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Social workers fill gap for schools

Published November 30. 2019 06:29AM

Sometimes a gamble pays off, sometimes it doesn’t.

When Lehighton Area School District officials kicked the tires on adding a social worker to its staff, it was one of the first in the area to do so.

The district hired Kerri Miller before the 2017-18 school year in the newly minted social worker/transition coordinator position, an investment that paid such high dividends, it budgeted for a second such position beginning in 2018-19 and landed Carrie Kenny.

“We often talk about educating the whole child and hitting that hidden curriculum,” Lehighton Superintendent Jonathan Cleaver said during a board meeting Monday night.

“Our two social workers are extremely valuable to our students and families because they offer assistance in so many areas, from crisis intervention to our mental health curriculum and awareness. Education is more than just science and math and language arts and those things you see on the surface. We’re fortunate to be able to fund these positions and have Kerri and Carrie as part of our team.”

The duo spoke Monday about their roles in the district and the bridge they provide between the school and the community.

When there are student attendance problems, Miller said, they are on the front lines with home visits trying to get to the root of the issue.

“This is one of the most common things we do,” she said. ”If a teacher is having a hard time getting ahold of a family, it’s easier for us to call or go out and check on things to see what needs to be done to get that student in school and back on track.”

The job also includes check-ins and counseling services for students who may be at risk of self-harm or have other concerns.

“Sometimes they are just having a bad day and need someone to talk to,” Kenny said.

Also among the laundry list of duties are staff trainings, helping oversee the Aevidum clubs in the middle school and high school, working with students who have been deemed homeless and transition coordination services.

“The transition coordinator component involved working with those 14 years of age or older who really need help getting their foot in the door as far as employment and what life after school looks like for them,” Kenny said.

Looking back on establishing the positions, board President Larry Stern called it a great investment for the district and the community.

“Bridging the gaps that they do is one of the most important things done here in the district,” Stern said. “A lot of times, children need help more than just between the hours of 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Often, coming to school is the most stability a child has during the day, so what these ladies do to help them is incredible.”

Comments
The community owes a debt of gratitude to the taxpayers for agreeing to fund this extra government service. It is truly a nice added governmental service.

There are many extra government services, now mandated to be provided yearly by the local school board in the new budget. The budget exploded last year, with spending increasing almost 10%.

These funds will need to be provided to the district solely by the local taxpayers since State and Federal funds are basically fixed.

The district also has mandated educational benefits that are not completely funded by state and federal agencies, but shared services with local funds needed as well.
These are typically refered to as unfunded mandates, however, the term defined services of shared responsibility would be more apt. Shared with your federal, state and local tax revenues. Remember there is only one payer in America, the tax payer. Even corporations get the funds they use to pay taxes from their consumers.

Do you know which government school services are mandated and which ones are graciously provided solely by the local community?

Do you know how much of your generosity is mandated through the local assignment of additional social benefits?

Last meeting, I proposed a task force to be assembled to collect such information and share it with the community and board at the January meeting. Berks county is forming a similar report. The board set on Rubber-stamping the administration with their blind trust opposed such transparency. Go figure.

Sincerely,

Citizen David F. Bradley Sr.
I read this article on Saturday and was very happy to see some positive news reported about the Lehighton Area School District. These two positions are providing a service that is desperately needed. And, of course, I am not surprised that the first comment is posted by Mr. Bradley, launching his 2-day assault on the board and administration. Congratulations! This article has now become the most commented, and at the end of all the comments absolutely nothing is resolved, except that Mr. Bradley admitted in writing that he does not respect his fellow Board members. We already knew that, but now it is in writing.

The Lehighton Area High School student that spoke at the Nov 25 meeting summed up the current board atmosphere, and I will repeat here what was said:

Nickolas Smith, a Lehighton Area High School freshman and student council representative in attendance, called Monday’s meeting more of a “verbal war” and encouraged more civil conversation between board members. “As a student, I’m ashamed of what I just witnessed,” Smith said. “None of this is setting an example for our youth. I understand there are problems and arguments, but the one thing this world lacks is peaceful conversation. It is upsetting you can’t have that here.”

His comment speaks volumes.
With all due respect, it is most definitely admitted that individuals can decide where respect is earned.

When a government official acts immorally, I chose to expose it and offer corrective actions. To respect such immorality merely on the basis that my government took it, would be illogical. Such a conclusions would require all people to respect my actions as a government officials, even I don't agree with that.

The challenges and attacks upon my decisions as a public official reform government for the better. Civic review is part of our system. Embrace it.

I do not respect the immoral actions of my government, I seek correction, especially when the actions fail to protect our students.

