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 ‘Millcreek Township School District’
Posted: October 28th, 2013

we rIt’s good news for the Millcreek School District. And we need that.

All good news. All the time.

Speech, debate, communications, fund-raising, sports and activity news are all front and center. Click here to visit the “We are Millcreek” Facebook page.

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You’ll see that the McDowell Girls Cross Country team won the District 10 AAA title led by junior Kelsey Swantek — she won the AAA race.

More news? The McDowell Marching Band took 2nd in a huge competition and the girls soccer team won a District 10 championship while raising $4,500 for The Epilepsy Project.

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And that was just over the weekend. The site shares only good news from community, schools, families, teachers, students, parents and friends.

Who started it? School board member Judy Wheaton joined Genene Mattern and Brian Kramer, also a school board member, in creating and maintaining the site. “As you know I have tried to share good stories with people for years and thought this might be a better avenue,” Wheaton told me in an e-mail. “I believe this has proven to be the correct move.”

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Many others are involved in the site anonymously. The Facebook page has 585 likes this morning, but it’s only been around a short time. I expect that to increase in a hurry.

Want some good news? Want to share some good news in Millcreek? Check out the Facebook page — a shout out to all the good things adults and kids in the Millcreek School District do everyday.

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

 

 

Posted in: Uncategorized
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: April 7th, 2013

McD TrojansErica Erwin’s story in today’s Erie Times-News delves into the Millcreek Township School District’s $8.8 million deficit for the 2013-2014 school year.

Acting Superintendent William Hall announced the bad news last week. He mentioned he had a “wow” moment when he discovered the budget deficit in November. That was November, folks. In another report, a school director also said “wow” in comment to the budget woes last week. Here’s some media advice to the current board and administration:

Don’t say wow. If you want to regain trust among Millcreek residents, wow isn’t going to do it.

Go to the Jay Badams and Matthew Cummings School of breaking bad news. And hurry. Badams, leader of the Erie School District, presented plans to all the media in advance of laying it out to the public and school staffs. In Erie, before he suggested closing schools, Badams told everyone that the Erie district owned a lot of real estate and schools weren’t full. Is that the case in Millcreek? About 16 years ago, boundary changes sent my kids from Vernondale to the new Tracy school — we had heard that eventually Ridgefield and Vernondale would close. Now, we’re hearing it again. Bring out the stats.

Listen to Felix & Gloeckler. The accounting firm advised that trouble was ahead last year. Accountants know budgets. If someone had listened a little earlier — like November — maybe a plan would have been in place right now.

Give William Hall a chance. He lives in Millcreek and has a child in Millcreek schools, according to Marsha Marsh, who was critical of my cynicism on how Millcreek is going to handle this mess. Her vote of confidence is good enough for me — today, but this district needs results and fast. Hall has to get his administration, staff and board to lose the arrogant, know-it-all attitude it has sported throughout the last administration. Now is your chance to wow us, Mr. Hall. Go for it.

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 23rd, 2013
This is a photograph of Gus Anderson Field at McDowell High School on April 17. Photo by JACK HANRAHAN/

This is a photograph of Gus Anderson Field at McDowell High School on April 17. Photo by JACK HANRAHAN/

On Jan. 22, Sean McCracken reported that Millcreek Township School District Superintendent Michael Golde is on administrative leave for “personal reasons” since Jan. 18.

No one is talking, and district employees said Golde’s leave might be discussed at the Millcreek School Board’s Jan. 28 meeting — 10 days after he left.

Another mystery brews. Officials referred questions to Tim Sennett, Millcreek Township attorney at the personnel, finance and operations meeting on Jan. 22.

See GoErie.com and read Sean McCracken’s update here for more details. Just a tidbit from McCracken’s story that caught my eye: “Golde is working under a five-year contract with the district that expires in 2014. His pay started at $155,000 a year and increased a maximum of 4 percent annually based on evaluations of his work.”

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 attended Millcreek schools. 

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