Her Times
By Pam Parker Erie Times-News staff blogger
Pam Parker's blog takes on everything from women's fun to momisms to lifestyles around Lake Erie and real estate. She'll take you down Memory Lane, up through sports and fun and off the grid. Get ready for laughs — it's more than just Pam. It's Pamdemonium.   Read more about this blog.
 Phone: 814-870-1821
Posts tagged ‘McDowell High School’
Posted: June 5th, 2013

whalersWe are a family of Vernondale Whalers from way back. And Tracy Tigers. The Millcreek Township School District school board voted 5-4 to close Vernondale and Ridgefield at last week’s meeting.

I feel for the families, but I also worry about the budget. My kids were moved 15 years ago from Vernondale to Tracy, and we knew it was coming. We also knew we could be moved again, and that is true for everyone in any large school district. Depending on enrollments, kids go where there’s room. There are no guarantees.

During last week’s school board meeting, I was confused.  Months ago, we heard the district would save $2.4 million on the school closings, and then the number changed as the idea resurfaced.

Here’s some advice to Millcreek leaders: We expect to hear: “Here’s the plan. It’s the best arrangement for the students and the best choice for the district.” Done. End of story. Move forward. It’s what the Erie School District did last year. Right now, this situation appears to drag out. The MTSD site states:

The official vote on these closings will not take place until the Special Board meeting on August 12, 2013, District administrators are in the process of finalizing redistricting and student realignment plans to prepare for the 2013-14 school year. These plans will be presented at the June 17 Operations Committee, which is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.  The School Board would then approve the final redistricting boundaries at the June 27 Board meeting. 

Don’t rush a budget and a superintendent

While the school district continues to battle numbers in a wicked school budget, it’s also rushing to hire a new superintendent– a huge mistake in my humble opinion. This district needs to focus on one thing at a time. Get this budget/school closings issue straightened out with an acting superintendent and start mending fences with residents. Then, look for a superintendent. Take your time and give residents some confidence.

Trust and transparency?

While we hear that Millcreek’s administrators have met with Erie School District leaders for advice, I’m not sure they are taking that advice to heart. An editorial in the Erie Times-News today pointed out that the public will meet four superintendent finalists at McDowell Intermediate High School’s Little Theatre, 3320 Caughey Road tonight at 6 p.m. Part of the editorial reads:

“When the Erie School Board searched for a successor to Jim Barker, the board released the names in advance and held separate two-hour open forums for its three finalists. Millcreek residents were required to submit questions in advance by e-mail.”

The editorial wonders how much filtering will go on with those questions. Read the full editorial here. You can meet all four candidates tonight from 6 to 8 p.m. — or it might be 7:30 p.m. — the MTSD notice has both times on it — must have been a clerical error.  Click on each name below to link to candidate resumes.

  • Mr. Kenneth Berlin – principal of Iroquois Jr./Sr. High School
  • Mr. William Hall – assistant superintendent who is serving as acting superintendent at Millcreek
  • Dr. Joseph Macharola* – executive director of Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8 in Altoona
  • Dr. Stephanie Williams – principal of McDowell Intermediate

Dr. Joseph Macharola refused to post his resume. You’ll have to Google him.

A word to the board and administration

Please get your ducks in a row, do your research, and be leaders. Please stop infuriating Millcreek residents with rushed decisions that affect this school district for years to come. Please.

Pam Parker is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyleHer Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa. She is the mom of three and stepmom to three — all graduates of McDowell High School. 

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: May 1st, 2013

I gclock2et a lot of e-mails about gifts for Moms, Dads and grads. Last year, I blogged that what grads want is plain old cash. Don’t get clever, just hand over the Benjamins.

Mom and Dad want greeting cards, gift cards and a few hours of your time — simple.

Finally a web site agrees. Here are the results of ShopAtHome.com’s latest survey results:

      23 percent of moms and 30 percent of dads prefer gift cards over traditional gifts like perfume or clothes

Both moms and dads (52 and 48 percent, respectively) want their loved ones to spend $30 or below on a gift
22 percent of moms and 17 percent of dads prefer a simple greeting card
59 percent of graduates would like money as a graduation gift
In a press release, Lesley Kennedy, ShopAtHome.com senior managing editor suggests, “If you can save money finding a discounted gift card online and pair that with a heartfelt homemade card, a home-cooked meal or a simple phone call to say  ‘thanks, Mom and Dad.’”

Kennedy added that you can buy and trade gift cards on sites where you can save up to 30 percent on the cost.

ShopAtHome.com was founded in 1986 by husband-and-wife team Marc and Claudia Braunstein. It provides online coupons on the web. The survey took place on ShopAtHome.com’s Facebook page with more than 4.4 million Facebook fans. It had 1,825 respondents from April 18 to 24, 2013.

Pam Parker is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyle, Her Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa. She is the mom of three, stepmom of three and step grandmom of one.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: April 30th, 2013

270370_109734372453178_3216495_nTo see the preliminary 2012 -2013 budget pages, click here — thanks to No New McDowell on Facebook.

