Last night I attended both the September School Board meeting and the Finance and Facilities meeting. As expected, the main topic of discussion was the current expansion project so I wanted to provide an update for everyone.
At the Finance and Facilities meeting, the main point of discussion was the need for an ACT 34 hearing with the PA Department of Education. This hearing is required for all new construction projects that will increase the size of an existing structure by more than 20%. The hearing being planned is for the needed construction at the Kindergarten Academy. There is an estimated 3500 square feet being added to this building which is significantly more than a 20% increase over the current size. For the Act 34 hearing, the district needs to develop a comprehensive booklet that not only shows the changes being made but also the anticipated costs along with the maximum cost budget. This hearing will be help on October 24th at 6 pm and will be open to the public. This will be a great chance to hear more specific details on what changes are being made at the KA. In addition, the Act 34 Hearing Booklet will be made public on the district website. If you are interested in attending, make sure you mark your calendar.
At the School Board meeting, Dr. Leidy went over the timeframe that they are hoping to follow in determining the attendance areas for the elementary schools and for addressing personnel issues. Since the school has a target date of Fall 2018 for all changes to take effect, there is a pretty quick timeline of events occurring over the next few months. The district is proceeding with the construction and construction requirements for the Kindergarten Academy and the 4th/5th Grade Academy at Elmwood. Along with this, the district office will be moving from Elmwood in January and will temporarily be located at 1225 South Market St in the former Book of the Month building until construction of the new district offices are complete.
The district is extensively working to determine the attendance areas for each elementary school. While doing this, the district is focusing on limiting the impact to students as much as possible, ensuring even enrollment in all of the elementary buildings, and also assuring equity in all of the elementary schools. In doing this, they will consider the demographic, geographic, and educational issues facing each school. At this stage, the planning is being done with the district CFO, business administrator, database administrator, transportation coordinator, and a consulting firm. After this the decision will then go to the administrative team and finally will be addressed in a committee with school board members and PTO Presidents. The goal is to have this ready for School Board review by the end of September, communicate the plan with the parents and community by the end of October, and then have it up for School Board approval by November 14.
In addition, the district is currently working on the Principal Assignments at the elementary school. The plan is to maintain the 6 current principals with the the potential addition of an assistant principal at the 4th/5th Grade Academy. In doing this, the district is considering the interests of the different principals and also looking at the best fit for each principal. This is being done as we speak and the goal is to finalize these assignments by October 3. This way the principals will be involved in the budget development process for the 2018-2019 school year at their corresponding building.
The district is also working on developing the transportation plans for next year and on developing the start and stop times for each school day. This will likely be a district wide issue and will impact all grade levels from K-12.
Please be sure you stay up to date with all of this on the district website. This process if quickly developing and changing everyday. As always, as I hear official information from the district I will be sure to pass it on to all of you.