Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A New School Year

At our September board meeting, district treasurer Cheryl Swisher said that some things were still not finalized on the state level to allow her to present an updated 5 year forecast, but what she had to-date was not encouraging. Certain state policy changes have been touted as being "good for schools" by state level politicians, but are only mere shuffling around of existing programs - some resulting in a net loss of funds for school districts. Mrs. Swisher is closely monitoring the situation and will keep us informed.

Mrs. Baz was in attendance at our meeting, and had a few personnel updates on supplemental contracts and student teachers. Each building principal had their building report included in our board packet, as usual.

Principal, Ben Ohlemacher had special packets prepared for us on his goals and plans for the Middle School. They have changed to a six period day. This will give our Middle School students around 21 additional hours of instruction in core academic classes this year, as compared with last year. Also, there are 40 minutes of daily intervention available where needed. Failure is not an option under Mr. Ohlemacher's plan.

One of the proposals put forth by Mr. Ohlemacher was his request to hold a parents' meeting to see what level of interest there might be in an 8th grade trip to Philadelphia next Spring. If enough parents are interested and if the financial considerations can be handled so that no one is left out from lack of funding, it would be a whirlwind, 2 day tour. Some of the places included in the tour package are Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell Pavilion, Historic Christ Church and Betsey Ross House, the US Mint and the National Constitution Center. The Board gave its permission for a parents' meeting to be held.

At the end of our meeting, board member Mona Dyke mentioned that she was finalizing the second issue of the Bulldog Bulletin. Residents of our district should be receiving that issue soon.

I have noticed campaign signs for school board popping up lately. One I saw has a catchy slogan that I like. I have been told that one candidate for a school board position is a former Village Council member who had to resign that post due to physical issues (this has been some time ago, apparently). I hope those issues have been improved, if this person is now running for another public office. I would much rather have all three open slots be filled by people voted in by public election, and not have any of them leave the post prematurely which would require the remaining board members to appoint a person to serve the balance of that term.

Whoever is elected will be thrown quickly into contract negotiation scenarios with our district unions next Spring.

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