By Robert Stoneback
The Danville News
A community forum on Thursday will give school district residents a chance to voice their opinions directly to school board members.
“I don’t know too many boards that go out and do this, but it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a number of years,” said Allan Schappert, president of Danville’s school board.
The forum will be moderated by the League of Women Voters and will be held at 7 p.m. in the borough hall’s ballroom.
“It’s not required by any means, I think it’s important to our community. It couldn’t come at a better time,” said Schappert. He expects the public has numerous questions about recent events at the district, including repairs to the Danville Middle School, contract negotiations with the teacher’s union and any possible budget cuts the district is facing due to a projected $1.25 million deficit next school year.
The school board is tentatively set to vote on its budget for the 2013-2014 school year at its June 11 meeting.
Schappert believes this meeting is a more effective way for the community to get answers from the district than the public comment section regularly offered at school board meetings. “It’s not designed to be a question and answer or discussion or complaint forum, that’s not the purpose of a board meeting,” he said.
Also invited to attend are Superintendent Cheryl Latorre, district business manager Janis Venna and district maintenance director Rick Engle. Shcappert plans to have them ready in the audience to answer questions from attendees.
The purpose of the meeting is to answer community questions, said Schappert, not for the board to take district action. “The intent is not to do any business or discuss business,” he said. He plans to have less than five school board members in attendance. Five or more members are needed to hold a quorum and officially vote on district matters.
Depending on the turnout, Schappert may hold another at a later time. He has already discussed the matter with managers of the Pine Barn Inn, who have expressed an interest in hosting a similar forum.
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