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Committee of the Whole - January 3, 2000

Committee of the Whole
January 3, 2000

The Penn Manor School Board met as a Committee of the Whole on the above date at 7:00 p.m. in the Board Room of the Manor Middle School. Present were Mr. Anderson, Mr. Fields, Dr. Frerichs, Ms. Herr, Mr. Herr, Mr. Kline, Mr. Kreider, Mrs. Wert, and Mrs. Withum. Present from the administrative staff were Dr. Campbell, Mr. Skrocki, and Mr. Stewart. Also in attendance were Mrs. Hallock, Mrs. Kenna, Mrs. Schoonover, and Miss Scarborough for their presentation; Penn Manor residents and Dolores Warfel.

The meeting was called to order at 7:03 p.m. by Mr. Herr.

Mr. Herr asked if there were any Citizen's Comments. Mr. Vince Palumbo, 2646 Valley Drive, addressed the Board regarding the possibility of starting a junior high track program. He stated that there are teams for junior high students to participate on during the fall and winter but nothing for them to do in the spring. He also stated that the Lancaster-Lebanon League has junior high track teams already competing. Mr. Herr suggested that he speak with Mr. Mummau and thanked Mr. Palumbo for bringing his request to the Board’s attention.

Mr. Herr asked the committee whether there were any additions or corrections to the Minutes of the December 6, 1999, Committee of the Whole Meeting. Hearing none, on a motion by Dr. Frerichs, a second by Ms. Herr, and a unanimous voice vote, he directed that the Minutes would stand approved as distributed.

Mr. Stewart then informed Board members that the month of January is School Board Recognition Month. He thanked them for their hard work and applauded them for their dedication to Penn Manor School District residents, students, and staff. Four students from Mrs. Thomson’s second grade at Eshleman Elementary School - Luke Potts, Will Shipley, Logan Falk, and Abby Wilson - then presented each Board member with a plaque made in their classroom and a balloon. Mr. Herr thanked the students for the gifts on behalf of fellow Board members.

Dr. Campbell then reviewed the CSS and Morningside Programs. He reviewed the history behind Reading Recovery and the background behind the Morningside Program. Dr. Campbell then introduced Mrs. Kenna, Mrs. Hallock, Miss Scarborough, and Mrs. Schoonover. Mrs. Hallock thanked the Board for supporting the Morningside Program and adding three people to the program this year. She stated that Mrs. Roth-Walter is also part of the team but is currently on Child Rearing Leave. Mrs. Hallock then introduced two students, Blayne Hooley and Tim Rineer and their parents, indicating that the students would be part of the presentation. She provided a packet of information regarding Morningside for Board members to review at a later date. Mrs. Hallock stated that the focus of the Morningside Program is third grade students. She briefly discussed the funding for Morningside for the 1999-00 school year stating that funding comes from a thirty-five million dollar Read To Succeed Grant which was divided among participating school districts with Penn Manor getting $170,072. In the second and third year of the grant the amount to be divided will be twenty-five million dollars with the amount decreasing to fifteen million dollars in the fourth year. Mrs. Hallock stated that she hopes Penn Manor will continue to receive funding by having a successful program. Criteria for the Morningside Program was then shared. She said the team is looking into having programs for parents, involving preschool students in story hours, etc. as a means of promoting early intervention. Mrs. Hallock stated that she would like to return in the spring to update the Board on the success of the program. Mrs. Kenna then reviewed the CSS process and Morningside. She stated that the team is very busy with 98 students being referred from Conestoga in grades K-6 and 130 students from Martic in grades K-6. Most of these referrals are either counseling or reading referrals. Mrs. Kenna stated that Conestoga, Hambright, Pequea, and Martic Elementary Schools are the four grant schools involved in the Morningside Program. She stated that the program’s focus is students in third grade. Dr. Campbell stated that since Reading Recovery students get tested before leaving kindergarten, students with potential needs are identified sooner. Mrs. Kenna informed the Board that kindergarten students will be tested in approximately February and students identified with problems will be worked with for approximately an eight week period. He stated that CSS teachers either go into the classroom and do a lesson for the teacher or work with students. He stated that he would like to have more CSS and Morningside people trained. Dr. Campbell informed the Board that Penn Manor is the only school in the east involved in these programs. The question arose regarding why a student can get to third grade without being identified. Dr. Campbell said we are not able to get to all of the students needing help because of the lack of manpower. Mrs. Kenna said the Morningside Program can work on higher and lower grades but that the Morningside people suggested focusing at the third grade level. Dr. Campbell stated that the middle schools are also interested in having a Morningside Program. Mr. Fields stated that theoretically we should have fewer problems with students as time goes on and the program is successful. Dr. Campbell stated that that is the goal. She also reviewed the relationship of staff development to the program. Mrs. Kenna thanked the Board for supporting CSS and hiring additional personnel to work with the Morningside Program. Miss Scarborough then informed the Board that she is both the CSS person and Morningside teacher at Hambright and Letort Elementary Schools. Miss Scarborough then informed the Board that the Morningside program is a Model of Generative Instruction which provides the students with “free learning” as well. She stated that the information presented to students is done very quickly by the teacher with choral responses by the students. Miss Scarborough reviewed the training the team received on their trip to Seattle, Washington and the fact that it is felt that reading is a behavior. She stated that tapes are made of student sessions by the teachers involved in Penn Manor’s program which are then sent to Seattle. The tapes are reviewed by the Morningside people in Seattle and sent back with comments for reuse. Miss Scarborough said the team will be going back to Seattle in April for more instruction. She then reviewed the purpose of mastery learning which is teaching so students become fluent and accurate readers who are able to read for long periods of time. She also shared information relating to timing and charting. The Morningside Program is made up of six systems with Penn Manor currently having two systems - direct instruction and precision teaching. Penn Manor will receive the other four systems when they have successfully handled the current two systems. Although Penn Manor is focusing on reading, this type of instruction can be used in other areas and can be offered in grades K-12. Miss Scarborough said that students have one hour sessions with three to six students per session. She also said the six systems have the following three traits: 1) they must have a very strong research base, 2) be able to produce success with children, and 3) need to be systems that can replicate or be taught to other people. Mrs. Schoonover then reintroduced the two students - Tim Rineer and Blaine Hooley - and asked them to join her for their portion of the presentation. She thanked their parents for bringing them to the Board Meeting. Mrs. Schoonover stated that both students are third graders. Mrs. Schoonover and the students then shared segmenting, blending and decoding techniques with those in attendance. The students also shared timing techniques. Dr. Campbell commended the teachers and Mrs. Hallock for their hard work. He also thanked the students for their part in the presentation and promised to buy them ice cream when he is at Martic.

