EAST PENN SCHOOL DISTRICT
Editior's Note: The web edition of the Sept. 25 East Penn School District board meeting shows a corrected estimated cost for full-day kindergarten. The estimated cost is $1,056,592. The Press apologies for the error.
As a follow-up to previous presentations on the benefits of full-day kindergarten, assistant superintendent Kristen Campbell provided a PowerPoint overview of the first year costs to implement full-day kindergarten to the East Penn Board at its Sept. 25 meeting.
Campbell and her team estimated the price tag for the project would be $1,056,592. This was based on a projected enrollment of 460 students and replacing 20 half-day sections with 10. An additional four sections may be needed to accommodate students transferring from private or parochial schools.
Room availability in each of the district’s seven elementary schools, including a room renovation at Lincoln Elementary School, was also factored in. The first year program cost estimate includes $850,000 for hiring 10 additional teachers, $53,000 for a room renovation at Lincoln Elementary School, $130,200 for classroom furniture, $106,400 for instructional resources, $77,000 for technology and $171,000 set up costs of a portable classroom rental, if needed. A savings of $331,008 from eliminating 24 mid-day bus runs brought the final total down to $1,056,592. The tax impact was estimated at 0.21 mills with a 1.16 percent increase in the millage rate.
Campbell said “We would appreciate a vote from the school board by the Oct. 23 meeting so that we can continue to plan for program implementation for the upcoming year.” She invited the directors to observe the full-day kindergarten classes at Lincoln and Alburtis elementary schools on specific dates in October.
Emmaus High Student Government Association representatives Sophie Pickering and Alex Comfort were introduced to the board. Pickering reported several recent EHS team accomplishments, including Coach Sue Butz-Stavin’s 900th field hockey win. Comfort spoke about the success of “flex blocks” in the Wednesday schedule where students have easier access to teachers for tutoring and remedial work. He provided updates on events associated with homecoming.
The board accepted the resignation of Jeremy Silimperi, supervisor of elementary special education, effective Nov. 17, as well as the transfer of Meredith Frantz from EHS to replace Silimperi.
On other personnel matters, Laura Atwater was approved by the board as a seventh grade language arts teacher for Eyer Middle School effective Nov. 28. Atwater replaces Jamie Nemet, who recently resigned and subsequently transferred.
A temporary professional assignment for Ashley Persing as a speech and language therapist was also approved by the board. Persing will replace Blaire Blaufarb at Eyer Middle School. Blaufarb’s resignation is effective Nov. 28.
The school board began their first review of school district operations policy series 900 – Community: Part 1 of 2, policies 901-912.
Two people from the audience came forward to address the board.
“Eighteen wheelers are now traveling through Ancient Oaks West,” Michael Siegel, who lives in the nearby Farmington Hills development said. “We have several bus stops in that complex.” Siegel expressed his concerns that the increased truck traffic speeding down Route 100 and making U-turns on Astor Road and Buttercup Road endanger school buses making turns onto Route 100. He suggested rerouting the buses through the controlled intersection of Sauerkraut Road and Route 100 where a traffic signal is installed.
Barbara Tantaros, of Emmaus, requested the directors videotape meetings and post them online to achieve greater “transparency” for interested parents and residents who are unable to attend the public meetings.
Director Charles Ballard reported via Skype, that the state legislature is still battling over how to fund the state budget. “They don’t have a way to pay for the budget yet,” Ballard said. He said the Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System pension contributions may be deferred among other consequences of the impasse.
Before adjourning, board member Carol Allen raised concerns about the district participating in the Pennsylvania Youth Survey conducted by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency every two years. Allen said she felt the questions could be a potential invasion of privacy for the average 13-year-old survey taker.
The East Penn Board of School Directors meet regularly 7:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Monday of each month. The next meeting is scheduled Oct. 9 in the boardroom of the administration building.