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School Board Moves Forward With Athletic Field, Approves Next Year's Budget

The Norristown Area School District's Board of Directors stayed strong through Monday's grueling, decision-packed meeting.

From football fields to tax increases, the Norristown Area School District School Board of Directors had some big agenda items on its plate for Monday night’s meeting at the district’s administration building, none of which went without public comment.

Roosevelt Field has seen its last days, as the motions for moving forward with the stadium project were carried.

Before the vote, board members heard from five Norristown community members in attendance, all of whom had something to say about the new athletic field. The first three encouraged the board to break ground on the new stadium and keep the dreams of NAHS student athletes alive, while the latter two spoke out against the project for its sources of funding.

In the vote, the board authorized temporary bond transfers from other funds in the district’s budget—the most talked about being that of technology—to cover the costs of building the new field. It was stated in the agreement that everything borrowed would be repaid as soon as funds are made available.

The board also approved the settlement of a Land Development Agreement between the district and West Norriton Township. While the land agreement had no trouble getting by the board, board member Michael Howell opposed the approval of breaking ground on the project by borrowing the necessary funds.

As if debating the financing for a new football field wasn’t enough, the board also tackled the approval of the 2011-2012 General Fund Budget. Additional cuts made to the budget from when the public last saw it were the elimination of the teen parenting and day care programs, and the reduction of the board’s annual contribution to community partners.

Other than these changes, the budget stood as proposed at the previous meeting and was approved, despite negative votes from Michael Howell and Karen Shanoski.

After taking care of business, Superintendent Dr. Janet Samuels brought up a more light-hearted subject—the recognition of NASD outstanding students.

Samuels said that, out of 373 seniors enrolled in the district in May of this year, 372 graduated in June. Over 70 percent of those graduates will be attending colleges and universities in the fall, and the remaining students have enlisted in the armed forces, enrolled in trade schools, or found places for themselves in the workforce.

Three of those graduates, Lashay Sowell, Janel Forsythe and Bose Omo-Ekpadi, were brought forward by Pat Gilbert, who represented the Norristown Kappa Silhouettes, to receive scholarships.

Gilbert spoke about the Silhouettes’ involvement in the community and her excitement about the group’s ability to award the scholarships.

Samuels congratulated the students, and she recognized Gilbert and all of the Silhouettes for their hard work and dedication.

“When you think about the community rallying together like [this], that’s what it’s all about,” she said.

Additionally, though juniors Amanda Assenmacher and Nathaniel Schwed did not graduate with the accomplished class of 2011, they did have notable accomplishments of their own. Both students were just recognized as National Merit Scholars, scoring in the top 50,000 students of the 1.5 million taking the PSAT every year. Board members congratulated the students and said they were eager to see how their lives will unfold.

Additional recognition was given to Jeff Smith, who has been appointed the new principal of Norristown Area High School. Samuels discussed how happy the district is to have him in the position.

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