Dr. Campbell updated the Board with regard to the recent incident at Marticville Middle School stating there will be a meeting on Wednesday evening for interested parents. He reviewed the fact that parents expressed a desire to know what they could do with regard to incidents like this. Therefore, the topic of the meeting will be various safety issues as covered in the Safety Handbook. Actions taken by the district will not be discussed. A representative from the police department, Mr. Stewart, and Mr. Doan will be in attendance. Mr. Herr questioned whether Board members should be present. Mrs. Withum indicated she would be attending. Ms. Herr stated that Board members need to be aware of their role and questioned representation of the Board being perceived correctly. Dr. Frerichs stated that he felt Board representation would indicate that the Board is interested and feels it would be appropriate. Dr. Campbell also informed the Board that the article appearing in the Lancaster New Era was very accurate.

Dr. Campbell reviewed the current coaching staff and number of students involved in the wrestling program for the Board as a follow-up to the recent approval of additional coaching staff if numbers indicated a need for additional coaches. He stated that the numbers do in fact justify the need for additional coaches.

Dr. Frerichs asked that the Board receive a report from Mr. Mummau regarding Mr. Palumbo’s request for a junior high track and field team - number of coaches needed, where they would practice, number of events, etc. Dr. Campbell said he would arrange for a full report from Mr. Mummau. Dr. Campbell then informed the Board that the high school track will not be ready for use in time for track season so an alternate track facility will have to be found - possibly Millersville University. Discussion then ensued regarding the status of the grant. Dr. Campbell and Mr. Skrocki said we have not heard anything to date but the track will be able to be done in the fall even without the grant. Mrs. Wert wondered if recycled tires would be used without the grant. Mr. Skrocki indicated they would be.

Mr. Skrocki then provided an update with regard to the architect interviews. He stated that the list has been narrowed from four to two architects for consideration - Gilbert and Lynch. Mr. Skrocki stated that references are now being checked for the above two cited firms with a final recommendation being made to the Board at the January 10 School Board Meeting. The next step will be to determine which option we wish to pursue and the time line to be followed. Mr. Skrocki stated that cost estimates for the second option will be obtained after an architect is chosen. Mrs. Wert asked if it was difficult to narrow the choices to two. Mr. Skrocki said “no.” He stated that he felt the two firms being recommended were really the only two possible choices. Dr. Frerichs and Mr. Anderson, Board members present for the interviews, agreed. Mr. Herr thanked the Board members who attended the interviews.

