stands.

Alternative thinking and planning can and should be considered before this plan comes to be a reality.

It will be alot of time, headaches, and frustration, but it can and should be stoped and changed to a more acceptable plan for the taxpayers and the students. Good education does not depend on fancy buildings and sports complexes.

Etc, Etc, Etc.......

Anonymous said...

What a disgrace---we want want want so we take take take--what a message NASD is providing our children--get what you want anyway you can---guy moves here from Italy makes a go of it in America working hard building that American dream and years down the road we just take over 1/2 his land so our kids have fields to play on---I for one would be ashamed to have my kids play on a field I forced anyone to sell against their wishes-its their land! So the question is what can we do to tell the board we don't want land that way--I mean taxpayer $ is paying for that land so shouldn't we have a say? Jan 22nd at 7:30 but how many voices needed to get the message across?

Anonymous said...

This is incredulous!!

Why take property from an unwilling owner when there are other sites available?

Why force the taxpayers to pay for school extras that they do not want?

Why does the board seem so closed-minded?

What is this new school really about?

Nazareth is an amazing place to live. What makes it so is not just it's history or open spaces or architecture, it's the people who live here. We need to come together as a community and right these wrongs. Our opportunity for change is the next school board election. We need candidates and we need people willing to vote these new candidates into office.

Anonymous said...

A little food for thought.

There is a 140 acre tract of land in Upper Nazareth that would be fantastic for building a school campus. They could put everything in that they want (eventually) and not have to worry about room to spread.

The owner of this property? Why, none other than the Keller clan.

I suggest we start condemnation proceedings to grab this land for our new school.

I find it absolutely disgusting that Keller is willing to grab another person's property when they don't want to sell it, yet he happily sits on a large chunk waiting for the right developer to offer him the best price he can get.

Anonymous said...

Keller already sold much land to developers. I am not sure if it was in Lower Naz or Upper Naz. Mrs. Keller's father that had owned some of the land they inherited. Oddly, funny when she sat on the board and was supervisor for Upper Naz, she was against building more houses and the Tuskes development. Now, here they are quick make the buck and get rid of it maybe before the nasd takes it. If they still have the land, liek to see they give it up to the district.
How dare the nasd take away from hard working citizens of our communtiy for the rights to own and create playing fields. They took the boro park fr baseball, yet keep the really in need of repair stands as such. I suprised all these board members are that insensitive. Message to kids, if you bully and steal your way through life: ...you will get what you want. Spoiled brats to take against someone will.
And what about the clipper field they promised the community to use. After Tuskes finishes his development in Upper Naz with the fields he promised. Good bye to the Clipper field for totally district usage only. How many homes and properties along the end of 5th St or North Campus parking lot will nasd take or need for the new gym complex or to build the new bridge. The bridge is not even consider yet in cost plans.

Anonymous said...

Too bad we can't withold our tax dollars and tell the schoolboard we don't want our money used to buy land the Calandra's don't want to sell: nor do we want our tax dollars spent on nonessential frill items.

Anonymous said...

As Marie Antoinette told the minions "Let them eat cake". The Nazareth School Board is telling the Calandra's "Let them east cheese".

Keller doesn't want top sell the land because he wants to host Civil War reenactments while he sings show tunes. Brokeback Don!

Carol Keller said...

Don't you just love all the anonymous people? If you make comments have the guts to sign your names. It is a motto I have always followed, although it has gotten me in trouble from time to time. Ah, the price of honesty.
Let me first deal with the issue of land sales concerning my late father and myself. To address Anonymous, who suggested the Kellers donate land for sports fields, both my late father and myself twice offered to donate (for free) land for recreaction to Upper Nazareth Township. We were turned down twice. Also my father and I sold only a small fraction of our land. The remainder is still actively farmed. However if Upper Nazareth Township and the Nazareth COG succeed in changing the zoning to Farmland Preservation our land and that of other farmers will be devalued by 90%, all in the name of OPEN SPACE. Who needs Eminent Domain? Where are all the "anonymous" people when farmers are being robbed of their land? Farmers work 365 days a year (unlike teachers) and have no corporate 401K plans or healthcare. (please note this for all of you who live on your 1/4 acres lots that were formerly farmers fields)
As for my term as a supervisor in Upper Nazareth Township, Mr/Mrs Anonymous - get your facts correct. I opposed 1800 apartments on the Tuskes Property, not single family housing. I served on the negotiating team that brought 37 acres of recreaction facilities to a township that would never have been able to afford such a complex. Oh, the total of amenities to UNT from the Tuskes Organization is in excess of 3 million dollars (including a rec building, sports fields, a maintenance garage and a much needed traffic light) - not $1 of taxpayer cost.
Concerning the current NASD Board of Directors, namely "DK" and others - I challenge the voting public to find QUALIFIED candidtates willing to give countless hours of their time to this thankless job of school director. For those misinformed individuals, there is NO compenstation- for those less educated that mean no pay! Therefore conflict of interest seems a difficult concept with no money involved.(Also we have no children in the NASD so no favors or personal agendas either.) Mr. Keller and fellow board members have the unenviable task, (that means not nice) of balancing demands of parents who want free guitar lessons, swim instruction, lacrosse,etc for their children at the expense of all taxpayers including those on fixed incomes.
To address "Keeping things hidden" how many of you attend public meetings whether municipal or NASD? Almost no one- unless of course you have your own personal "wants" to bring before the board.
Let me ask you, Mr/Mrs Anonymous- when was the last time you volunteered your time for the benefit of this community? You would be "hard-pressed" to find 2 more community minded people than my husband and myself. BUT- feel free to search for dedicated candidates to serve in these positions and take the abuse my husband and I have taken over the years while trying to serve our community and the residents of the Nazareth Area.

Anonymous said...

Maybe if you and your husband weren't such raging a$$holes you wouldn't have taken abuse over the years.

Stuff that in your pipe and smoke it!

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Keller,

The fact that your husband is more than willing to take a person's land in the name of NASD is beyond anything I can think of. I don't care that the family will be compensated. The fact is they don't want to sell, and that should be the end of it. But I guess it is screw your neighbor week on the NASD Board.

I ask you, how would you feel if someone decided to sieze your property under eminent domain? It could happen. Would you sit there and say OK, or would you fight it?

He (and the rest of the board) are spending my money like there is no tomorrow. Maybe he (they) should read up on fiscal responsibility and learn how to budget MY tax dollars. I don't have the option to sell a chunk of acreage for dollars that you have.

They are not the Lords of Nazareth, and they need to start listening to the people. I am sure you all had big grins on your face when the tone on this site was in favor of the boards actions.

Now, it looks like maybe a little heat coming in your direction is a more than you can stand.

Anonymous said...

The problem with the school board is that they are making decisions that the public does not support (i.e., the pool, eminent domain of Calandras). I understand it's a non-compensatory position to be on the school board and a lot of tough financial decisions need to be made…but come on, maybe the school board should think about making the decisions on all the necessities and leave the extras up to the taxpayer via a voter referendum.

Mrs. Keller, unfortunately, your elitist, patronizing post did more harm to you and your husband’s public image than anything else posted on this site.

Anonymous said...

Mrs Keller.....in the best interest of Ross's wish of keeping this blog repsectful I will make no other comment to your post other than to say that don't think your unneeded, disrespectful comment on teachers went unnoticed.

Anonymous said...

People of sick of living in Kellertown. Zoning, Boro Engineer, School Board, Supervisor.

You got your hand in too many pots and your making a mess of all of them.

Don't go away mad ... just go away.

Anonymous said...

I don't think we need to launch personal attacks agains the Kellers on this site.

