Yesterday’s Work Session Meeting was the first since the School Director Elections. Mr Hume and Mr Ganow were both absent. There was no presentation, no visitor comments related to agenda items, and no informational items.
Lisa Bowman, Board President, quickly read through the list of agenda items, to be voted on at the November 18th Regular Monthly Meeting. The vast majority of items revolved around personnel issues: requests for Family Medical Leave, Resignation Approvals, Hiring Approvals. Next week, the Board will vote to approve the first reading of policies 801 “Public Records” and 806 “Child/Student Abuse.”
The Board will also vote on the Career and Technical Programs Advisory Committee (CTP). The committee is necessary for the Career and Technical Programs, and is made up of business people and community members. They meet twice a year, and quarterly as individual groups.
Facilities Committee Report
Mr Stoltzfus, as always, gave a very thorough report of yesterday’s Facilities Committee Meeting:
- Work to the Water Treatment will begin in the Summer of 2014;
- A Capital Improvements List should be completed by December;
- They are still in the process of finding a fix to the water problem at the high school;
- The Committee is exploring the option of converting a damaged water pump to wireless;
- The concession stand is being worked on;
- Daniel Carsley, Business Manager, will be providing each school with a survey about custodial services;
- The Field Development Task Force will be having a fundraiser in January;
- Environmental issues regarding the disposal of slag, used as back fill, could make refurbishing the existing track too costly, and alternative solutions may need to be explored.
Security was the spotlight issue from the Facilities Committee Report. Mr Stoltzfus stated security has been an issue discussed at every meeting recently. Expect it to be part of the budget discussions, and the District will also be looking into various grants. However, the District cannot make decisions based on one small, but very vocal group. Hiring a school resource officer, or a police officer, will be a costly, annual budgetary item. A greater number of people will need to speak up in favor of such action before the District commits.
Education Committee Report
Mr Norris gave a report of last month’s Education Committee Meeting. (My account of the meeting can be found here.) He highlighted Elena Wilson’s presentation of the Pennsylvania Value-Added Assessment System (PVAA). The data reviewed showed some “not so kind” facts and statistics, while other data points were more optimistic. Also noted was the data will be used in the new Teacher Evaluations, and in conjunction with Learning Focused Schools.
The update on the iPad program mentioned that Channel 8 News (WGAL) did a feature on Octorara. The news report can be viewed here. Parents will have the opportunity to receive iPad training this month. However, a date for the training has not yet been revealed.
Mr. Jerry Zimmerman, Christiana, thanked the Board & the Facilities Committee. A Security Advisory Committee will be meeting every first Tuesday, at 6:30pm in the District Office Conference Room. He stated the Committee already had a general consensus on the hiring of a school resource officers, or police officer. He will also create a list of safety issues agreed on by other parents.
Zimmerman stated the people involved in this initiative are very passionate. He will encourage individuals to communicate that passion to Board members and the Administration with phone calls and emails. He believes the number of people supporting the idea is larger than the District perceives.
Elizabeth Lapp, Octorara High School student, addressed the Board to thank Mr Stoltzfus for the use of his barn to create a Halloween attraction. Mr Stoltzfus was presented with a Thank You card. The event has been on ongoing, with the exception of last year, since 1995.
Dr Scott Rohrer and Dr Newcome praised Elizabeth Lapp’s performance, and the performance of all the students, in their production of Cinderella: The Untold Story.
Dr Rohrer stated final numbers should be next week, but it appears the schools raised over 5,000 pounds of food from their Food Drive. Mr Norris stated the donation to the Octorara Area Food Cupboard was equivalent of 2 months worth of food.
Last month, Mr Norris offered up the idea of having Board Meeting streamed live over the internet. He mentioned the idea again tonight, asking if there was any objection to starting the practice immediately. There was no objection, and Dr Newcome stated there was no problems with staring with the next scheduled Board Meeting.
I believe streaming live Board Meetings is a major first step to the active encouragement of public participation we have been discussing. Hopefully, the streaming will also include the archiving of meetings on YouTube or other service. However, it cannot be understated what a major step this is for the District.
Immediately following yesterday’s meeting was an Executive Session for Personnel & Labor Relations.
- Education Committee Meeting – October 28, 2013 (octorarataxes.wordpress.com)
- Parkesburg Election Results 2013 (parkesburggazette.wordpress.com)
- The school district is facing major funding challenges. How would you address this issue? (octorarataxes.wordpress.com)
- What do you consider to be the most important issue for the district and school board to focus on in the upcoming years? (octorarataxes.wordpress.com)
- SPP Scores: Has a new day dawned? (octorarataxes.wordpress.com)