Clean and Green was then discussed. Mr. Skrocki gave an overview of Clean and Green and the recent change to it. He stated that you must have 10 or more acres of land to be considered for Clean and Green with the county assessor determining the property to be enrolled in the program. Mr. Skrocki stated that Penn Manor has 675 properties involved in Clean and Green. He stated that Clean and Green has been amended with property owners being able to take a further reduction in taxes based on the homestead portion of Clean and Green. This reduction in assessment will amount to $106,911,600 for Penn Manor. Mr. Skrocki stated that Penn Manor will face lost tax dollars in the amount of $1,476,449 during the 1999/2000 school year and will lose an additional $40,000 in tax revenues as a result of the amendment.

Mr. Skrocki then updated the Board with regard to 2000/2001 PURTA. He stated that there was a change in PURTA legislation effective January 1 subjecting electric generating properties to local real estate taxation. Previously generating companies paid into the PURTA fund with districts applying for and receiving a portion of PURTA money each year - presently $281,000 for Penn Manor. Mr. Skrocki stated that prior to appeals the assessed value of these properties would be $90,766,900 or an increased revenue of $1,253,491. After appeals the new money available to Penn Manor would be $640,929 rather than the initial $1,253,491 anticipated. Mr. Skrocki stated that he expects $500,000 to be the actual money received as of July 1 with Penn Manor still awaiting answers on appeals made by either Penn Manor or the generating companies. These appeals could change the amount of money available. Mr. Skrocki, therefore, suggested some of the money be set aside in escrow pending results of appeals. He stated that Penn Manor is going to oppose an increase in the assessment on Safe Harbor. Also discussed was the fact that there is a question as to when the generating companies start paying taxes - January 1 or July 1. Mr. Skrocki then reviewed a proposed resolution which he asked the Board to approve for adoption at the January School Board Meeting. This resolution approves sending out tax bills to the generating company for taxation effective January 1, 2000 even though payment may not be received until the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue issues a ruling. The resolution was approved for placement on the January School Board Meeting Agenda on a motion by Mr. Fields, a second by Mrs. Wert, and a unanimous voice vote.

Dr. Campbell provided an update with regard to the CISCO Network Engineer Course at the High School. He stated that the program has grown and reviewed requests for next year. Board members asked for additional information regarding the requests and questioned whether there was money for the these items. Dr. Campbell stated that this is not budgeted money. Mr. Skrocki stated that money is available for transfer to provide further training for the teachers. Dr. Campbell stated that he will get back to the Board with information regarding items for future consideration at a later date. Dr. Campbell said he strongly encourages the Board to support this transfer of money and stated he would like to see this program continue. He stated that the program provides students with certification so they can get work immediately in good paying jobs.

Dr. Campbell then reviewed Administrative Guidelines dealing with Student Trips Outside of Lancaster County and a request for a student trip to Europe. Discussion then ensued regarding #4 of these guidelines which reads as follows: The school district is not liable nor responsible for the transportation, supervision, nor conduct on the student trips. Dr. Frerichs stated he has a concern with putting the chaperone at a disadvantage when dealing with students as this item now reads. Dr. Campbell stated that trips of this nature do not fall under the Code of Conduct and he would have reservations with putting it under this policy. Mr. Kline said he feels that making any additions even for clarification purposes to #4 could “muddy” the waters. Dr. Campbell said he will look into this issue.

Dr. Campbell reviewed the funding for AP Tests. He reviewed past history whereby Dr. Moskalski instructed Mr. Leichliter to print in the Student Handbook that AP tests would be paid for by the district. In fact, this approval was never given by the Board and approval to place it in the handbook was premature. Dr. Campbell asked the Board if they want to simply pay for the tests as printed or reconsider this matter. Mrs. Withum stated that she would like to pay for the tests and made a motion to that affect. Mr. Herr asked for a second to the motion. There was no second. Mr. Herr then asked for further discussion. Ms. Herr stated that she did not wish to pay for the tests as she sees this as an advantage to the student and parent but not to Penn Manor. Dr. Frerichs stated he sees no relationship between taking the test and the AP courses. Mr. Fields questioned the value of taking the test. Dr. Frerichs said teachers were trying to replace final exams with AP testing. Mr. Kline stated that if a student makes a certain score on the tests they can opt out of college courses. Mr. Herr stated that he had a concern with the fact that the handbook already stated AP tests would be paid for and that if the Board changes its mind their integrity might be questioned. Ms. Herr suggested sending a letter home with students stating that a mistake had been made. Dr. Campbell stated that he also had a concern with the Board’s credibility being questioned in that students were told the tests would be paid for. Dr. Frerichs stated that he believes it is printed in the handbook that students are required to take the test since it is being paid for. Mr. Fields stated that he feels the tests should not be required if they are not being paid for. Dr. Frerichs stated that he questions why students have to take the test if they are not interested in taking it. Mrs. Wert questioned if Penn Manor would pay for a test if a student wants to take it but can’t afford to pay for it. Dr. Campbell said payment is taken care of in cases such as this. It was determined that this item required further discussion. Dr. Campbell said he would like to get additional input from Mr. Leichliter. He stated that he will do so and then place this item on the January 10 Committee of the Whole Meeting Agenda for further discussion.