However, I agree Anon 4:47 is correct about the completely off topic stab at the teachers. Maybe Mrs. Keller should have joined in the discussion around the teachers and their contract before it was a done deal.

But I digress. Mr. Keller and the board are making decision that affect peoples lives, and they are doing the way they want, not to the benefit of the citizens of this area.

Putting me in debt for the next couple of decades is not what I was looking for when I moved to this district. Nor were the declining education standards.

Now the Mrs. Keller has spoken up, and we now know that she is reading NOC, maybe Mr. Keller would oblige us by trying to defend the board's rationale for going after a person's personal property.

I am sure there are a number of developers out there that would view 140 acres as a great development location, and I am quite sure that some of them could easily use eminent domain through which to sieze them. After all, it wouldn't be hard for them to show how they could add substantially to the tax base by developing that land.

After all, after the board gets through ramming their budget through, we are going to need all the tax base we can get to pay for it.

Anonymous said...

The reson for the attacks is that everyone probably has been screwed over by Keller or knows someone who has.

You reap what you sow farmer Keller.

Anonymous said...

Here is one other thought for Mr. and Mrs. Keller.

Mrs. Keller stated that on two occasions they tried to donate the land to Upper Nazareth Township.

Well, here is your chance to step up to the plate and donate the land to the school district. Since your husband is president of the board, I am sure he can grease the skids to get it through.

Plus, you would be saving us taxpayers the $600+K on the purchase of the land in questions. Heck, we might even put your name on a new building erected on the property.

Anonymous said...

PLEASE look at the facts.

Calandra absolutley WANTS TO SELL. IF not then why would they have subdivided their lot last year into two lots? One contains the factory/store the other 7.23 acres of vacant land with no buildings. They are also quoted in the paper as saying the negotiations for the sale started over two years ago, but they were insulted by the low ($55,000 per acre) offer. Now the family wants more than the fair market value of the land which according to the highest appraisal obtained is over $108,000 per acre. WAKE UP Mr Public, the Calandra's are just negotiating for a higher price. Seems like the price is already too high!

Anonymous said...

WHOA!!! this is getting nasty.I at least give Mrs. Keller credit for identifying herself which is more than we "anonymousers"are doing. Perhaps one of us will be BRAVE enough to step forth and put our NAMES on the ballot for election to schoolboard. sounds like you would have alot of support

Anonymous said...

Ross and Brad

I see a few problems with your suggestion that a new k-6 school be built. Building 1 new school would not alleviate the issue. The problem is that each elementary school is overburdened. If a new k-6 school was built it would mean massive redistricting and end up proving more costly that this option.

Anonymous said...

Seems like many of the posters to this sight must believe that all the other members of the school board and adminstration have absolutly no opinion on these matters at all. Becasue from what I am reading they all must just sit silent, not offer their opinion and unquestionably do everything that Mr Keller tells them to do.
Do you posters also give him all the credit for all the good things that happen in this district?

Anonymous said...

If you could name one good thing about the district I could tell you whether I give him credit for it.

Anonymous said...

Your venom is getting a little out of control!

Anonymous said...

The suggestion to seize the Keller property on Newburg Road for the good of the community was intended to solicit a reaction.

Mrs. Keller, you should have been angered by the suggestion. Unfortunately for you and your husband you expressed it with a little less grace than expected.

The suggestion was merely thrown out there to see how you would feel if it was your property targeted. Your property should not be taken from you the same as the Calandras property should not be taken from them. You were clearly enraged by the suggestion, imagine how the Caladras feel.

The property owner should decide what they are willing to accept for their property and if they want to negotiate a higher price-- that is their right as an owner of real property. We ALL exercise that right everytime we place our homes on the market.

The reality is that there is so much available open space in many parts of NASD, why would anyone think of resorting to eminent domain for a school site? It is clearly an abuse of power.

Anyone out there sitting on 5-7 acres that they are willing to sell to the NASD for roughly $640K?

Brad Moulton said...

First of all.... whoa! Where did all the "hostility" come from?!

Anon 6:18-

A new K-6 school would no doubt require redistricting. Of course, the NASD is looking at doing this on Jan 18th of this month anyway (They have a building utilization meeting scheduled for that night and Dr. Lesky has mentioned in past meetings that I've attended that they will be looking at moving kids around).

No, a new K-6 school would alleviate the need for more auditoriums, massive gynasiums, TV rooms, etc. I cannot say I know all the figures, but I would think that it would be cheaper than what we have proposed in front of us now.

One question I have: It has been mentioned that the current MS is not set up to teach "team based concepts" (or something like that). The new(er) proposed MS will be designed for this type of instruction. What happens in 10 years when this form of instruction is no longer in vogue? I'm not saying it will be or won't be, I'm just saying it seems like we're chasing the latest "fad"...

Always signing my name....

Brad

NewsOverCoffee said...

Guess it wasn't the best day not to have access to posts most of the day.

While this topic is emotional and has obviously bothered a lot of people as much as it did me when I read it, please don't attack individuals, if you must attack please do so against their ideas/decisions.

Also, no need to demean people or attack them for posting anonymously. It is an open forum for discussion and everyone is welcome to post. I only ask that everyone keep it on topic and don't attack or flame individuals.

Seeing as there is so much to respond to, I'll only reply to the one comment directed to me and that is in regard to the k-6 solution.

Neither the new MS or K6 option address 9-12, only k-8.

There will be redistricting for next year. All 4th and 5th graders will be moved with the MS plan which will increase transportation costs, and is a massive redistricting in and of itself.

LNES and Bushkill are overcrowded, Shafer can accept 100 more students without disruption according to Mr. Mudlock.

Currently LNES can take 625, Bushkill 750, Shafer 825, and the MS 1256 for a total of 3456.

The current school enrollment in these grades is 3,084.

The new MS would accommodate 1340 for two grades.

A new elementary school could be made to accommodate as many as we'd like but let's say we build it for 1000.

It is fewer students than the new MS plan, but we'd be able to house up to 4,456 vs. current enrollment of 3084. We've been growing by 100 students per year k-12 (and we're only dealing with k-8 in this scenario) The elementary school option would cover us at current growth rates for 14 years or more.

Further, k6 reduces transportation costs because more students will live closer to each building.

Operational costs are not as high because elementary doesn't have the administrative overhead of secondary.

Finally, the building cost and space needs are less because we wouldn't be building more auditoriums, spectator gyms, pools, all weather tracks etc.

Consider the new MS that is being planned will house up to 1,340 students or two grade level classes of 670 students each. The largest in the district today is 9th grade with 429 followed by 7th grade with 414.

I think the K6 concept not only meets the need, but it does so at significant savings compared to the new MS.

The one thing the K6 plan doesn't do is provide a campus with new athletic facilities, those would have to come under a separate plan as they once did in the building projects plan the NASD presented.

Anonymous said...

Toning back the hostility, one has to ask, why this particular piece of property?

With all the open space in the district, why does the district want this one parcel of land?

It is of finite space, which means that there is basically no possibility for future expansion upon it.

If the district were to purchase a larger piece of property, then any new expansion could be added to the parcel that is already owned. And let's face facts, most likely real estate values will eventually rebound, and in the future, we will only have to pay more. Beign a realist, I know that we eventually will have to add new facilities to the district.

Once again, it appears that the district (as in the ENTIRE board, not just Keller), is being short sighted.

The area (particularly Lower Nazareth) continues to put in these sprawling truck terminals that take up huge patches of land and employ relatively few people, but add to the congestion on our roads. More important, they most likely add very little to the overall tax base.

Instead of putting in yet another terminal, acquire one of these large parcels (through an above the board real estate transaction, not a land grab), and set aside enough for future growth.

