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At the October Ridley School Board meeting, Ridley Park resident Tom Ricker asked school directors to post the monthly board meeting agendas the Friday before regular meetings and that all board meetings be videotaped and posted online as well as run on Ridley television. Ricker also asked that all negotiated contracts be posted online. Correspondent Barbara Ormsby was in the audience and filed this story for the DelCo Times.
“Taxpayers should not have to have file a RTK (right-to-know) request to see how their tax dollars are being spent,” Ricker said, reading from a prepared statement.
Ricker, who said he is a teacher, leveled criticism at school tax increases, citing a published report that Ridley’s taxes have gone up almost 100 percent in the last 10 years.
“This board needs to take responsibility for these outrageous tax increases,” he said. “Forty mills are comparable to Wallingford-Swarthmore but there is no comparison in terms of student performance, and yes, I realize, there are socio-economic differences.”
Ricker also said the school district’s commitment to neighborhood elementary schools may be too expensive, and the early retirement incentive programs for teachers have been found to not be worth their costs.
“You have a few teachers at Ridley who stay past 40 years, but most are happy to end their careers after 35 or 40 (years). The studies have found those teachers don’t need an incentive,” Ricker said, adding that the incentive is not in the teachers contract and does not need to be negotiated. “You can simply get rid of it as a matter of policy.”
Ricker cited Act 93 in criticizing building level administrators’ salaries he said are among the highest out of the 501 school districts in the state, the salaries of assistant principals and elementary principals, and yearly bonuses for administrators.
Noting that the school board members signed the Act 93 agreement for administrators last December, Ricker said the agreement does not represent the kind of leadership needed from “our most highly compensated class of employees.”
“During the December 2012 reorganization meeting, (board) president (Michael) Capozzoli bragged that Ridley’s was the best working board in all of Delaware County. You may all get along well together, but with all due respect, you are clearly not working for the taxpayers,” Ricker said.