TREDYFFRIN TOWNSHIP, PA -- Saying he wanted to express his gratitude for all his East Pennsylvania School District has done for him and his family over 53 school years, David Levine of Devon took out his checkbook and put his money where is mouth is.
After several hours of speeches from frustrated students, parents, teachers and board members Levine, the last member of the public to speak, took to the podium to thank the district. Then he took out his checkbook and wrote a check amounting to $100 for each year that he, his wife, and children attended T/E District Public Schools. The grand total: $5,300.
Levine told stunned board members and administrators that he is a grateful graduate of Conestoga High School, as are his wife and their three grown children. He then announced he was writing a check as a "thank you" gift.
A Calm Gesture after a Storm of Complaints
After a long line of angry speeches, including some students speaking from the heart and others who read remarks prepared for them, Levine finally got his turn. He was the last, and among the more soft-spoken, to take the podium. After thanking the board, teachers, and administrators Levine literally opened his checkbook and made out the check.
Many of the hundreds who packed the meeting had gone home by the time Levine got to speak, but not everyone. School Board President Karen Cruickshank and District Business Manager Art McDonnell were among the stunned officials who were quick to express gratitude for the gesture, and the gift.
Almost Too Hard to Believe
"This is the first time I've ever had anyone write out a check at a (public) meeting like this," McDonnell told TE Patch, "and I've been around for a long time!"
Describing the amount of the check, McDonnell told Patch "that's bigger than the average ($4,710) district tax bill."
Before answering a TE Patch question in response to the gift, a stunned Board President Karen Cruickshank had to double-check with McDonnell to make sure what she had just seen happen, actually happened. McDonnell assured her that Levine had, in fact, just written a $5,300 check to the district.
Choked up by the gesture, Cruickshank told TE Patch "I have never seen anything like this before. One of our residents was so moved by everything that we do here in this district and everything that we could lose, that he whipped out his checkbook and wrote a check for 53-hundred dollars. That's incredible. Thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Levine for this."
Cruickshank also emphasized a point she had made several times during the public meeting. Expressing the frustrations she and many board member share over unfunded state mandates and increased state pension costs for local school boards all over Pennsylvania Cruickshank lamented, "What a sad state that this is what public education has come to."