Let's face facts, if this board ran a major corporation (or any corporation for that matter), it would be down the tubes at this point.

Stop thinking about everything in terms of what it means this second and look at the bigger future picture and make your decision based on that.

Peter the Great said: "I will build the mill here, but there is not water to power it. This will better force my successor to build the river to the mill by which to power it".

Anonymous said...

in that vein Brad my husband went to Lower Naz elem when it was open concept classrooms in the late 70's-80's -lots of $$ spent redoing it to make it into a traditional classroom setup with walls-so you may have a point as to whether we are catering to a fad--

Anonymous said...

Mrs Keller-I will agree that you and your husband receive a great deal of abuse. I imagine it is difficult with all the time you both have volunteered to the community. Given your condescending (that means looking down on someone-sorry I couldn't resist that one) tone you displayed in your blog you may want to look inward to determine as to why you are such a public target as you say. Additionally I find it unconscionable (that means beyond belief-sorry couldn't resist again :) that you would take a jab at our educators in comparing them to farmers given your husband's position but you are honest as you stated at the beginning of your blog. In conclusion telling the 1/4 acre lot homeowners to consider the results of Farmland Preservation makes no connection for me-maybe you could clarify ( means make clear or explain) oops again sorry-I will remain anonymous given DK's position ---

NewsOverCoffee said...

Now I am getting a bit off topic, but to make the point of chasing a fad, look at block scheduling.

We jumped on that one at the HS and now seem to be paying the price with declining math scores in PSSA (thanks to Brad for his research into the raw numbers).

And yes, I spent one year in LNES with the open concept environment. Laying on the floor for class, divided by a wheeled teacher station with a chalkboard attached to it you could see the other teachers feet and hear the click of the chalk as that person wrote and your own teacher talked.

Not exactly conducive to learning. And as you point out costly to correct.

Anonymous said...

Block scheduling school districts are now unblocking math for all year round 40-55 minutes of math daily. Also, with all the benefits of phy ed and exercising, our students should have gym class all school year and not just for 1/2 of the school year. Yes, math scores at nasd are really pathic at the 11th grade level. How can one justify it is okay to not working math problems anywhere from 6-12 months. If your student has math 1st semester of grade 10 and not again til second semester grade 11, that is a whole year with out math practice. We are need to wake up and smell the coffee. It is our teachers who educate our children. The comment made in reference to teachers which was clearly "shooting at the hip" from above was totally uncalled for(more so when you consider the source).

Anonymous said...

Maybe nasd could buy the land from Palmer Twsp that runs next to the middle school now for the extra fields they want.

Anonymous said...

If someone is bold enough(?)to call someone an unflattering name, that someone should be bold enough to sign his own name. and some of us ought to go back to spelling class!!!

Anonymous said...

If someone is bold enough(?)to call someone an unflattering name, that someone should be bold enough to sign his own name. and some of us ought to go back to spelling class!!!

Chris Miller said...

The Calandra's are fighting a tough battle here. The school does have the right of eminent domain, a right that has been liberally interpreted by the courts all the way up to the US Supreme. If a government entity claims to need the land for the "public good" it can claim the land and pay a "reasonable price". The Board has not offered to pay a reasonable price, would be my guess. In today's market the Calandra's should be getting fair market value for their land. But more importantly, the Board should abandon their plans for a Sports area. Why in the world are we spending millions upon tens of millions for new schools and sports fields with things like astro-turf particularly when you consider that the pros are going back to grass.
The member of the Anonymous family who posted that we need new members on the Board is correct. Then we need to see lots of people attend Board meetings. The Board is going to listen to those who marshal their forces and turn out to present their request. Thus the Board is considering a pool. The pool is not the issue but the Board will throw it over board to save the real items and that is the school and the sports arena. Maybe we need to go back and ask ourselves the purpose of education. Is it to have fancy buildings with lots of gyms and a media room for a television studio? Or is school the place you go to get an education and exposure to ideas that cause you and teach you to think.
Are schools the place we go for big athletic complexes so that Dick adn Jane can win an athletic scholarship because it, along with crippling student loans, is the only way Dick and Jane will get through college since Mom and Dad are working to pay the taxes to the school district and other levels of government.
We are at a cross roads on this issue. We need to stop the Board from passing this project. We need to get rid of some Board members and install fiscally conservative individuals. We need to continue to attend meetings and never let this get this far out of hand again.

Anonymous said...

hey 10:43/44 double poster-what name and what misspelling? just curious and make yours computer class

NewsOverCoffee said...

New day, big breathe, count to 10 (maybe 100), and could we all please stop nit-picking one another and name calling.

Let's put the focus back on the fact that the NASD itself claimed to have reviewed 50 properties with 20+ acres each and chose the one that would provide them with a campus where they could build a building that would house two grades.

The building would have a capacity of up to 1340 students for two grades, thereby allow each grade to have up to 670 students at a time when the largest current class in the district is 429 (9th grade) followed by 414 (7th).

They have chosen to create an additional transition year, increase traffic in the Tatamy, East Lawn, Friedenstahl area, and increase logistics problems for parents.

They have further chosen a building that requires redundant facilities and have opted to create new athletic fields surrounding the building. The building also has higher annual operating costs than an elementary building would.

Finally, in order to make this plan work they need to raise taxes, borrow $50 million that won't be paid off for 30 years and they will need to take 2/3 of a families property against their will.

No name calling necessary - and I should point out there is more than one person responsible for all this. It is a collective body of the school board and administration.

I'd encourage everyone who disagrees with this plan to send email and attend the next School Board Meeting.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how much the Calandra's paid for their land in the first place?

Trifster said...

Wow...I go and do some house chores one day and the comments "blow up". I am very much against the use of eminent domain when there seems so many options that would work despite being what the NASD wants. Let's be proactive in not electing officials willing to use that. That includes reshaping members of local governments and the school board. I suggest the proper local jurisdiction create some laws (ordinences) that tie prohibitive penalties against the NASD if the choose to use eminent domain.

Trifster said...

You can try NC Pub to find any tax record. It's a very fun, powerful site. You'll need the street address.

Anonymous said...

What the Calandras originally paid for their land is irrelevent.

NewsOverCoffee said...

Thanks to Trifster for pointing out that the NC Pub site is back up and running (it had been offline for a while and I did't expect it back so I stopped checking).

Regarding the property, the Calandras ought to do what they want with the land. If they want to sell that is there choice. If not, that choice ought to be respected.

As I said before, taking 2/3 of someone's property who doesn't want to sell (for whatever reason) is not the right thing to do, despite the fact that you can get away with it legally.

To compare what they paid and what they are being offered isn't fair, because they aren't being given a choice. It's take what we offer and agree to sell, or we'll take it from you and you'll get what you get.

Again, the NASD stated in their Act 34 report that there were 50 properties with 20+ acres available that were reviewed.

Why chose this one?

It's wrong to try to blame the Calandras. They didn't ask for this. They were willing to talk and consider. They didn't like what they heard. Now in at least one persons mind they are the bad guys? This doesn't seem fair or right.

Amy said...

As the daughter of Donald Keller, I believe that this name calling and slandering is ridiculous... Reading these blogs, it sounds like a bunch of petty, jealous, High Schoolers who haven't taken a conflict management course ever. I'm only 22 and know that issues get resolved a lot easier without bringing name-calling and personal attacks to the platform.

To talk about the subject on hand, the land is a desired sight for a building that focuses on children's education and well-being. If you're opposed to the sports facilities and fancy buildings, fine... that's you're opinion. I'm sure there is a large part of the community who would be gracious to see those plans be implemented.