Thank you for adding.your opinion to a much needed discussion.

"Does the community have a civic duty to question the morality of our government officials?"

Sincerely,

Citizen David F. Bradley Sr.
With all do respect Mr. Bradley
You as I am are worried about taxes and how they are hurting the local elderly people of this town and county
But you never speak of the kids
You never tell us how you would improve the education of the kids while taking a lot of stress from the elderly

What is your solution if there is no more taxes
Would you cut funding for extracurriculars
How about sports would you wanna cut sports
Would you have a problem getting new books
What is your solution

The educators of this school district have done a amazing job and we need to continue to show support in and out side the classroom
While finding new and creative ways to take pressure off the tax payers
There are actually many easy, lawful solutions. The first is to put those paying in the room when the negotiations are happening. People spending their own money tend to be most efficient. Government's spending other people's money on other people, tend to be the least efficient.

Let the people that have a voice in the collection and disbursement of taxes for educational benefits, to voice their ability and concerns. Silenced by an immoral board, the board budgets grow. We need tprotect the students and save the community.

The primary issue is the lack of transparency in the proper reporting of these transactions. The corruption and waste alone would provide for nearly a 10% tax reduction. After that is gone, and removed from the system, there is no reason to cut children benefits, that is why this government benefit program exists.

The children are the priority, so many tell lies about cutting sports, music etc. Let's start with the corruption and waste. Let's get the bills before they are paid, let's read the benefits package before they are accepted. Millions are wasted by mismangement, poor asset management and lack of proper leadership. The examples are listed.

Let's talk, next week we get a moral board. I am eager to see progress. Keeping seniors in the community is my primary goal, as they pay yet do not consume educational resources. Any person with basic skills would protect such a stakeholder.

Sincerely, let's talk. I suggest an open discussion at the Beacon restaurant, or Mario's pizza, Verona's works as well. Pick a day and time.

Sincerely,

Citizen David F. Bradley Sr.
Yes, there are committees like the Finance Committee. The same committee that decided to recommend to the board to transition to TD bank accounts to realize a higher interest rate on funds. Board voted and the motion was passed but not carried out. Then we are told it would not have been advantageous. The same committee who had no clue of the budget-busting expenses? Why? Because they did not look, they did not oversee. A committee that does not research is useless. Proven over the last several months with the financial developments. Have you read the minutes from the November Building & Grounds Committee? I have. Issues with the cleaning of some of the classrooms in the EC. "A checklist and a schedule have been provided for the area. There is little or no improvement thus far." Now that is even more concerning given it is flu season. The bottm line is, the board approves the payment of the bills. Approving the disbursement of funds without actually seeing the invoice for each is irresponsible. And refusing to provide the opportunity for this oversight is ludicrous.
Well I asked the same question to you as I ask to Bradley how do you know what was said and what was overlooked if you don't have all the information that you and Bradley continue to say you don't have are you not making decisions in the same fashion as you were saying the other half of the board is isn't that hypocritical
It is in the minutes. The official record. The board minutes at the time were written word for word. And I've read them all. Then, there are also recorded meetings. And of course, I also attended many of them.
Agreed. Those not voting for a task force to collect for discussion tgese exact items are immoral and corrupt.

Transparency works. Blindly buying benefits without even knowing the cost is just the beginning of the corruption. Secondly, implementing changes with a measurable metric is foolish. Third, the board is suppose to represent the community, how can they without the community having a voice. Rubber-stampers are immoral in that they remove the people's voice from this government. The administration has little to no legal responsibility to answer the people, just the board.

This community needs an open forum to learn how the system is currently broken, the district is financially broke, and the board was hiding it. The community is now burdened with the needed austerity. Regrettably, but true.
We should talk, the stampers can attend, but calmer heads should run the forum so facts and data can lead the conversation.

Sincerely,

Citizen David F. Bradley Sr.
I don't have to watch it, I was there. Insurance policies being paid without having the policies in hand to know exactly what you are paying? What actual benefits are being provided? I do not pay for insurance without reading the document, and sometimes asking questions. Especially when changing brokers or providers. Nor do I pay my bills without checking them for accuracy. And I spoke on these very points at the meeting.
This concerned parent has a lot of questions that their government doesn't answer. Why?

