The March issue of Philadelphia Magazine gave the distinction to Downingtown "The Grower". The article, "10 Awesome Neighborhoods To Call Home" took a look at several places around Philadelphia and the suburbs to find some diamonds in the rough. Having lived in Downingtown for 16 years now I would say for the most part it is a great place to live, but some of the drawbacks tend to make my temper flare at various times and lately the school district is stoking the fire. DASD just released a statement saying that the budget will fall short approximately 5.6 million dollars and there will be some serious cuts in programs. The board has looked at outsourcing jobs, done a transportation study, going paperless, not hiring as many new staff members and "streamlining" where they can. In fact the next few years do not look good and even more cuts might be needed. Normally this would not bother me, but enrollment numbers have not increased since the 2008-09 school year, yet a new middle school along with a STEM Academy are being built within the district. In fact there was talk about raising taxes above what can normally be done within a district;special permission at one time was being sought.
When my children were in sixth grade, about two years ago, DASD teachers went on strike for more money and lower insurance premiums. One of the only reasons the teachers returned to work was that their salaries were published in the newspaper, otherwise they most likely would have been out a lot longer. When published the lowest paid teacher in DASD made almost $20,000 more than the median income in Downingtown and most certainly for working less hours. DASD teachers race for the door once their "contract time" is up. In fact they are in arbitration right now because they worked 10 minutes more than they were supposed to on "Back to School Night."
So here we are the residents of Downingtown, looking at paying more taxes for what in the long run has become a lackadaisical education on the part of some of the educators in DASD, a brand new middle school and a STEM Academy when those monies could most certainly be used in a more responsible way. Those of us who live in Chester County know that our taxes are high for a reason, but when the reason is not viable nor visible why should we pay through the nose? It's time to educate the educators on basic economics.....you don't buy a boat if the lake has dried up.