As a graduate of NAHS, High School isn't solely based on the classes you take or the teachers you have. It is about the total experience you have during those four years; whether it's playing sports, being a member of various clubs, or joining the band/chorus. Yes, I learned many things in HS, but it was the experience of being part of a team, learning social skills, and having incentives to want to do better in school that made me who I am today. I understand there are those students who all they do is study and go to school. That's fine too, but there are many school organizations that need places to hold their meetings, bring in public speakers, etc.

In closing, I think it would be great for the student's of Nazareth to reap the benefits of these proposed facilities, which will better their learning foundation as a whole.

However, whether or not Calandra's wish to sell their property, I can't answer that (because I am not Calandras). And unless they have personally commented on this site, I don't think anyone should be speaking for them.

If you want to see changes, or don't like the people in charge, then I suggest you go to the meetings and voice your opinion. You can bitch and complain all you want on here, but is it REALLY solving anything?

Anonymous said...

I am new to this website and find it to be a great resource to the community. I have some questions about the buildings meeting on January 18th. Where and when is the meeting being held? Can it be attended by community members?

Anonymous said...

Playing fields do not educate students. Needs over wants is the issue. As a district we do not need all the extras, folks like you might enjoy them and that is fine, certainly as a district, if we had extra $$ and not in debt maybe then. But as far as it goes we can do with less and still have a decent schools and gyms and sport fields. Trimming and planning is the key not overbuilding and overly expensive. Some of us are on fixed incomes and middle class. Are taxes are going up high anyway. For true opinion about these building wants and cost...put it to the voters on the ballot.

NewsOverCoffee said...

The redistricting meeting is at the administration building at 7:00 p.m.

You can view a calendar of school meetings at this link.

NewsOverCoffee said...

And yes it is open to the public.

Anonymous said...

I agree we need a new stadium with astroturf and all the amenities (beer sales too?).

But first we need a football team that is worthy of it.

Anonymous said...

it is almost funny how everyone blames DK for this mess witht he land purchase. did anyone ever thinkthat maybe it was another board member who came up with the idea? obviously not since all was directed at the kellers. if you people would go to the board meetings maybe you would get your stories straight. of course the with all these negative blogs the real individual who made the suggestion will not stand up. we are so eager to put the blame on one person just because you don't like the person. where were all you big mouths when the middle school was being built, no one ever said a word about the handpainted tiles that were put into that school or the expensive lighting used and then more lights being needed because the expensive ones served no purpose. that was a totally different school board, but noone said a word then. did anyone ever wonder why the MS is green, well let's see could it have been because that was the favorite color of a school board member at the time.

no one is taking away the Calanra's business they plan on selling the land anyway that is why it was subdivided.

NewsOverCoffee said...

Again, there is no need for people to be constantly bashing one another or anyone, and it isn't constructive at all.

I'd also like to point out that while there may have been 30 different people who posted here, you can't say they reflect the thoughts of everyone who reads the posts on this site, which has been about 200 per day.

Many more are interested in finding out what is happening, what options are out there, and what may be happening.

Again, a few people making remarks does not equate to everyone. The NASD administration and school board are responsible - each and every person, no exceptions.

So please, if there is nothing to contribute except to attack someone or everyone let it go. We don't need to read it.

Anonymous said...

AMEN

Anonymous said...

Again many of us did speak out in the past with the building of the current ms and huge auditorium as it stands now. No one cared to listen and or act. Unfortunately here unless you bring a huge amount of voices with you to the meetings, most issues do not go public and those taxpayers who do place concerns or complaints are swept under the carpet or told they would later get a reply and never did or do.

As far as sub dividing, it is not unusual for lots, acres, or business owners to sub divide. Ever think of wanting to build on or put faimly houses on the land or sell the land to builders. Fact remains, nasd does not need all the luxuries that a school cannot afford at this point and it is against the will of owners to sell. I do not see where nasd would make these fields public. look what happen to the baseball field at the Naz Park.

Anonymous said...

Awhile back at one of the school board meetings..Mr Maher was adamant questioning the nasd and other board " Are we going to short change ourselves by building with less classroom space and building size when other options for sale would of allowed for more students per square footage on large lots elsewhere. Kind of like we are boxing ourselves in and limited our student numbers. Dr Lesky and other members responsed with the cost would be so vast to bus students out into the township areas.

Anonymous said...

Amy
While it is indeed admirable for you to defend your parents, I would just like to say that your mother's post was not exactly free from inappropriate digs and jabs...especially against teachers.
That being said, you also make the claim that "I'm sure there is a large part of the community who would be gracious to see those plans be implemented." At this time I would like to hear from the large part of the community that is in favor of this plan. Please post your feelings.

Anonymous said...

Ross-Just out of curiosity, is 62 comments the record? If not what is the #, if you know? Obviously a very heated subject-think it hits the nerve many of us have been feeling of being somewhat helpless to the whims of those with power. They will build the schools as they deem fit, and will take others land by forcing a sale to build that school-

Anonymous said...

WOW, this is getting very heated.

To Mr. Keller, you are taking a beating in the public, but speaking with a first hand experience from you I am not surprised. I have no respect for you and the leaders of this district. You loss my respect by the arrogant way you addressed me in a recent school board meeting. You think that you are the only intelligent person within this district!!!

It is time you get off your high horse and realize your time and damage is done. The school board is in need of new representation. I hope that those who are so willing to speak up here on a blog site, start coming to the meetings and speak up in public.

NewsOverCoffee said...

In regard to the NOC record in the first four months I had a total of 57 comments.

A reasonable post response is up to a dozen.

I've a fair number that hit the low 20s and one that nearly hit 30.

But nothing like this before.

To say the topic hit a nerve would be an understatement.

Anonymous said...

I for one can say I am not going to be gracious for plans of the new ms and future gym complex $$$$ Enrollment and spacing issues with a new building could be planned using the best spacing for future development and growth. Again over and over it is written needs before wants.

Anonymous said...

This site is a good way to air our frustrations and views, but the only thing that will get results is a personal comittment by alot of people. We need to get together and have a plan of action to make the school board respect the wishes of the people who put them there.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully there should be close to 62 very concerned citizens at the next schoolboard meeting.
Hopefully there will be many MORE.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:46 PM ...

You were treated in an arrogant manner by Don Keller? Now there is a surprise!

The funny thing is you stated that he thinks he is the only intelligent person in the district. In actuality, DK isn't that intelligent. If he were he would be able to accomplish things with much more class and dignity instead of being a bully and talking down to people.

It is time that this area rids themselves of this pariah. Let him stay in Upper Nazareth and continue to contour his property so that the runoff heads directly in to the trailer park across the street.

Anonymous said...

How can we get together if we all remain anonymous?!?!?!

Anonymous said...

For one I can say there has been many who are not happy with the run off problems the boro faces either.

sebring said...

and the degrading continues. I really hope all of you have the guts to go to the school board meetings and show your faces. it is very easy to point fingers and call people names when you hide behind comments without leaving your name.

Michael Ohrwashel said...

I think we need to move the school board and administration into the borough police department building. Then we can re-convert the old middle school into classrooms. To avoid the Calandra dilemma - let's convert the borough park into a world class athletic facility with tunnels and a monorail system connecting it to the school campus.

Perhaps the best idea may be to build a new floating campus in the old Essroc quarry.

And I'm not afraid to sign my name. :-)

Gene said...

hello and say your prayers

Anonymous said...

What does this previous comment mean?

Anonymous said...

hi again

Anonymous said...

Keep praying

Anonymous said...