And all concerned parent should demand the facts, just like I do. The information we are provided is just enough to know the details of corruption and waste. Every detail from here only adds to the lack of proper leadership.
What was said, re the insurance documents, was that they do not have them yet. They paid out $491,000+ without having the documents in hand according to statements made by the business office. Watch the video, the statements made are in there.
So would posting videos of people on youtube with people being blurred out would that be transparent

If people lied about you cutting sports and extracurriculars
What is your solution

When you talk about morals
Would it be morally ok to to harass people who may disagree with your opinion
Or badger people for answers that they clearly dont have

Would it be morally ok for people who follow you to call people fat and smell like fish
Or morally ok for people that follow you to harass children who are trying to Express themselves

Are we not having 2 audits right now that may help with transparency and where we can change things
You talk about transparency or morally backwards

How morally corrupt is it to try and ask for a audit of our insurance policy and try and make a motion with out telling the public that it wasnt the company that our current insurance policy is held by

Or how morally corrupt is it to only include your cohorts into a task force shouldnt there be other opinions why only involve your people




So much to unfold here in this post.
So let's meet, public place with as many friends as you wish.

I will openly suggest Mario's pizza, Weissport Sunday Dec 1st, 5 pm. First large plain cheese pizza is on me. After that, we all go dutch. Please confirm, but I will be there, regardless of snow, sleet or dark of night.

As for morality, I can only answer for myself, and only you can ask for yourself. My goal is to have the idea of governmental morals to be discussed prior to a vote. What is yours?

People are individuals, the mere fact they agree with certain points or certain moral ideals do not necessarily mean they all agree on all points together.

As for exposing the government officials for their immoral actions it accomplished three things.
1) Gets people involved, educate
2) Reforms government
3) Holds government accountability.

Sincerely,

Citizen David F. Bradley Sr.
Agenda is published late Thursday before the Monday meeting.

Some items Directors, (me specifically) that request to put an item on the agenda are often blocked by the Board President and Superintendent that control the meeting agenda. Regardless of the date submitted, if they block it, it is blocked.

Superintendent has blocked information from being shared between board members as well.

Sincerely,

Citizen David F. Bradley Sr.
Actually, the first request for this month was two weeks before the meeting, then the Tuesday before the meeting. After they were ignored, we asked Wednesday and Thursday before and after the agenda came out. It was also asked Friday and Sunday. No response to Joy, Gail or myself after repeated requests.

The amount, or timing of asking has not been the problem, the granting transparency is the issue.

Sounds like your source is setting you up to look the fool for asking such questions. But, thanks for asking.

Let's meet and review the bond documents, Act 34 document and the Feasibility Study (2011 & 2104), along with the PA School Code and our own school policy. Basic math skills and logic are all that are need to see the immorality of the past board rubber stamping the administration with their blind trust. Today, Sunday Mario's in Weissport 5 pm if you can, or anyone interested in the analysis of math and the district finances.

Sincerely,

Citizen David F. Bradley Sr.
Actually my source was the video of the meeting
Second if Gail and joy asked for the info why didnt they speak out at the meeting about asking for it
Why not just post it on here
Why do you wanna meet
Why not post it in a public setting
Why not be transparent
Joy and Gail also requested details to be shared by board.
The TN comment section is limited on sharing documents.
Why not meet, many others have met and informative discussions were had.
Good idea, we are as transparent as possible. Yet should do better.
Therefore I will arrive early and host an open forum financial presentation with Q&A :30 prior to the reorganization meeting for you and others. I will publish the data prior to the 4th and accept emailed Questions to my district email. dbradley@lehightongovt.org
Good idea, challange accepted. Let's see if the administration blocks the free flow of information. If they try, I trust you will stand up against such oppression and insist on lawful transparency.

Sincerely,

Citizen David F. Bradley Sr.
As I said before I am not for or against one side or the other I have held the people of this board feet to flame no matter the injustice
I ask you the hard question as I do of them
But why not post the information to one of the three diffrent social media sites

Why wait till the 4th it is now that people would need to get information so they can ask logical questions

If you wait till last minute you are putting the others at a disadvantage not knowing what questions you might ask and not having answers

So post it on facebook
So again if the board received the agenda on Thursday why is it taking Mr Bradley until Sunday to ask questions about the updated agenda wanted it be better to give the board more time to get the information together that he wants
BTW, read school policy on how the agenda works. I agree with you, the agenda should be published as it is being developed. Each week an update should be shared with the community.
This issues are not really a timing thing. This is a Larry Stern obstruction thing. LASD policy dictates the President and the Superintendent control and release the agenda.
How much did the insurance on the old field cost
How much did the propane for all 4 schools cost the school district in the last winter they were open
Would the general up keep of 4 building less the the upkeep of one
How much money did the extra football games bring into this community
How can we use the fields to make extra income for into community

All great questions transparency would answer.

The feasibility study(s) have many of the answers you seek. They are published on the district web. I can walk you through them. As for the stadium, we have to add in the cost of money.

