In the past few weeks, I have been contacted by several fellow Cheltenham Township residents expressing their concerns about the direction our beloved community is headed. Due to the overwhelming Voter Registration in our Township, it should be no surprise they are proud, long-standing members of the Democratic Party.

Several of our neighbors who contacted me are from Ward 3 where La Mott Community Center would normally serve as the hub of the community. However, it has been closed due to lack of maintenance over the years. Our neighbors are greatly concerned about the future of La Mott Community Center and our Township Officials, elected and appointed, have been evasive at best.

Message to Ward 3 Voters:
Your commissioner is up for re-election next year.

Another neighbor who contacted me a few weeks ago had just received his School Property Tax Bill. The amount of taxes due were so shocking it inspired him to write a letter to our School Board. He is a self-described lifelong Democrat, and he gave me permission to share his letter but requested to keep his name anonymous. His request will be honored. Please note his letter below and you will feel his emotions while you read. We all received our tax bills, too.


Good afternoon All:

I received my 7/01/22 – 6/30/23 Tax statement this week. I am aggrieved and deeply offended. I am a senior citizen, living on a fixed income. I have no children attending schools in the district. I did not attend Cheltenham schools. My children did not attend Cheltenham schools.  I derive no benefit from the school district. My only impacts from the district are the over speed and reckless driving of your bus operators and the bad behavior and litter from your “Students.”  But I typically need to borrow from my IRA to underwrite the annual fleecing we citizens get from the Township on behalf of an unaccountable school board. Additionally, the basis of tax assessment on real estate considers the totality of parcels in mils, not on property actually put to beneficial use. The system is in need of an overhaul and some fresh thinking from new board members,

The Board makes no apparent effort to contain its’ profligate spending that has included generous salaries for teachers and staff including absentee administrators. The performance of the district as a whole ranks poorly across many criteria against other districts in the state and spends generously in categories that do not directly contribute to student education. A reasonable person might conclude that the lack of concern for fiscal responsibility owes in some measure to the homogeneity of the board members. Why are there no Republican members on the board?  (italics & bold type added for emphasis)

The published school budget, while likely meeting reporting requirements, does not show where expenditures actually go. A more granular representation that includes a breakdown of all sports and extra-curricular spending and lists all vendors paid by the board would be more useful to citizens trying to determine where their tax dollars are being spent.  Could we please also have a copy of the most recent external audit of the district’s costs and funding statements? 

Please help us understand why it costs so much for performance that consistently lags behind that of districts in the state that tax and spend less. Cheltenham School District’s cavalier approach to taxing and spending, albeit within the legislatively defined limit for annual budget increase, warrants an outside perspective, perhaps in the form of investigation by a reputable news outlet. The budget has been so disproportionately high for so long that annual percentage increase limits simply contain the board’s ability to inflict additional financial pain.

As a community we have a huge opportunity in 2023. There will be four Commissioner Board seats and four School Board Director seats on our ballots. There will be more on this subject in the coming days ahead.


  1. John Fruncillo says

    I couldn’t agree more with the author of the letter. It is a shame that he feels that he can’t reveal his name, but such is the aggressive nature of the Cheltenham Democrats. I have had numerous Republican oriented flags stolen from my front lawn on Cadwalader Ave over the years.
    Regarding the school tax, my wife and I finally gave up the battle and moved to Blue Bell last month. Same property value, but one half of the tax. And excellent Whitpain schools. We loved Elkins Park for 50 years, but the Democrat mind set drove us away. I hope the Phila experience doesn’t bleed to Cheltenham Twp: 60 years of Democrat rule and look where they are.
    Good luck to all.

  2. Elaine Wolfson Rosenstein says

    Appreciate this info! Powerful!

  3. Norman Vaughn says

    Well written as always, Thom! These things practically write themselves when you’re just telling the truth!

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