1) The Calandra's land has never been for sale, regardless of subdividing the building / open land. Has anybody seen a For Sale sign in the 30 years they've been there?
2) When your taxes double in the next 3 years, are you going to be able to afford your house?
3) "both my late father and myself twice offered to donate (for free) land for recreaction to Upper Nazareth Township. We were turned down twice. Also my father and I sold only a small fraction of our land."
Mrs. Keller: Why did they turn you down? can't quite fathom that. You and your father CHOSE to sell the land at a market price. And you only "sold a small fraction" of your land, but let's take 70% of the land the Calandra's own.???

Serving on the Board for no compensation is admirable...it is a thankless job, like the coaches who put countless hours in, like people who volunteer in our community.

4) "Let me ask you, Mr/Mrs Anonymous- when was the last time you volunteered your time for the benefit of this community? You would be "hard-pressed" to find 2 more community minded people than my husband and myself. BUT- feel free to search for dedicated candidates to serve in these positions and take the abuse my husband and I have taken over the years while trying to serve our community and the residents of the Nazareth Area."
Mrs. Keller - there are many individuals who donate both thier time and $ anonymously. Please don't think you are the only "community minded individuals" in town. The issue is the affordability of taxes, the neccessity of these facilities and the (uncompensated) school boards belief that they can take any land in town, even if it is not for sale.

Anonymous said...

Annon 10:06

I want to agree with your comments especially #4. There are many people within the community who give of their money and time to volunteer in many areas. These include for example the YMCA, schools, churches and community sport leagues and many others.

Most people who volunteer do so not to have their name broadcasted as a wonderful volunteer. They give up their time and money for areas they feel are important and where they can make a difference. I take offense to the comments of Mrs. Keller, where I think she feels that she and her husband are the only ones who are volunteering and making a difference.

I think most people volunteer as a nameless face in the public eyes. As the bible states In Matthew 6 "So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you

Anonymous said...

I know you don't get paid, but I don't consider what the Keller's do volunteering. They want something - mainly power and control.

You want to volunteer? Go coach a youth sports team where you are not related to anyone on the squad. Go deliver meals on wheels. Drive into Allentown and work in a soup kitchen.

If you do so - do it anonomously. Perhaps you alread do, but I highly doubt it.

Anonymous said...

Here are some simple truths that are being ignored:

1. DK is only 1 member of a 9-member board. How is it that all these anonymous individuals know that he singularly is responsible for this land acquisition decision? (News flash- he isn't)
This is obviously only an opportunity for those 'anonymous' to bash someone the just don't like, for whatever reason, real or imaginary. How sad this reflects on the so-called community.

2. Those of us who played sports and participated in extra curricular activities, band, cheerleading, whatever, know we learned as much if not more than we did in any classroom. Some of lifes most important lessons are learned here and NOT in a classroom. Somehow, I think those speaking out against any school function beyond the 'classroom' were those who participated in nothing and now sit, shall I say blog blobs, in front of a computer and try to tell us RR&A is the sole function of our schools. By the way, parents - if our schools didn't provide these activities, you might need to spend some quality time with your kids. Thank God for teachers and coaches. Thank God for all the fine young men & women they helped mold and some they helped 'unmold' from narrow-minded parents.

3. If any of you actually attended any district meetings you would know:

The District asked for community input 2 years ago in developing the strategic planning for this school. Very few of you volunteered. Now you claim there was no community input? This committee of TAXPAYERS strongly recommended the 7-8 building, NOT another elementary building. Find out who actually did contribute on your behalf before you cast stones. This decision wasn't made solely by the NASD.

The District conducted an extensive field utilization study, which supports the decision for an artificial field as a huge savings in the long run. All teams; football, soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, band, phys Ed classes AND community teams will be able to use the field without turning into a brown mud hole.

Of the many properties considered, the Board could have either purchased or condemned many of these. The site was chosen for it's favorable price AND location. FAVORABLE price WITHOUT condemnation. Understand that?

I could go on.... but I find it ironic that a community, know for it's quality, the result of decisions from past generations, feels it so limited now in it's resources and so narrow minded in it's view (at least on this site). One BIG thing to remember, Nazareth property values are some of the highest in Lehigh & Northampton Counties. Why? The result of an excellent school system. Why? The result of a responsible Board and quality administration. When you realize your biggest personal assets are your home, in town or in the townships, the SD is one of the biggest contributors to this value. Your investment in the NASD is an investment in YOURSELVES. Quality schools bring higher property values and a higher quality citizenry. Maybe some of you really want to become Allentown or Reading someday. Failing schools with crime and other quality of life issues.

Wake up and smell your 'coffee' over news. No solution ever satisfies everyone. Make a sacrifice to the future like those in the past who have made Nazareth what it is today.

Anonymous said...

I agree wholeheartedly!!

Anonymous said...

I agree totally. Well said.

Anonymous said...

I don't feel you are making a fair assessment of the majority of people in this community. We elect the officials who represent us. We are under the assumption that they will act in our best interests in regards to the school and the communities. Between jobs, work, family and other obligations the "average joe" does not have time to attend all the meetings. We are under the assumption that if a person runs for office it is their desire to put forth the time and effort to make the organizations run smoothly. What happened in Nazareth, and what is now happening with the school board is contrary to what the majority of the public desires to see happening. We are not oblivious to what is going on....we read the newspaper and this forum. We do indeed CARE about our communities and our schools. Sure, there may always be some decisions made that someone doesn't agree with. But we generally follow the will of our ELECTED officials. Yes, it does take a MAJOR issue to get people up in arms. We feel like the people who desired to serve us, and were chosen by us, will do just that. When our elected officials blatently go against the majority of voter's wishes they will, and do, react. And rightfully so. I don't look at this as a case of people not caring. It is a case of the trust of the electorate being left down by the officials we voted into office. Keep in mind that the people of Nazareth do value quality education. I liken your argument to the child who wants his parents to buy him a car. His parents agree that a car is needed and will be beneficial for thier son. What the parents have in mind is a good, solid reliable car.....say a used Honda Accord with low mileage. What their son has in mind is a flashy sports car with all the bells and whistles. Sure, a fancy car will make the kid happy and envious of his peers. But is it necessary when a less expensive, more reliable and gas efficient car is another option. I feel the majoriy of parents in this case will insist on the reliable car. To these parents, the appearance and flashiness of a car for their son is not as important as knowing their child has a decent, reliable car at a price they can afford. All the people of Nazareth are asking for is our school board to recognize the fact that we value education, we know additional facilities are needed....but please don't try to push a facilty on us that we can't afford....especially when other alternatives are available.

Anonymous said...

"Of the many properties considered, the Board could have either purchased or condemned many of these. The site was chosen for it's favorable price AND location. FAVORABLE price WITHOUT condemnation. Understand that?"

I guess NASD had better teachers when you went to school. I don't understand that
Favorable price? How could they have known the price of something that wasn't for sale?

Purchase? Webster defines purchase as:

"to obtain by paying money or giving other valuable consideration; specifically : to take (property) by a voluntary transaction"

Doesn't sound like a voluntary transaction to me.

"News over coffee"? The above parts of that post sound like "BS over bourbon"

Anonymous said...

To Anon 11:33,

My understanding is that the committee you referenced to, did not recommend building a 7/8 building. They recommended building a new 4/5/6 building. Their recommendation was to use the current middle school as the 7/8 building.

Maybe someone who served on this committee will speak up.

The input and recommendations from the committee were not taken and now the district is building the 7/8 building and will change the current middle school into the 4/5/6 building. No one has even talked about what the renovation of the current middle school will cost!!

NewsOverCoffee said...

11:33 makes some points that I'd like to respond to.

