2008-10-23 / Local & State

Student Pleads With CF Board To Keep Ag Program

By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

Distraught that the agriculture curriculum could be on the chopping block of programs being considered for elimination, 10th-grade student Taylor Morton pled the issue before the Central Fulton School Board alongside local dairy farmer Mark Mosemann last Tuesday.

In her prepared speech, Morton pointed out that McConnellsburg alone has more than 20 different agriculture-related jobs ranging from veterinarians and farmers to horse dentists. In preparing for a career locally in the ag field, Morton related students aren't limited to learning just about agriculture but about the surrounding community and what it is comprised of.

Morton questioned if Central Fulton got rid of the agriculture program wouldn't the district in turn be failing its student body instead of preparing them for a successful future? "Will you fail us or assist us?" she asked.

Following Morton's comments, Mosemann pointed out the details previously shared with him on the future of the ag program were sketchy. However, Mosemann, who also serves on the Fulton County Area Vocational-Technical School's advisory council, noted there is a direct relationship between agriculture and Fulton County's economic viability.

Mosemann stated the continuation of the program would obviously pose cost issues, but many individuals, including a handful on hand at the October 14 board meeting, continue to be touched by agriculture.

Superintendent Dr. Julia Cigola informed Morton and Mosemann it was never the intention of the Central Fulton board to get rid of agriculture.

In other curriculum-related matters, seniors Dylan Deneen, Logan Peck and Trent Sowers appeared before the board with a request for an annual class trip to Florida. The students reported the trip would cost $650 per student, and students have been provided with numerous opportunities to raise funding. It is estimated 44 of the 69 students will participate in the trip.

The board unanimously approved the request from the Class of 2009, which was followed by a reminder by board President Dennis Richards, who urged the students to be on their best behavior otherwise the next senior class would be punished.

Following the recommendation of the Curriculum, Planning and Technology Committee, the board accepted an online agreement as well as related policies pertaining to attendance, acceptable use of Internet access and online education general matters.

A list of proposed field trips for the elementary, middle school and high school facilities was approved as proposed. Among the excursions on the list for 2008-09 was the FFA trip to the annual National Convention held in Indianapolis, Ind. At the time of the October 14 meeting, FFA advisor Brad Truax had been unable to obtain transportation for himself and the students. As a result, this trip was approved contingent upon him locating suitable transportation.

The board agreed to the startup of a junior high girls/boys track team, which will be overseen by the current coaching staff. There will not be any extra expense related to uniform costs, and the lone expenditures will be for transportation for two away meets and officials for two home meets.

Director of Education Dwayne Northcraft provided the board and fellow administrators with an overview of changes being made in the district's curriculum to meet eligible state standard content for testing. As a way of monitoring what is being taught and creating accountability, Superintendent Dr. Julia Cigola added even though the current setup is time consuming, and at times frustrating, for the staff it will pay off in 2010 when PSSA testing standards are raised.

Elementary Principal Alicia Mellott said Mike Thaler, author of the popular children's "Black Lagoon" series, will be spending October 22 at the school visiting with students enrolled in K-4 through five. In addition to presenting two morning assemblies, Thaler will also have question and answer sessions with small groups of students during the afternoon.

Finance

Three individuals were approved for placement on the extracurricular salary scale in connection with their involvement with the annual elementary musical. Artistic director Noreen Mann is slated to receive $1,885, while director Hope Moore will get $1,735. Susan Cubbage, who serves as both musical set designer and costume designer, will receive $1,035 and $935, respectively, for her duties.

A $1,000 donation has been earmarked for the maintenance and upkeep of the softball field at Lions Club Park used by the girls softball team. This is the first donation given to the Lions Club since 2006. In sending the donation, the district will also request the Lions Club establish a donation amount for future years in order for the funding to be built into the general budget. Building and grounds

Due to the increasing number of district belongings being held in storage, building and grounds supervisor Brent Seville has organized a garage sale for October 30 and 31 in the maintenance shop. Among the list of numerous items up for grabs are chairs, desks, a television, clothes dryer, a circular saw and router, and various kitchen tools and appliances. The items have been priced at fair market value.

Transportation

The daily rate of Chambersburg route #033 contracted to Lynn Reeder was increased from $142.45 to $180.96 as a result of adding another student to the transportation roster retroactive to September 22. Reeder's life skills route #036 will also be raised from $71.58 to $77.21 effective October 15 with the addition of another student on his roster.

In addition, the daily rate for route #011 of M. Cloyd Swope Jr. will drop from $221.25 to $199.11. The change retroactive to September 9 is connected to adjusting the route to bypass bridge construction on Patterson Run Road.

The daily rate of Jamie and Wendy Laughlin's route #024 was decreased from $161.10 to $93.06 effective September 22. The change is a result of taking a student off their roster.

K-4 route #035 contracted to Gary and Eileen Decker dropped from $73.13 to $60.77 on October 1 when a student was deleted from their passenger roster. In a follow-up motion, the Deckers were granted permission to replace a 1995 Mercury van used on routes #028 and #034 with a 1997 Dodge Caravan. The replacement was effective October 13 and will not affect their daily rate.

Due to mileage being inaccurately recorded during the previous 2007-08 school year, Chyrel Foster was paid $45.42 for route #016.

Linda Thomas was added to the substitute bus driver list for the ongoing 2008-09 school year pending the receipt of all her credentials as was June O'Donnell and Brad Truax.

Personnel

Carleen Grissinger, middle school guidance counselor, will take maternity leave from December 3 through February 12. Grissinger is scheduled to utilize 34 sick days during the leave, while the remainder of time will be without pay.

The following individuals were added to the professional substitute list after completing an emergency certification program offered by Tuscarora Intermediate Unit #11: Jolinda Harkless (Newton Hamilton), John R. Henry Sr. (Breezewood), Linda J. Banks (Mc- Connellsburg), Frank and Cheryl Stearn (Chambersburg), Bruce Carriker (Fort Littleton), Deborah Cooper (Waterfall), Deborah Remeikas (Wells Tannery), Kenneth Walker (McConnellsburg) and Jessica Dovey (McConnellsburg). The motion is pending the submission and receipt of paperwork and clearances.

Charles Bishop, also of Mc- Connellsburg, was added to the maintenance/custodial list pending the receipt of necessary clearances. Meanwhile, pending the receipt of clearances, McConnellsburg resident Linda Deyarmin was placed on the teacher's aide substitute list.

Cafeteria employee Susan Sipes began a four-week leave of absence due to medical reasons starting October 2.

Board and district secretary Kim Richards was appointed to the position of district right-to-know officer.

The board also conducted a 40- minute executive session to discuss personnel matters. No action was taken after reconvening.

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