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School Board Minutes
|February 03, 2000 Committe of the Whole Minutes
Committee of the Whole
February 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 (arriving at 7:16 p.m.), Mrs. Wert, and Mrs. Withum. Present from the administrative staff were Dr. Campbell, Mr. Skrocki, and Mr. Stewart. Also in attendance were Penn Manor residents and students and Dolores Warfel.
The meeting was called to order at 7:06 p.m. by Mr. Herr.
Mr. Herr asked if there were any Citizens Comments. Mr. A. A. Zimmerman, 910 Fairway Drive, stated that he would have comments regarding Item 5 - AP Tests when that item is discussed. Mr. Norman Fisher, 3124 Cornerstone Drive, stated that he and the two students with him were in attendance because the boys were working on Citizenship Badges for Boy Scouts. The boys then introduced themselves.
Mr. Herr asked the committee whether there were any additions or corrections to the Minutes of the January 10, 2000, Committee of the Whole Meeting. Hearing none, on a motion by Mrs. Withum, a second by Ms. Herr, and a unanimous voice vote, he directed that the Minutes would stand approved as distributed.
Dr. Campbell informed the Board that Item 1 - Elementary Guidance Presentation has been postponed until 4:00 p.m., March 6.
Mr. Stewart then reviewed elementary class size information. He stated that class sizes are currently very good and there will be no request for any additional elementary teaching staff for the 2000/01 school year. He showed a transparency of current elementary enrollments by building and by grade. Mr. Stewart informed the Board that the previous large classes (30 students per class) in sixth grade at Conestoga have been reduced in size due to students moving out of the district. He also drew the Boards attention to the class sizes for fourth grade at Pequea of 29 and 30. Mr. Stewart stated that 6 students included in these numbers are from the self-contained Learning Support Room. These students are included in the enrollment figures for the fourth grade classes but actually spend only homeroom period in these classrooms. They then go to the Learning Support Room for instruction leaving an actual class size of 27 and 26. Mr. Stewart said we could start next year with no class size larger than 27 using current enrollment numbers. Kindergarten class sizes currently average 20 with growth to be anticipated at this grade level. Mr. Stewart then reviewed enrollment information with regard to Hambright and Central Manor Elementary Schools covering a period from the 1992/93 school year up to and including current enrollment figures. During this time period Hambright enrollment figures have continually risen while Central Manors have gone down. In fact, Hambrights enrollment has grown faster than any other elementary school in the district. Mr. Stewart stated that every room in Hambright is being used for only Penn Manor students while Central Manor has three I.U. classes. Central Manor would therefore have additional classroom space if those three classrooms, or any portion of them, was used for Penn Manor students rather than I.U. students. Central Manor also has a larger playground, gym, cafeteria service, and parents and bus parking. The Central Manor facility is better able to handle a larger number of students. Due to these facts and the continued anticipated growth at Hambright Mr. Stewart said he was recommending considering reassigning students who attend Hambright from the Woods Edge Neighborhood and the area west of Woods Edge. These students currently go to Hambright. He proposed moving the Hambright attendance area so that students living in these areas would be reassigned from Hambright to Central Manor effective next year. Mr. Stewart shared current class size at Hambright and Central Manor and adjusted class size for 2000/01 if the reassignment was approved. He stated that traditionally students in grade 6 were given the option to remain in their current school (7 students would be given the option due to the reassignment) for their final year in elementary and he would expect this practice to continue if the reassignment is approved. Dr. Campbell stated that we have tried to keep enrollment at the elementary level under 500 and explained that the proposed reassignment would help reduce numbers at Hambright. Mr. Stewart stated that if the reassignment is not made and a large number of students come from Woods Edge we would pack Hambright and have to possibly split the neighborhood of Woods Edge. Dr. Frerichs asked if there are any potential problems with the reassignment that the Board should be aware of. Mr. Stewart said there are always problems when students are reassigned. He stated that, however, after the move has been made things go well. He stated that he has never had a parent call him after a move with the same concerns they had when initially informed of a reassignment. Mr. Stewart stated that he feels moving the entire Woods Edge neighborhood is a better option than splitting the neighborhood. He indicated that students moving into Georgetown Hills could be assigned to Hambright as a means of balancing classes. Mr. Stewart indicated he also looked at Georgetown Hills when considering reassignment but it was not feasible. Possible increase in transportation time was also discussed. Mr. Stewart said he was not positive how the Transportation Coordinator would route the buses but an increase in transportation time was possible. Dr. Campbell asked when the Board needed to act on this proposal. Mr. Stewart said he was presenting the proposal for consideration at this point. He stated that if he were given the go ahead in March he could meet with the parents in April and form a transition plan in May. If approved he would meet with families from Woods Edge at an appropriate time and invite them to visit Central Manor for a tour of the facilities. Mr. Herr asked Board members if there were any objections to this proposal. Ms. Herr suggested mentioning possible changes within the district in the Above and Beyond (i.e. reassignment and the Eshleman and Letort renovation issue).
