East Penn Press

Friday, October 19, 2018

EAST PENN SCHOOL DISTRICT

Friday, November 17, 2017 by ED COURRIER Special to The Press in Local News

Full-day kindergarten to be reconsidered

A motion proposed by School Director Charles Ballard, “that the Board of School Directors of East Penn School District announces its intention to exceed the Act 1 index by referendum for an amount sufficient to permanently fund full-day kindergarten in the district,” failed without a second at the Nov. 13 meeting. Afterward, board member Paul Champaign proposed placing full-day kindergarten back on the agenda for an upcoming December meeting.

A request to address the board regarding full-day kindergarten was granted to district residents Alison Brooker, Christine Moscaritolo and Adam Smith, who each came out in support of a full-day program.

Brooker said her four-and-a-half-year-old son is already used to a full-day preschool program and half-day kindergarten “is going to be a huge step back” for him. Scheduling drop-off and pickup for half-day kindergarten would be a challenge when both parents work. She urged the board to reconsider the full-day program.

Moscaritolo said her child going from full-day pre-kindergarten to two-and-a-half hours of kindergarten at Willow Lane Elementary School has been a disappointment because of the short time he is there. Moscaritolo explained, “He says ‘I love my new school, but I wish I would learn something new.’”

Adam Smith, just recently elected to the school board, addressed the directors by voicing his support for the full-day program. Smith, who will be sworn in next month, cautioned the board against putting the decision up for referendum, imploring that it’s the board’s duty to make an informed vote on the issue. He said, “Let us not delay. It is time for full-day kindergarten in East Penn.”

Five other members of the public addressed the board that evening.

Victoria Nelson described her family’s recent harrowing experience with a car racing through the school crossing at Willow Lane Elementary School and Wheatland Drive by the Brookside Farms development. Her 12-year-old daughter was walking her 10-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter home from Willow Lane Elementary School when an automobile careened by and nearly hit them. The crossing guard prevented tragedy by pushing the youngest child out of the way.

Nelson’s neighbors Regan Haberl and Lisa Agee complained that workers leaving their 3 p.m. shift at Mack Trucks often accelerate through the intersection, ignoring the traffic cones and crossing guards. All this occurs during the state troopers’ shift change.

Rachel Zavecz, of Macungie, told the board about her daughter taking the Pennsylvania Youth Survey without her permission due to a mix-up. Zavecz was disturbed with the type of questions in the questionnaire. She said there should be a better way of informing parents about it, other than sending the notice home with students.

Jenn Riedy, the mother of six children who have been or will be East Penn students, told the directors she was concerned about the district’s sex education provider. Bright Beginnings Pregnancy Center (formerly Care Net), according to Riedy, teaches the subject from a “religious perspective.” She opined, “the religious perspective should be completely left to the parents of the students, not the school district.”

Director Alan Earnshaw honored departing directors Rebecca Heid and Rev. Waldemar Vinovskis each with a glass plaque with their names and dates of service engraved on it. Both expressed their appreciation of working with a board that treated each director with respect.

The East Penn Board of School Directors meet regularly 7:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Monday of each month. An organizational meeting is scheduled Dec. 4 in the board room of the administration building where new and returning school directors are to be sworn in. These include Earnshaw and Ziad Munson who were both re-elected.

An executive session was held 7 p.m. on personnel and real estate matters prior to the public forum.