OPED: Moving Forward Together

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Thank you everyone who came out to vote on Tuesday, I and the other candidates are grateful for your support and efforts, and I look forward now to working together to continue building a coalition and cooperation on community efforts. Although I will not be on school board as a Director, I will continue my efforts to ensure we have a balanced budget, and a balanced approach, to how we spend our taxpayer funds. My goal was always to find ways to protect those on a fixed income from excessive tax increases, while providing the programs we need to maintain the high standards that make Phoenixville schools excellent.

My background in Finance will continue to be of service to the district, and I will be presenting data and strategy to the Finance Committee, as well as Building and Grounds regarding the ideas I had hoped to bring to the Board as a Director.

First and foremost, we as a community need to be a part of the plan to build two new schools. These schools have an estimated cost of over $80 million dollars. We must insist that these schools be designed and built with long-term taxpayer savings in mind, and the best way to do this is to insist on energy efficient design.

I understand that during the days leading up to the election there were people going door-to-door, saying a vote for me would be a vote to increase taxes. These people claimed that I did not “understand the implications of policy” and that I was “insisting on renewable energy policy that would lead to our district losing state funds due to the bidding process”. Those are outright lies. It was part of a campaign by a few people that included instilling fear about tax increases, spreading misinformation about me, and even intimidation of voters at polling places.

Be assured, I understand the bidding process, and the math, behind renewable energy. Currently our district spends approximately $700,000 per year on energy. It was my goal to work with our Operations staff and develop a plan that would cut those costs, by 10% each year over 5 years, saving taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars every year. The plan included low-cost passive solar options, as well as an analysis of the cost-benefit of everything from PV Solar, to wind and geothermal. There are many state grants as well as private grants that our district will be able to apply and qualify for, and we will develop the RFP’s (request for proposal), based upon guidelines that ensure our eligibility.

Far from increasing taxes or costing our district state funds, the policies I bring to the table are all fact-based strategies that will save our taxpayers money, ensuring we can have smaller tax increases.

I apologize to all the voters who were given misinformation and that this type of tactic was deemed “acceptable” by anyone. But be assured, not being elected does not change my determination to be of service to our community or to develop strategies for balancing the budget and cutting energy costs.

We now see what we need to do, and that includes more information to voters to combat tactics which include misinformation and intimidation. I will be writing more in the coming months, and especially on two other issues I brought up during the campaign: transparency and inclusion. My plan is to ask the Board make the Agenda available prior to meetings, and that all documents made available to the Board (except those that pertain to legal or personnel issues and which are therefore deemed confidential) also be made available to the public, and that an email list be established to send this information out. I will continue my effort to bring people to Board meetings, especially committee meetings, and to ensure that our taxpayers are part of this process.

I have converted my campaign Facebook page to the PASD Parent Forum and hope many people will join the page and share concerns, questions, ideas and strategies.

It is time for us to put any negativity behind us, and move forward with integrity and honesty, to develop policies that will provide a foundation of strength for our students and balance the needs of our community with the needs of our students and faculty. That will be my focus, and my promise to the taxpayers, to continue my efforts and to be of assistance to the current School Board and Administration.

And let me offer my congratulations to those who were elected on Tuesday, we are all here for the same purpose, to make our school district the best it can be while being aware of the implications of policy on taxpayers. And that is what I plan to do.

Lisa Longo

Phoenixville

Find the PASD Parent Forum at (https://www.facebook.com/pages/PASD-Parent-Forum/537085343008229)