Dr. Campbell reviewed the request for Penn Manors swim team to join the Lancaster-Lebanon Swim League. He stated that the major reason for this request is the distance necessary to travel to complete at the current time. Dr. Campbell reviewed the teams included in the Lancaster-Lebanon Swim League. He recommended the Board approve the request for placement on the February School Board Meeting Agenda. On a motion by Mrs. Withum, a second by Ms. Herr, and a unanimous voice vote this item was approved for placement on the February School Board Meeting Agenda.
Dr. Campbell stated that this item was placed on the agenda at the suggestion of a Board member. He stated that it is an item that he feels deserves consideration. Dr. Campbell stated that a significant amount of time is being spent in hearings. He stated that hearings are very stressful and time consuming when held and he fears committee members will be burned out. Dr. Campbell recommended having a permanent chairperson to provide consistency. Mrs. Withum stated she feels one or two people could be the base of the committee and remain constant with other Board members taking a turn as the third member of the committee. Ms. Herr stated that if this happens she recommends Board members being debriefed with regard to Judicial Committee procedures, etc. She also stated a concern with the internet and problems that arise from it. Dr. Campbell said he has asked Mr. Frankhouser to respond to this concern. He stated that another concern is that parents are more frequently bringing attorneys to the hearings. Mrs. Wert stated that she feels Mr. Frankhouser is only needed when parents bring an attorney. Dr. Campbell stated that Mr. Frankhouser has indicated that when in attendance at a hearing he represents the Board and not administration. Mrs. Wert stated that she feels there are times when it would be beneficial to have an attorney represent the administration. Dr. Campbell said he has wondered if we might get to the point where we will need to hire a Hearing Officer. He stated that some districts have hired a Hearing Officer to run the hearings and Board members say nothing at these hearings. Mr. Kline questioned how many school districts utilize a Hearing Office. Dr. Campbell said he did not know but would check into this issue. Dr. Frerichs shared the fact that George Brubaker is in attendance at every Lampeter-Strasburg hearing and questioned if we are heading in that direction. Dr. Campbell stated that it is a sign of the times that parents feel the need to have an attorney defend them. He stated that not violating due process laws has become a very significant fact. Mr. Herr said the need for documentation has become apparent and is being followed. Mr. Herr said he would encourage the Board not to panic. He said the case load of hearings may decrease. Mr. Kreider indicated that he felt a rotating committee sounds good. He said he feels everyone should have a chance to serve on this committee. Discussion ensued regarding the importance of consistency on committees and the importance of serving on committees you have an interest in serving on. Mrs. Withum and Ms. Herr indicated their willingness and ability to be called upon for Judicial Review Hearings should the need arise. Mr. Fields stated that he feels policy of zero tolerance is a factor in this process. Mr. Herr suggested staying with the original committee configuration with other Board members being called upon if the original members are not available.
