Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Board President Addresses Concerns over Outsourcing

The following letter from Ritchie Webb appeared in the Courier Times:

Recently there have been a number of letters published in the Courier Times that have criticized the Neshaminy School Board for considering outsourcing of support staff functions, saying that we show no concern for our employees or our students. I want to assure the public that this is simply not true.

Our Board conducts business with two guiding principles in mind:
1) Provide our students with quality education that will prepare them for adult life
2) Provide that education with respect to our community’s ability to fund it

The excessive nature of Neshaminy’s labor costs has been well documented and I don’t need to restate the obvious. So let’s just skip to the bottom line – as of this moment we are faced with a $7 million deficit for the 2010/2011 school year, which is well in excess of the State-mandated Act 1 inflationary limit and is far more than what our tax payers can afford. This leaves us with two alternatives:
A. Reduce our operating expenses
B. Cut educational programs

The problem with option B is that it goes against the guiding principles previously noted. Our school district exists for the purpose of educating and nurturing and preparing our children. Depriving these young people of programs that educate them or enhance their learning experience is not an option this board is willing to consider. And so that leaves us with only one choice – reduce operating expenses.

It is the sincerest wish of the Neshaminy School Board that we resolve the impasses with our teachers and support staff employees soon, however we cannot – we must not – shirk our responsibilities to Neshaminy’s students. Time is running out, and soon we will be faced with very difficult decisions if we cannot restructure our labor agreements. It is not a situation that any school board wants to find itself in but it is one that this Board is committed to addressing.

I cannot predict what will happen in the next few months but I can promise you this – Whatever we as a Board decide to do, it will be done with the best interests of our students in mind. After all, they are the reason we are here.

If any Neshaminy resident has questions or comments regarding this matter, please contact me at

Ritchie Webb
President, Neshaminy School Board of Directors