In other news, the district’s business manager will now report directly to the board — read Erica Erwin’s column here.

 

Pam Parker is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyle, Her Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa. She is the mom of three and stepmom of three — all graduates of Millcreek elelmentary and middle schools along with McDowell High School.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: April 22nd, 2013

PintoClick here to read the op ed by courageous Joseph Barber Pinto, at left. He is a student at McDowell who hopes the award-winning speech and debate team survives the Millcreek School District’s budget crash.

He points out how admissions representatives at Ivy League schools — well, really all schools — want to see more than education on the average college application. My family totally agrees — six kids went from McDowell to higher education — with plenty of activities on their college apps.

A quote from Joseph Barber Pinto’s letter: “The Wall Street Journal published a report on the success rate of college applicants at all schools. According to the report, “Being captain of the debate team improved an applicant’s chances by more than 60 percent compared with the rest of the pool. Colleges and universities today are looking for articulate thinkers and communicators who will become active citizens and leaders of tomorrow.”

We need to save activities. I graduated from Villa Maria Academy — a proud and award-winning member of the Forensics team. It made me who I am today.

Pam Parker is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyle, Her Times andHouse to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa. She is the mom of three, stepmom to three — all graduates of McDowell High School.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: February 20th, 2013

270370_109734372453178_3216495_nLast night, the Millcreek School Board met with auditors to discover that on-leave superintendent Michael Golde allegedly ordered the business manager to bump $5 million from the capital fund to the operating budget in July and return it in October, according to Terry Scutella. Assistant superintendent William Hall didn’t believe Golde knew he did anything wrong. Hmm.

This is still clear as mud.

What is clear: Felix & Gloeckler — professional accountants — revealed a lot of ugly truths — the district was short on income and long on expenses — by millions. And the board didn’t know any of that or about the $5 million transfer. Sean McCracken of the Erie Times-News reported from the meeting last night that district officials hadn’t filed some financial reports since May of 2012. How does a board make financial decisions without financial reports?

News from the meeting direct from Sean McCracken’s Twitter feed Tuesday night:
“Auditors say the board needs to be aware that the district could potentially have a budget shortfall for the end of the current school year.
Board member Michael Palermo asked business manager Linnea Lincoln what will be different in the next budget after this audit report. Her response: What you’ll see is true honest numbers with me using my own advice and guidance that was previously not accepted.
Accountant Jim Gloekler said he disagreed with district administrators about their budget projections.”
Read McCracken’s full story here.
My money’s on the professional accountants at Felix & Gloeckler. The administration’s record, dating back to 2003, has a lot of bookkeeping blunders with taxpayer money.

Here are a few examples:

Last year, the Erie Times News, in an editorial, cited Pennsylvania Auditor Gen. Jack Wagner’s report that Maryann Anderson “grossly abused her position” by spending $91,873 in special education funds on gift cards for employee incentives. The report also criticized sloppy record-keeping for $341,140 in special education spending between 2003 and 2006.

Wagner’s report went to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the state Attorney General’s Office, the Pennsylvania departments of education and welfare, the state Office of the Budget and the U.S. departments of education and health and human services.

That’s not good.

In 2007, Thomas J. Maciulewicz Jr., a former McDowell Intermediate High School principal, sold school property on eBay — a lot of property — about 47 items. He padded his principal’s income with an additional $18,430. He also used gift cards.

Sean McCracken of the Erie Times-News also reported early this week that the Millcreek School board realized it needs a “community-minded” administrator. We need more than that — it’s time we find leaders who know how to watch the cookie jar and treat taxpayers with respect.  My vote goes to Felix & Gloeckler.

Pam Parker is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyle, Her Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa. She is the mom of three, stepmom to three — all graduates of McDowell High School.  

 

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: January 31st, 2013

MP900341908[1]In the wake of the personal, paid leave for Michael Golde … and all the silence surrounding the Millcreek’s School District board’s handling of this entire McDowell mess — oh and the mysterious $5 million transfer from a capital fund to an operating budget — a no-no someone had to sign off on, I found an article about superintendents behaving badly.

Read the LehighValley Morning Call’s piece by staffer Paul Carpenter. This article, dating back to 2011, discusses the salaries and arrogance of Allentown, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh superintendents.

Here’s a sample: Former Allentown superintendent Gerald Zahorchak collected a $195,000 salary, and Carpenter in his article in the Morning Call quoted complaints that “Zahorchak ruled like an autocrat and warned subordinates that any public criticism of his policies would result in disciplinary action.” He resigned after less than a year and is now the director of strategic initiatives of the Allentown School District. Hmmm.

Paul Carpenter also calls attention to huge separation packages that superintendents walked off with in other cities.