Dr. Campbell then discussed days, locations and times of scheduled meetings. He questioned the Board with regard to the possibility of starting meetings at 6:30 p.m. Mr. Fields questioned whether the Board would stop earlier if they started earlier? He said that since he is the individual having difficulty starting prior to 7:00 p.m. he would try to be there as early as possible if in fact the meetings would stop earlier. Dr. Frerichs suggested having presentation at the meetings scheduled to begin at 4:00 p.m. After discussion it was decided to keep the starting time at 7:00 p.m. for Committee of the Whole Meetings with the exception of those scheduled for a 4:00 p.m. start. Dr. Campbell then questioned the Board with regard to the location of meetings. Did they want to hold all meetings in the Board Room or continue their current practice of rotating locations. Mrs. Withum stated that she feels strongly about rotating the meetings and suggested moving the meetings to school libraries if acoustics were not good in currently scheduled meeting locations. She stated that she has a real concern with being accessible. Ms. Herr stated that attendance at Board meetings even when rotating locations is limited and therefore stated she would opt for better hearing and staying in a single location. Dr. Frerichs stated that he could see both sides of the issue but indicated that he supports rotating meetings. Mr. Kreider indicated he likes rotating meetings but has difficulty with hearing at times. Dr. Campbell suggested looking into a portable microphone system. Mr. Herr said that his sense was that Board members wished to remain with the current practice of rotating locations. Dr. Campbell raised the question of changing the day of one of the meetings - for instance keeping the regular Board Meeting on Monday night but having the Committee of the Whole on a different night. After discussion it was determined that Board meetings would continue to be scheduled as in the past on Monday and Monday. Dr. Campbell said he is exploring the possibility of having meetings on cable and will get back to the Board at a later date regarding this item.

Mr. Herr asked if Board members were happy with their committee assignments. All assignments remained the same. It was determined that a change in notation would be made after the Penn Manor Education Foundation assignments indicating that the Board representative would be a member from the Board appointed by the School Board President as stated in the newly amended Foundation By-Laws. It was also determined not to add a Board member to the Strategic Plan Committee to replace Mr. Hibshman.

Dr. Campbell stated that he wanted to commend Mr. Mummau for a meeting he held informing students of scholarship money available through athletic endeavors.

Mr. Herr commended those involved with Y2K.

Mr. Fields suggested discussing Zero Tolerance at an upcoming Board meeting. Mr. Herr suggested that this be a topic of discussion at a 4:00 p.m. meeting.

Dr. Frerichs questioned whether the Board is going to stay with Roberts Rules of Order or go to Jones’ Parliamentary Procedures at a Glance. He stated that this is an issue he would like to pursue.

Ms. Herr asked if the law was passed saying a school district could have their own Charter School. She wondered if we could have a Chartered School with the Morningside Program concept? Dr. Campbell said the problem with a district of our size having a Charter School is reassigning students. He said it could, however, be looked into. Ms. Herr stated that it might be possible to use a building that could be closed for a Charter School. Dr. Campbell said he would feel better discussing this item when there is more data available from Morningside.

Dr. Campbell informed the Board that a prototype of a alternative school will be presented at the February Board Meeting for Board review. He stated that funding and staffing have been considered and stated that he is looking at funding for homebound instruction versus funding for an alternative school. Mrs. Wert questioned if this is something we could do in conjunction with Millersville University. This topic will be discussed further after the presentation in February.

The committee adjourned to Executive Session at 9:33 p.m. on a motion by Dr. Frerichs, a second by Mr. Fields, and a unanimous voice vote.

Last Modified 4/30/01
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