According to The Times Herald, the Norristown Area School Board gave three students permission to travel to California next month to compete in the 2012 Vex Robotics World Middle School Competition at last night's school board meeting, provided the students can raise the $8000 needed for the trip.
Parents and supporters had expressed outrage last week after a blog post by a parent in a nearby school district outlined the plight of Norristown students Imer Vazquez, Francesco Fernandez and Tony Zevallos who were invited to the competition but denied permission by the school board, reportedly without explanaition. expressing support for the students and anger at the board for it's lack of communication on the issue.
Beth Roth, Instructional Technology Director for the district and Robotics Team captain, submitted the application and the $750 entrance fee for the competition without actually getting the go ahead from the district, but Roth was confident that the school board would be forthcoming with official permission.
Norristown Area School Board President Denise Ashe that the initial uproar was based in part on misunderstanding. Ashe said the team had been told early on that funds were not available from the school district and permission wouldn't be granted until the money was raised. Ashe had lamented the lack of communication on the part of the district, saying that more could have been done to keep people "in the loop."
“We do have a policy against students raising funds," Ashe told The Herald at last night's meeting. "That is because of school board financing. We need to have more state funds coming to the district. The robotics team was in its first year and it was not budgeted.”
"At no time did the board not want the team to go," board member Ida Ferrell told those in attendance at last night's meeting, according to The Herald. "We were looking squarely at the financial situation."
The board will reportedly vote to give its official permission once all the money has been raised. If you'd like to make a donation, contact Beth Roth at 610-630-5000.