1. A few people posted that keller was responsible, as Board President he is in the most visible position. I agree that the entire board is responsible. Further, they shouldn't be using the committee as a crutch. The committee made a recommendation, the Board is the responsible body to make the decision. The committee was not given the option of k-6 elementary, only k-5. K-5 does not help the MS space issue, where as k-6 does. So you can't say the option I've recommended has been considered.

2. The point that I've been making and many have supported is that the primary focus is on the classroom, secondary to student activities and athletics, and then to all the overhead and additional needs. We seem to have this in the reverse order. I too participated in extra curricular activities and they have value, but not at the expense of an education. Our budget grew 10 million in two years without a new building, we are going to have 13 million debt service soon with the new building. We have an expenditure increase this year of about 10%, but under new law anything 5 or over will require a voter referendum. If the voters don't approve a tax hike, what do you think will get cut? Band, music, chorus, sports...we need to prevent that by being responsible with the money we commit for the next 30 years.

3. The Board is responsible for decisions, not the committee. The Board can receive input but it is their job to make the decision, not take an unpopular one and put it on a committee that met two years ago.

4. You seem to be saying that the Calandras were willing to sell and backed out. I'm not sure where you got your information, but there was no agreement with the calandras or they wouldn't be worried about eminent domain. The NASD got a cheap piece of land from the Cement Company that can't use it. That's fine take it and put your fields and parking lots here, but you don't need to squeeze in a building that doesn't better address our needs.

5. The perception is that we have top education, the PSSA scores tell us otherwise. We are all looking to correct that and putting ourselves in a position where we need to cut services to pay for our debt and fields isn't the way to do it. Our real estate is high, but we have too much residential and not enough business tax income, which means we need to be even more careful with our spending.

6. Most of us already sacrifice when we pay our tax bill (and then fundraise for every student activity). Can anyone recall the last time taxes didn't go up? There is a big difference between making a sacrifice and being the sacrificial lamb. I'm trying to avoid being the latter.

Anonymous said...

Extremely well put NOC.

Anonymous said...

Why do all these naysayers, dwell on the meaning of an amateur's evaluation of the variance of the PSSA test scores. I would love to hear his explanation of the numbers that show the extremely large increase in the percentage of NAHS graduates that go on to college. The district must be doing something right. Unless you can find a way to manipulate that to conform to your argument.

Anonymous said...

Response from Anon 11:33

Attend Monday night’s meeting and ask these questions in person. Dr. Lesky & Mr. Keller will surely give you straight and honest answers. They ARE members of YOUR community, not carpet baggers. (they also pay the same taxes (I hope LOL) There are MANY, MANY misconceptions and half truths being discussed about this new building, the Hercules site, Calandra parcel and the decision on selecting the 7-8 format. Ask the questions and get the answers in total. You should know by now the newspapers edit and appeal to the fringe aspects of every issue. Their job is to sell newspapers, not to solely spell out the facts. (Don't get me started on this issue)

Ask questions and also try to understand the design process and requirements imposed by the Department of Education. Some of your requests are not permitted by PDE and could jeopardize reimbursement on the project which in case you don't know will pay approximately 7% of the debt service over the next 25 years. Not a lot, but not chump change either.

Ask why businesses or wealthy individuals aren't interested in stepping forward to help the community (i.e. NASD) upgrade facilities? How does Andretti Field sound for example? Bethlehem Area SD has turned their stadium without a penny of tax dollars.

We all understand that taxes aren't our favorite issue. But neither is watching the price of a gallon of gas continually rise. The design of the new building approved by the Board (the individuals under scrutiny) will incorporate state of the art energy features to REDUCE operating costs. (a fiscally responsible directive in my mind)

NASD will be the first school in the area to recognize that it's buildings should be cost effective, energy efficient and earth friendly, all while attempting to upgrade the educational process, sometimes for students who DO NOT want to learn under any circumstances. Studies also prove that students who have parental tutoring at home have a distinct advantage in testing. Don't tell me many parents don't assist or can assist sometimes after the 4th grade level. We really have placed the burden of education onto the schools just like day care. then we complain about its cost. And that second job isn't always to pay taxes people, it's to buy the 2nd or 3rd car, the 50" plasma, etc. I don't buy that sob story.

You voices ARE being heard, will NOT be ignored and will be considered in the overall scheme of things. I'm counting on that (and I'm not a Board member or Administrator in the District)
However, there is much, much more to consider than the few issues under discussion on this site.

And lastly in regards to Calandra; Act 34 indicates that the SD must obtain 2 appraisals, which they did. The Board has offered slightly more $$ than the highest appraisal (I think). How many of you would scream if they paid above the appraised value and what the Calandra's really would sell the land for? You would rightly crucify the Board for paying above market value. They have been offered a fair price for only 1/2 half their undeveloped parcel, leaving the more valuable section on the corner of Friedenstahl & 191 intact. (suitable for a WAWA, not an expanded cheese store - did you know that possibility?) If the District does not acquire this portion, will you be upset if a McDonalds is built right next the school? Hey! - maybe this is a way to eliminate the cafeteria from the building! Imagine, no cafeteria and no kitchen, we'll save big bucks here!! Then the fields will mean more as the fattening of America continues! The kids can eat at Mickey D's each day, walk back to the track and work off all those calories. What a great idea and how many issues it resolves. See what creative thinking can achieve?!

Hope to see you all Monday night!!!

Anonymous said...

Most nasd like the boro park baseball field are off limits to the public. Calandra's does not want to sell their property. The new ms could certainly reduce its grand hall entrance way etc and cut back on many of the building extra fancies. When students services are threaten and other land areas are available for larger expandable schools..why are we cutting students short of services and educational needs for just satisfying the wants off a looking grand campus building with limts on growth already before it is built.

NewsOverCoffee said...

To 4:24, a college will take your money if your willing and able to pay it.

The PSSAs are a good measurement because all students (not only those planning to go to college) are required to take them and they are taken by all schools in PA, as a result, you can simply see how your school compares. I compared our results against schools our size and we were in the bottom half. Someone else compared them over time to show that math had dropped off more than English. And compared to other area schools we were in the middle of the pack.

It is very difficult to argue with the test results. They are what they are. It doesn't matter who does the comparison. They aren't manipulated, they just are.

To 5:38, Now it's mario andretti's problem? I'd imagine he pays a fair share of taxes. Your now laying blame on people for not paying more than their taxes. Maybe the NASD should be more conscientious of its spending so we could do more with the taxes we do receive.

Also, the costs they are reducing are new operating costs that will recur on an annual basis and are likely to increase. $2.5 million per year in the first year for this particular building. It is like going out buying $100.00 of stuff and saying you saved 20%, because of sales. No, you spent $100.00.

The point is to build a facility that doesn't replicate existing facilities, provides the class space we need, allows for future growth by not spending every dime we can borrow now, and puts us in a position to not have to increase spending in excess of 5% the following year.

I have to admit I didn't follow your point about 4th grade and tutoring, but I will say that your perspective on Calandras land should be at least considered as follows.

Let's say you have a month to month income and two cars. You are driving along abiding the law and are hit by another vehicle. Your car is totaled. Your car was reliable and you knew its history. The insurance company comes and gives you an amount based on "fair market value". Do you get a price for your car that you consider fair? I'll bet no. You lose out. You had no choice in the matter and had something taken from you that you didn't want to give up. You were given money for it, but you don't have a car. Nor can you go out and buy an equivalent car with the money you got.

The Calandras are facing the same situation with their land. It is not for sale. Would they consider selling? If the price were high enough I'd imagine they would, but it doesn't mean they reached out to anyone to sell their land. They've been put in a bad position by the district and really have no recourse, which is a shame.

Anonymous said...

There is a TREMENDOUS difference between assessed value and fair market value.

