Something Stinks Here
POTTSTOWN, PA – It’s funny. At last week’s Pottstown School Board Committee of the Whole meeting, we don’t recall seeing Rev. Vernon Ross in the audience. And we certainly know that since he was not present at the meeting he did not address the board.
In yesterday’s Mercury, a curious article made the front page (partially above the fold mind you). The title of the article was Pastors want community’s input in Super search. If you haven’t already, you can read it here.
Rev. Ross, who is the pastor of Bethel African Methodist-Episcopal church, located at 401 Beech Street, believes that the community should have a say and chance to evaluate potential Pottstown School District superintendent candidates before a final selection is made.
While no one can dispute the idea to involve the community in a superintendent search is a valid one, we’re a little curious how Rev. Ross became involved in this debate. According to yesterday’s article, Rev. Ross said he “ran into some folks from the school district and I told them I read about David Krem leaving and I asked them what was being done to replace him”. We’re wondering which folks he ran into. Was it a chance encounter or a pre-determined one with an ulterior motive?
For those you don’t know, Rev. Ross at one time served on the board at the Ricketts Center with school board member Valerie Harris. Harris, whose family operates the Pottstown-based Harris Family Ministries, recently voted along with fellow board members Thomas Hylton and Nat White to hire an interim superintendent (which could easily mean hiring a candidate from outside the district). That vote was defeated 6-3.
According to data compiled in 2006, there are over 50 churches in the 19464 zip code. That’s a lot of churches. And that’s one of the big reasons why our taxes are so high…because we have so many tax exempt properties…a high proportion of them being churches.
In all the years we’ve lived and paid taxes in Pottstown, none of us here at Save Pottstown!! has ever once been asked to help select the church leaders for any of the churches we foot the tax bill for. So, for a church leader to come out and to start wanting to be involved in the procedure to select a new superintendent, we’re just a tad bit suspicious of the motives here.
When the search for former superintendents Ray Feick, Frank Heiffer, Anthony Georeno and David Krem were conducted, we don’t recall any Pottstown church leaders wanting to get involved in the selection process…at all.
So, the question is, why is this article on yesterday’s front page and who pushed to have it published? A very good question indeed true believers. We’ve spoken to several current and former school board members and none of them remember Rev. Ross attending any school board meetings or addressing the board recently. So, again, we ask, why is article newsworthy and who is behind getting it in print?
Hmmm. A certain school board member has made it well known of his desire to hire an interim superintendent. And that individual recently was rebuffed 6-3 by the board to hire an interim superintendent. So what’s one to do when you get told to talk to the hand? You start a campaign to undermine support of the superintendent selection process by introducing church leaders into the mix…church leaders who are acquaintances with a fellow board member you helped financially support to get elected. The concept reminds us of our Backing into Rupert post from earlier this year.
Does anyone else smell something fishy here?