EAST PENN SCHOOL DISTRICT
East Penn School District Superintendent Kristen Campbell presented the East Penn School Board with candidates they enthusiastically approved for two vacant assistant superintendent positions at the Sept. 10 meeting. Laura Witman was promoted from within the district to the assistant superintendent job previously held by Campbell.
Former Emmaus High School health and fitness teacher Douglas Povilaitis, who later found employment with the North Penn School District, returned “home” to East Penn to fill the position previously held by Denise Torma who recently retired.
Both were appointed to five year terms.
In other business, the directors accepted the immediate resignation of fellow member Carol Allen, effective Sept. 4. According to board President Ken Bacher, Allen had not stated a reason for her decision.
After seeking legal advice from solicitor Robert Magee, the board decided to choose an interim member from the large pool of candidates who had previously applied for the board positions now filled by Directors Allan Byrd and Seth Flanders. The board instructed secretary Janine Allen to contact those applicants to find out if any were still interested in serving on the board.
The directors chose to go this route in the interest of time and agreed, “Any process is acceptable as long as it is public.” Flanders remarked he had once been recruited from the audience at a meeting to serve on a school board.
In other personnel matters, the directors accepted the appointment of Rachel Baxter to a new position as science teacher at EHS, effective Sept. 11.
Director Alisa Bowman brought up for discussion the possible implementation of BoardDocs. She mentioned there are two versions of the electronic document management system. BoardDocs Pro would cost the district $10,500 per year while BoardDocs LT, a more basic program, would be $2,700 yearly. Campbell recommended the administration put together a presentation for the directors to weigh the pros and cons of each version. This could also address board concerns about security and potential privacy issues regarding the directors’ access to the network from their personal computers.
The board discussed drafting a letter officially supporting Pennsylvania Senate Bill 1098. The proposed legislation would allow districts to install cameras on the outside of buses to record stop arm violations. If it becomes law, the digital image evidence from those cameras could be used in court against motorists who fail to stop for a school bus loading or unloading students.
Requests to address the board were granted to Amber Clark and her daughter Olivia, of Allentown, who encouraged the directors to issue a letter of support Senate Bill 1098.
“My daughter started kindergarten last year. We noticed a big problem with people blowing past the school buses when the kids were trying to get on and off the bus,” Clark said. “I had to physically pull my daughter out of the way twice to keep her from getting hit by a car while just trying to get on a school bus.”
“I want to go off the school bus feeling happy that the cars don‘t pass the school bus anymore,” Olivia said.
Emmaus resident Lynn Donches appealed to the board for “more transparency.”
Donches asked that more detailed school budgets listing the line items and their purposes be made available to the public. She also advocated for more public input on district budgets.
The board accepted a donation of $2,000 from the East Penn Instrumental Musicians Club toward the purchase of a bassoon for the EHS music department.
With five “ayes” and one abstention, the directors voted to support the 2019 Pennsylvania School Boards Association slate of candidates presented to them for elected positions. Director Charles Ballard explained he abstained because all of the candidates were running unopposed which implied the process was flawed.
Campbell announced continued progress with the district’s technology program. She also informed the board that at this time, only one student is out of compliance with the state’s immunization requirements and the administration continues working to resolve it.
There was no executive session scheduled prior to the public meeting.
The East Penn Board of School Directors will next meet 7:30 p.m. Sept. 24 in the board room of the administration building.