Let's stop all the name calling about the school board idiots and focus on the real issues - maximizing the school building educational value (including extracurricular activities) and minimizing expense.

I agree with NOC's comment about eliminating district redundancies - why more auditoriums? - why a grand entrance? What's best for the children?

Our children's needs should be the focus, not building the prettiest campus in the neighborhood.

Brad Moulton said...

Anon 4:24P-

I am the amateur. My purpose of evaluating the district's PSSA scores was not politically motivated or anything else sinister. I had heard over and over how great NASD is and I wanted to look objectively at what data is available to the public to see if that argument was supported.

Compared to the surrounding districts we were slightly above average.

Looking at the data longitudinally, showed that Reading scores increased from 5th to 8th grade and then from 8th to 11th grade. Math scores showed an increase from 5th to 8th grade (I made the comment that the above speaks well for our MS). However, Math scores showed a preciptious dropoff from 8th to 11th grade.

The data is the data.

As for the percentage of NASD students going on to college, I would only echo the comment made by NOC. Percentage of students going on to college is strongly correlated to household income and it's been pointed out here and elsewhere that Nazareth is a "rich" district (and is only getting "richer").

I have no doubt that NASD is a good school district. I just think it can be better.

Anonymous said...

NOC: Again, just so many misconceptions stated here in these comments.

I was being sarcastic. My point is that after the 4th grade many parents leave the educucation of their kids in the hands of the schools. Some, I think because they can't distinguish between a noun and a verb. I'll bet 1/2 of the US popolation couildn't find the area of a circle. What's more disturbing is they can't understand why it's even necessary. As an employer, I see kids with college degrees who can't write a coherent sentence, let along a business letter. many need a cash register with pictograms to make change. God forbide they have to do mental math.

I'm not blaming the Andretti's. My point is BASD turfed their stadium by working with the business community. Frank Banko donated funds, Lou Pektor guarenteed loans. This is the spirit of community. hats off to these gentlemen. I'm just asking if Nazareth has that type of citizentry? If not, Why???

Classrooms are supplemented by a number of other educational spaces; i.e. science labs, computer labs, tech ed, consumer science, art, music, special ed. The Department of Education gives ALL of these rooms capacity. Students move throughout the day into these spaces. You don't judge a school by the number of standard classrooms. Sorry, it shows your ignorance of the education system as a whole. ALL of these spaces are needed in the curriculum. Many rooms can be multi-functional. That means it may be labeled as one type of room such as a computer lab but is easily adapted into a regular classroom if the need arises.

The district has NOT paid $280k to study the pool. God, where in the world did you come up with that idiotic statement?? The point is many of you just don't know what you’re talking about because your getting your information second hand.

The building is designed for future expansion. I’ve attended the presentation and remember it stated another classroom wing can be added south of the 2 indicated. We were told the core facilities will be large enough to handle future growth. Like many things, the difference between serving 800 lunches isn't much different from serving 1500. You need the same equipment. Maybe students in this school should brown bag? There's some fancy feature we probably don't need I’d surmise as your opinion.

Lastly, I attended the BOS meeting this week and heard clearly the district WILL be footing the majority of the bill for the intersection improvements, NOT the township. The township has been banking only a fraction of the $$ needed for the improvements. Which by the way are long overdue, with or without a school. So the district is resolving a major problem for everyone, including non-residents, they didn't create in the first place. Sure, the new school will add to the problem, but the district will foot 95% of the cost to fix a pre-existing problem. The Borough & Township(s) can hold a line on their taxes by forcing developers and in this case the SD into constructing facilities for them. Maybe this state needs impact fees on developers who build large numbers of homes that impact the schools then walk away with YOUR $$$.

And finally on your car analogy, please, this is exactly one of life's hard lessons. S--- happens, get over it.

Anonymous said...

"This is the spirit of community. hats off to these gentlemen. I'm just asking if Nazareth has that type of citizentry? If not, Why???"
Wow......for someone who writes such a presumptuous blog this comment in particular really amuses me. You dare to extend the label of ignorance on others and then you write such a ludicrous, rhetorical comment.

Anonymous said...

Special note to Anon 11:27:

I figured if I put in a few spelling errors and such, people like you would comment on that rather the the real issue. Thanks for confirming my suspicions!

Anonymous said...

Responding to 10:21AM

Thank you for clearing up mnay of the questions I have been asking. It is comforting to have facts.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 11:27,

THANK YOU!! GOOD POINT!

Anon. 10:21,

You contradict your own points.

If our school district is so fabulous-- which students are you hiring who cannot write a sentence or calculate the circumference of a circle?

You point to the Andretti's for not funding our school district with more than their tax bill (why should they?) As an employer, has your business donated more? As an individual taxpayer, have you donated more-- perhaps your land (of course the district will pay you a fair price for it)

It's great that you attend a few meetings, but don't demean others because of what you assume they are not doing. You know what they say about those who ASSUME...

Here is a simple fact-- everyone continues to 'discuss' the situation whether at meetings or on this blog or in the grocery store. Every day that passes, more homes are being completed. Every day more students are moving in. Every day more land is being sold to developers. A developer just bought the land on Rt. 191 across from the cemetary. 2.8 MILLION dollars (not 640K, I might add-- Don't give in Calandra Family!!). You know what that means, MORE HOMES!!! And yet-- still no new school. We haven't even broken ground yet and we've been talking about it for years. The 'study' and 'committee' was 3 years too late. By the time it is built-- the high school will be bursting at the seams. Is there even a plan for the high school situation (I don't think there has even been a study yet!). Can the district survive on 1 high school for the next 6+ years?

My point is, if you have elementary age children, stop patting yourselves on the backs for attending meetings and degrading others for not and push for a decision to be made and ground to be broken already! Then move on to a plan for the high school or in 6 years you will find yourselves in the same predicament.

I say 'you' because MY children will graduate before any of these schools are completed. I believe the schools are necessary and I won't complain about increased taxes to pay for them. But as many have commented here before me, it should be done in a cost effective manner which adequately allows for future expansion. I am not sure how the Calandra 5 acre parcel will fit that need. Sounds like this is more of a personal vendetta from someone in a power position. Did someone buy some bad cheese? Just kidding.

NewsOverCoffee said...

To 10:21, sorry you didn't get the analogy regarding fair market value and choice (or a lack thereof). I'll try to be clearer in the future.

I appreciate that you do support the notion that our focus needs to be on education first and any insight you could provide as to why parents stop at 4th instead of 6th (when they transition to MS) or any other grade would be personally interesting to me.

The person you want to discuss this type of citizen with is Bruce Applegate, Executive Director of the Blue Eagle Edcuation Foundation. The NASD formed and supports the Education Foundation to encourage this very behavior and I'm sure he can speak to it well.

While I don't profess to be expert, neither am I ignorant. The simple fact is if you don't have enough traditional classrooms (pretty much the easiest and most cost effective room in the building) when you need more you then see special area rooms get converted. Why not simply make enough in the first place?

It seems this chain has kind of gone here and there but mostly stayed in motion because people are trying to get their point "won".

I think a lot of good points have been made and questions raised in regard to this property and building and I hope they make it to the Board. The important thing is people are open with ideas and the discussion itself.

One final note, to 10:21, it seems a big difference is that you are willing to take what is told to you (ie you can build to the south of the existing wing to expand) at face value without wondering what the implications and costs would be to do so, whereas many of us would rather ask the questions first in an attempt to avoid what is often a costly future correction (the current MS entranceway comes to mind).

Then again, that is just my surmising of your approach - mostly I just wanted to be the 100th comment;-)

Anonymous said...