AP testing was then discussed. Mr. A. A. Zimmerman, 910 West Fairway Drive, read comments regarding his concern that some Board members are suggesting the taxpayers pay the $68 fee for AP Tests. He stated that he protests the payment of these fees and feels many others feel the same. He suggested that if the tests were not paid for in the past they need not be paid for now. He questioned why taxpayers should have to pay for these tests. Mr. Zimmerman then provided the Board with a copy of the booklet Open Meetings/Open Records - The Sunshine Act and the Right to Know Law for their review. He shared the fact that violation of the Sunshine Law is a summary offense for which public officials can be fined $100 plus prosecution. Mr. Herr questioned what connection the Sunshine Law had with discussion of payment of AP Tests. He stated that this issue was discussed but a vote was postponed and never taken. The history behind this issue was then provided to Mr. Zimmerman. Dr. Campbell stated that the placement of this item on the agenda and the ensuing discussing will result in a vote being taken regarding whether the Board wishes to pay for the tests at an approximate cost of $7,000 or not. Discussion then ensued regarding various solutions to this issue and proper procedure for making the motion(s). After discussion, Dr. Frerichs made a motion that the A.P. Test not be paid for and that this motion be approved for placement on the February School Board Meeting Agenda. This motion was seconded by Mr. Kreider and approved by a unanimous voice vote. Mrs. Wert then made a motion that a letter be sent to students indicating the test is not required but if taken the student must pay the fee. This motion was seconded by Mr. Anderson with Mr. Anderson, Mr. Fields, Ms. Herr, Mr. Herr, Mr. Kreider, Mrs. Wert, and Mrs. Withum voting yes in favor of the motion and Dr. Frerichs and Mr. Kline giving a no vote.
Mr. Stewart then reviewed the Consolidation of Homebound Instruction Program for students on Homebound Instruction due to disciplinary action. He informed those in attendance that he was providing a handout to the Board but not those in attendance due to the confidentiality issue of student names appearing on the information provided. Mr. Stewart then reviewed current criteria for receiving Homebound Instruction and informed the Board that who are ill or disability will continue to receiving Homebound Instruction in this fashion. Students who are less than 17 years of age and who are expelled will now have an at school program on Tuesday and Thursday nights in the high school for three hours (4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.) each night with four major subjects (English, math, science, and social studies) being available. (If a student who is over 17 is expelled the decision to allow the student involvement in this program would be looked at on a case-by-case basis.) Two certified teachers will be provided to instruct students during all sessions. Students will have access to the library while involved in the program. He stated that a parent or guardian must escort each student to the instructional location and be present to pick up each student at the conclusion of each academic session. Students are expected to have regular and prompt attendance, complete assignments in a timely and satisfactory manner, and exhibit appropriate behavior at all times with all school rules remaining in effect in order to be eligible for After Hour Instruction and receive academic credit. Parents will get a weekly report on student progress, etc. when student is picked up. Mr. Stewart discussed advantages of this program: 1) It is less expensive to the district to have students and services on site. 2) The cost is more predictable since the program is in place. 3) Middle school students will be available for six hours of instruction. 4) Teachers certified in specified areas are on site. When going to the home the individual instructor is not certified in all areas. 5) There will be a special education person who will be able to meet IEP needs. 6) Could make program available to any student expelled by the Board between now and the end of the year. Mr. Stewart stated that he visited the program this evening and four students were working under the supervision of two teachers with both teachers being certified in the fields they were teaching. Mr. Stewart stated the program was reviewed by and endorsed by the solicitor. Mr. Stewart stated that the addition of an aide or additional staff member at a later date is a possibility if numbers grow. Mr. Herr questioned how a one-parent household will be able to meet the mandatory requirement that they escort the student to the instructional location and pick them up at the conclusion of each academic session. Mr. Stewart stated that flexibility is provided when needed but it is very important that parents pick up students and drop them off. If this requirement can not be met Homebound Instruction would be provided per existing guidelines. He stated that parent and student response to the program has been positive. Dr. Campbell said this program provides a better use of tax dollars.