Meanwhile back at the ranch here in Millcreek, Michael Golde is on paid personal leave. Follow The Erie Times-News’ Sean McCracken as he unravels the audit, the consolidation and the taxpayer frustrations.  And McCracken has news on the Northwest Tri-County Intermediate Unit’s “hoarding” of $11.8 million from 17 school districts.

I guess we all have something to learn from these facts.

Pam Parker is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyleHer Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa. She is the mom of three, stepmom to three — all graduates of McDowell High School. She is a step-grandmom to one.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: January 6th, 2013

Jordyn ColaoWe are all connected to our pasts, and they often help us find our futures. This month in Her Times, a lot of women share some outstanding pasts, presents and futures with us.

Cover girl Jordyn Colao is vying for Miss America this week, and I had no idea that Jordyn, a McDowell High School and Penn State grad, frequented our neighborhood for the past decade until my daughter told me Jordyn was friends with our neighbor. Jordyn also went to PSU with our photographer Andy Colwell. Catch the video Andy did of Jordyn here. In the video, Miss Pennsylvania shared that she has collected some substantial scholarship money as a result of winning pageants — a big bonus to any college student. She has been training in tap dance at Miss Lucy’s since she was a tot. Read the full article on Jordyn here, And vote for Jordyn online to become one of the 15 Miss America finalists. Here’s the link. It only takes a minute to vote!

Her Times also offers up women’s stories of reflection. You have to look back before you can go forward. It’s too easy at this time of year to regret what we didn’t accomplish — we have to congratulate ourselves on what we DID do. Marnie Mead shares her own extraordinary story of courage and triumph this month. It is a must-read right here. We also salute extraordinary women and an award-winning interior designer who says being a waitress taught her some of her most valuable career skills.

We also get a dose of leggy fashion, makeup tips, what’s happening at salons and directions on how to plan our futures with big dreams. And real women share advice they would have given their younger selves. Here are links to all the stories in Her Times:

Pam Parker is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyleHer Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa. She is the mom of three, stepmom to three and step-grandmom to one.

 

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: December 11th, 2012

Miss Pennsylvania Jordyn Colao, daughter of Joe and Laurie Colao and a graduate of McDowell High School and Penn State University, is competing in the Miss America pageant on Jan. 12. Here’s a link to the Miss Pennsylvania site. Jordyn’s parents own Peppino’s Italian Chop House in Fairview.

The contest has an Internet component with videos for each contestant. The contestant with the most Internet votes for her video gets into the top 15 finalists. An online voting link was posted yesterday. Here’s the link. Start voting. It closes just before midnight on Jan. 10.

This is all local, folks. Jordyn’s boyfriend is Penn State and General McLane football star Drew Astorino.

Pam Parker is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyleHer Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa. She is the mom of three, stepmom to three and step-grandmom to one.

 

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: October 28th, 2012

That’s my little girl, at left,  crossing the finish line — a few years ago during a cross country meet — well it was nine years ago. We know cross country in this house. And yesterday was a great day for local young ladies and young men at the District 10 cross country meet at beautiful Buhl Park — it’s beautiful even when soaked in rain. Believe me — it is.

Here are some of the awesome results. Check out the video here and all the photos on Goerie.com.

Villa Maria freshman Bernadette Prichard wins the District 10 Class AA Cross Country Championship at Buhl Park in Sharon on Oct. 27. TOM REISENWEBER/

Bernadette Prichard, Villa Maria Academy freshman, had the best time of the girls with 19 minutes, 36 seconds. She led the Victors to the AA team title in the Class AA/Class AAA. Prichard is also an outstanding tennis player.

Erie Times-News file photo: McDowell High School senior Melissa Perseo finished in second place at the McDowell Invitational cross country race at Brown's Farm in Millcreek Township on Sept. 1. GREG WOHLFORD/

McDowell’s Melissa Perseo won the AAA title in 20:18 followed by Courtney Sargent with a time of 21:10. Sargent attends Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy and competes for Strong Vincent.

Cambridge Springs’ Olivia Mamula and Kristen White of West Middlesex won the Class A event with at 20:40. Mamula won the event after photo finish review.

Erie Times-News file photo: Cambridge Springs High School sophomore Reilly Walsh, left, and junior teammate Olivia Mamula finished in fifth and sixth place at the McDowell Invitational cross country race at Brown's Farm in Millcreek Township on Sept. 1. GREG WOHLFORD/

All of these young women and their families will head to Hershey next week for the state meet. Good luck, ladies. Hershey is also beautiful for runners — no matter what the weather!

Pam Parker is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyleHer Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: October 3rd, 2012

Check out the photo gallery of 200 photos from the McDowell High School Homecoming parade and football game in Millcreek Township on Friday, Sept. 28.

Injured McDowell senior quarterback Jarrett Koper appears in the photo at left with his date for homecoming. See all the teenagers and cute babies and tots in costume.

There’s more — see the water polo photos from McDowell High School versus Cathedral Prep and Villa Maria Academy here.

Pam Parker is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyleHer Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa.

Posted in: Uncategorized