Funny the high school is now busting at the seems, on has to wonder when classes are switching if the hallways so crowded could be considered a fire hazard. Also, the cafeteria at LNES, who by the way has the largest amount of students and module buildings has only one server for lunch line(2 lines only) The other elem schools with less enrollment have more servers,there for giving students less wait and mor etime to eat. Yet we want to built the likings of a very expensive building with all the bells and whistles. Notice how much the library is used at the ms now, not much at all. Maybe that lot should of been a consideration for the very near future overcrowed, if it is not already: high school.

Anonymous said...

Boy, go out of town for a couple of days and you miss a lot. Ross, congrats on a new and growing record.

NOC stated it correctly.

We have way too many people that glom onto a topic and fight for it as hard as they can. The problem here is that most don't take the time to look at the issue from an analytical standpoint and draw a determination using their own logic, not the logic given to them by some entity.

I am sure that the board will always present a rosey picture and everyone will nod their heads yes. Same thing happened with the teacher's point of view during the contract issues we went through a few months back.

When you bring in a contractor to do work for you, do you only pick one? Or do you get multiple, then check them out? Again, YOU would dig out the facts for yourself, not let them be spoon fed to you.

That is what most of us are looking for here. We want the board to justify what they are doing, and to put their feet to the fire to do what is most cost effective now but also with an eye to being cost effective in the future.

I will disagree on the statements about college being for the rich. There are way to many programs out there these days (grants, scholarships, military, etc.) that make it possible for anyone that wants to attend college. Unfortunately some of those opptions include debt, but who ever said you can get something for nothing.

Brad has been great in compiling PSSA data for us, and where I don't agree with the whole standardized testing, it is how schools are measured today, and NASD is just not the shining star.

Unfortunately, the way that these scores are viewed on an annual basis, doesn't really give us a true picture. You really need to look at a class in a linear progression through each year of testing. Then you can determine if THAT class has improved or declined.

The personal attacks have really gotten old at this point, and quite honestly, only weaken your argument and make you look petty.

We keep asking for accountability from our teachers, but now we want it from the board as well. These are out tax dollars that we all work hard for, and we don't want to see them wasted or increased.

Tuskes just bought a huge parcel of land in Lower Nazareth Township, which only means yet more houses, and more students.

The new building is a band aid on a sucking chest wound. Every school building in this district is going to be bursting soon, and that includes the High School, which for some reason no one seems to want to talk about.

We need to build now. And, we are going to need to build more in the coming years. It is for that reason that we need to stop the board from making costly decisions that in reality are not really going to fix the long term problem.

NewsOverCoffee said...

Good points all. Regarding the testing and teachers, I agree it is the means we have to compare to other districts - not necessarily the best system, but the only one at this point that accounts for all students in all districts.

One of my biggest issues with the spending being controlled is that if it isn't eventually it come back at the teachers. When it does, they won't have the resources they need to do their job well. Then if we cut services or activities or staff because we've overspent in other areas, it will make their job even more difficult.

The teachers contract was tough this time and we hadn't then committed big money or been challenged with the referendum to get a tax increase through. The next contract could be really hard on them if we aren't careful (3% could look like a windfall or it might mean they get a raise but a program or two get cut to achieve it - bad positions all).

I want the teachers to be as successful as possible and they can't be if we don't get the absolute most out of every dollar spent (we also need them to be able to focus on teaching and not a myriad of other things or teaching to tests, but that's a talk for another place and time).

Have a great weekend everyone!

Anonymous said...

I am responding to an earlier post asking what the committee recommended to the district. (Yes I was a part of that committee.) The committee, which met and discussed and visited a number of schools over a two year period did recommend the building of a 4-6 school to the school board but as Ross points out, the board DECIDES what IT wants to do. This committee was then dissolved and other committees were formed to recommend to the board what each school should look like. As far as I can tell, the 4-6 committee, of which I believe I am a member, but I'm not sure, has not met in two years. And as brought up during the hearing last week, the COST ESTIMATE has yet to be given for what it will take to revamp the current MS, except Dr. Lesky said it wouldn't be 23 million! The questions that need to be asked are how much,how long and why??

Anonymous said...

When the committee met 2 years ago, what kind of information were you given to base your recommendation on? Specifically, how far out in the future were enrollment projections? If we knew back then that a new school was needed, why have we been stuck in this 'study' mode for so long? Why did we have to go to a 'temporary' fix and added expense of placing portables at LNES when we knew so long ago that a new school was needed? Why haven't we made a decision and built a school yet?

Does anyone else wonder if there are lessons learned here to avoid this in the future at the high school? Or will we place portables throughout the football field while we study the situation for a few years?

Anonymous said...

I am sure on that line of thinking..districts office, new luxurious ones, will be replace the existing ones in the high school. And before portables are place in the football field ofr classes. New district offices will be created and classrooms will back again where the district offices are now. Speaking of committees......
Does anyone know what happen with the community task force group meetings?
As far are future planning buildings for growth. The adhesive on the bandaids can only hold so long. I would think twice to a huge sprawling gym complex if it will take up space for the much needed hs classrooms.

Anonymous said...

One of the major problems with enrollment projections that we had was that birthrate is usually considered as an indicator of what future enrollment would be. Birthrates are down but we also found out that there is no tracking of the transfer/move in rate, which as anyone who has lived here for even a year or two knows, is where most of our growth is coming from. This did result in having to go back to the townships to ask about plans on the table for future development. And the committe was also told that if a 4-6 was built, a new elementary school would probably have to be built soon after that. (Please keep in mind I have heard that this will happen after this 7-8 building is built too.) Also recommended by the gentleman doing the study that the HS take back the administrative offices for classroom space. I was surprised to learn that we would build another building to move out maintenance/food services/central duplicating, but not consider putting the rest of admin within this same facility. I'm not sure if this was ever talked about. I never heard about it at any meetings I was at. I think it makes sense to take back that room. I know people may be upset since that space has only been converted from classrooms to offices in the past few years. But that space is there in the HS and should be used for educating kids if it is needed, which looks like it will be. I share in the frustration at how long this took and is taking. At times it seemed like we were just spinning our wheels and talking about the same thing. Unfortunately, a committee can only do so much...it's up to the board to make the right decisions and implement them and I'm not sure this is the correct one. I would like to hear how the board arrived at this decision from the one recommended by the committee. Maybe then some sense can be made of this whole thing. We all know that an elementary building costs the least to build, the 4-6 would have been the next least costly, but MS and HS buildings are very expensive due to all the things that are required in the buildings. As many have said to build a new MS is duplicating everything we already have at the current MS. So I don't know why building a new MS and renovating the current one is a great solution.

Anonymous said...

Taking back the space from the admins in the old HS building is probably the smartest idea. The cost to convert that space back to classrooms would be dramatically lower than building a new building.

I would venture to guess that there is a lot of open space in the old car dealership building that the district is using (at 191 and Jandy) for food services I believe. Move them in there. There are also a number of buildings for sale or lease in Nazareth (I pass one on the way to the middle school just off Broad).

Why build something new if there is an existing building that could potentially meet needs and we only pay the conversion costs, not the complete construction?

We accomplish a lot this way. We don't spend a lot, we re-use a vacant building, and, most likely keep it from falling into the hands of a developer that will convert it into yet more new housing with more new enrollment.

Anonymous said...

The District is leasing the car dealership. The lease expires in the spring when the District will move to the new maintenance facility. The car dealership will then be demolished by the developer and a new business will go up.

Anonymous said...

For those of you that don't know it, the Calandra's have a petition in their shop looking for signatures.

Stop buy, sign the petition, and get some of their awesome cheese.

They are also looking for support at the meeting Monday night at 7:30 at the HS behind the gym.

Anonymous said...

North campus board room? Usually where the meetings are held.