As for the efficiency, a business person would have calculated in the cost of money the bond interest, ($2M/yr +). The published calculated difference was listed as a net loss to the government agency, the taxpayers.

Bond interest paid, (~$2M minus $1.2M estimated as the best case scenario savings, equals the financial loss to make build a school and make this decision. That ship sailed, now we need to redo the debt before the interest escalate to nearly 5% in the next year or so.

Math is often the enemy of the ignorant and decietful. The slumlord board at the time refused to add the interest payments into the calculations they shared with the public at the meetings.
Then, the truth was found in the ACT 34 documents, by then it too late for the general masses.

At one point, the board voted to renovate if you remember. Then, Bill Hill passed away, tax and spend director David Krause was appointed, and the administration went full steam ahead into a legacy of debt.

The bond issued by the district has the truth. Can't lie when a government wants to borrow money. Again, glad to show you the truth found in the documents filed with the state and bond issuers.

Sincerely,

Citizen David F. Bradley Sr.
Basic math cost of money for stadium.

Cash money was spent on the stadium, therefore, district borrowed more for the school. Stadium was a luxury purchase. Tamburri steel offered to donate steel to repair old stadium, district refused the offer.

So, let's use $6M at 5% for easy figuring. If the district rented the stadium for $300,000 a year it breaks even for the cost of money. It would need more for maintenance, insurance, electricity, etc. and then the first dollar after that would be a dollar saved to the district.

This should have been a public/private partnership saving the district and the community homeowners. This keeps the grandparents in the community that protect the youth and support proper lawfully mandated education.

Sincerely,

Citizen David F. Bradley Sr.
But dont you think the savings from the insurance and the weight of extra pressure on the general fund after more opportunities to fund raise
And gate revune would be over the cost of the field
District soccer games
District field hockey
District football
District track
All a possibility now not at the other
Now that is an interesting discussion. What exactly was the revenue for the events, and who kept the gate? Is the PIAA a private or public company.

Transparency is the key. The fact you are asking for details tells me the district should be more forthcoming with the data, reporting and truth.

Sincerely,

Citizen David F. Bradley Sr.
I am an individual. The only time I am a government official is in a public meeting with a quorum. You should know that.

And yes, all elected official should have these details and reports. Currently, with the ones I have, I have proven the immorality and poor actions of evil elected officials.

The more they release the more we can expose the evil. No wonder why the feckless five block transparency and allow a subordinate administration to block the open release of public documents.

Be patient, I will win this war of lawful transparency. Join the moral team, meet at Mario's and learn what we know so far. As an insider, like the others on our team, we can fix this, protect the students and save the community. You are making a dedicated effort here on the TN chat, meet and learn.

Sincerely,

Citizen David F. Bradley Sr.
Again how do you know who is being moral or not
Isnt it the responsibility of the government to have all the information before making inflammatory remarks
Like calling some one morally wrong or evil
Would it also be morally wrong to attack people in a unprofessional manner who you are supposed to be working with
Maybe if you started off on the right foot dont you think maybe just maybe people would wanna work with you more
Correct, we all should know. Yet the fact is we all do not, and therefore the problem is defined.
We have a lack of transparency problem, not the lack interest.
The problem of those admitting to not reading the feasibility study was bad enough, and has been resolved. Gail, Joy and I read everything.
From speaking to board members on other school boards, the PIAA rents the space for a set fee and the PIAA keeps the gate. I have no idea if it works that way in Lehighton. From what other board members in other districts have said, the Boosters have the opportunity to raise money at the concession stands. I doubt it is different in Lehighton but I've no idea. I've also been told that there is a motion made in other districts at board meetings on the use of their facilities. I do not remember one for such in Lehighton, but it could be buried in the lists of school property use requests. I will check on that one.
What is the actual dollar amount for the utilities at the EC. Are we spending more on transportation with all the kids coming to one building? How about showing us the actual dollar amount we are saving each year. Yes, there are benefits to the students, but do the pros outweigh the cons? But the dollar amounts are what matter at this point as the other buildings have been sold. Let's see the actual numbers here.
But I repeat I'm asking the same questions and I would like the same answers but calling people morally corrupt because they don't know all the information while not having all the information is completely hypocritical
But are you not morally corrupt on make your assumptions and decsions without all the information that you say is being withheld from you
I do believe by asking the right questions in a respectful manner ms bowes recieved answer to her questions about the extra games being played at the field
But asking again how can you make decsions with out all the information
When the majority blocks board members from getting or seeing the information requested it is immoral. A few months ago it was asked that the Budgets and the Budgets at a Glance for the last 4 years be added to the district website so the analysis could be done by interested parties. It was agreed to but has yet to appear in it's entirety as requested.

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