Mr. Stewart then reviewed the proposed Crisis Response Plan. He indicated changes that would be made due to typos and asked that the word policy be changed to guidelines when used. Mr. Stewart stated that this is a tool available to building administrators and the Superintendent with the hope that we never need to use it. He reviewed the fact that the plan was designed before Dr. Moskalski left for his Medical Leave and that Mrs. Withum reviewed it and worked with Dr. Moskalski on it. Mr. Stewart stated that he was asking for Board input and approval for use of this plan in the school district as soon as possible in conjunction with the Emergency Response Plan and Safety Program. He also informed Board members that the Emergency Rumor Line (Ext. 333) is in place. Ms. Herr asked if the School Resource Office had reviewed this plan. Mrs. Withum stated that the plan deals mostly with communications, etc. and may not fall into the parameters of his responsibility but that Mr. Hottenstein is involved in the Safety Program. Dr. Campbell stated that a District Response Team for use in cases of crisis or emergencies is being formed which consists of the School Resource Office, Mr. Nett, Mr. Stewart, and Mr. Peart. A sub-group to this team would consist of guidance people, Dr. Hoeppel and Mr. Leino. He briefly reviewed the process and stated that Mr. Hottentstein would be the main person in terms of legal issues until police are on site. Dr. Campbell would immediately place a message on the Emergency Rumor Line. He stated he feels it is better to say something rather than say nothing about an incident and stated we need to work hard as a Board and community to engender trust. Dr. Campbell said he hopes the team will be in place within the next 3-4 weeks. Mrs. Withum stated there is nothing in the plan that says hospitals should be immediately notified regarding numbers of people they might be receiving so they can be prepared. She also questioned the fact that the Tornado Plan should indicate windows should be open and not closed. Mr. Withum also suggested that we stress student accountability. Mr. Stewart stated that bus contractors are having bus drivers identify a student to be trained on how to use the radio in case of an emergency. Ms. Herr suggested having all students trained since you never know whether a particular student will be on the bus when emergency arises. She also wondered if West End Ambulance had looked over the plan and, if not, whether they should. Mr. Stewart said the solicitor reviewed the plan and the Release, Indemnity, and Hold Harmless Clause Agreement found on Page 10 of the plan. Mr. Stewart asked for Board approval to place the document on the February School Board Meeting Agenda so that it is in place for use should the need arise and then send it out for review by other emergency organizations (fire, police, ambulance, etc.) for amendment if necessary.
Ms. Herr reviewed the Federal Relations Network Conference she attended. She provided a handout for Board review. Ms. Herr also distributed information regarding Hempfields foreign language program. Mr. Stewart said Hempfield has a shuttle bus which can shuttle any elementary student from any school to any other school. He also informed the Board that Eshleman sent a letter home to parents describing the Hempfield program and requesting parent opinion. He had 21 responses. Mr. Stewart stated that he has contacted the Foreign Language Department asking if they have anyone who would like to run an after school program and if not he may go to Millersville University to see if there is a student or students who might be interested. The program would be self-funded. He said he hopes to have something put together before school is over. Ms. Herr shared the fact that Central Manor currently as a voluntary foreign language program after school for students interested in being taught Spanish.
Mrs. Withum said the IU held its orientation for Board members, Ed Golden retired, and a new Human Resources Officer has been hired. She informed Board members that the Employee Recognition Dinner is scheduled for Thursday, May 4, and asked that they let her know if they can make presentations.
Dr. Frerichs said that Mrs. Cuba and Mrs. Wimer worked with 21 Millersville students who are met with Reading Recovery students last semester. He said all of the teachers involved felt this program was a great help. It is not costing Penn Manor anything and provides great experience for Millersville students. He stated that Mrs. Cuba and Mrs. Wimer do an outstanding job.
Mr. Herr said he attending both girls and boys basketball games and wrestling meet and found it to be fun. He encouraged other Board members to do the same. Mr. Herr said he is very proud of our teams.
The committee adjourned at 8:51 p.m. on a motion by Dr. Frerichs, a second by Ms. Herr, and a unanimous voice vote.