2011-03-17 / Local & State

Great Cove Pool Discussed At Central Fulton

Calendar unchanged for next year; school to start early in 2012-13
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz

In hopes of raising $5,000 to help keep the community swimming pool operational, Paul Johnston of Great Cove Golf and Recreation Club appeared before the Central Fulton School Board last week to make a plea for financial support from the district as well as support of ongoing pool usage and swimming lessons.

The money that is raised through various fundraisers and community donations, according to Johnston, is to offset the cost of the pool’s opening in 2011. Among the expenses are frequent drainage and refilling; epoxying the concrete pool’s surface; and staffing.

Central Fulton has not been the only stop on Johnston’s journey around the McConnellsburg area. Through his work, donations to offset the pool’s start-up costs for 2011 have already been agreed to by McConnellsburg Borough, Ayr and Todd townships, and the American Legion. Additional pledges are pending.

“We’ve incurred up to $400,000 in the last six years,” said Johnson, who noted steps have been taken to curb costs such as cutting employees; reducing the number of swimming lesson sessions from four to three; delaying the season opening until after schools close for the summer; and opening later and closing earlier daily.

In previous years, the pool’s daily operations had essentially been subsidized by the club even though swimming lessons essentially paid for themselves. In fact in 2010, Great Cove provided swimming lessons to 251 individuals. In 2009 and 2008, the number of lessons were recorded at 170 and 240, respectively.

Johnston said the club’s board of directors opted to raise lesson prices in 2009, causing numbers to drop. The prices were recalculated for individuals with multiple children and participation returned to normal levels.

One of the club’s main goals is to preserve swimming lessons, said Johnston, as swimming is considered a good source of health and recreation. As a result, the club is partnering with Fulton County Medical Center for the organization and offering of wellness courses. An additional partnership has also been established with Fulton County Parks and Recreation Commission, which will help facilitate funding for the project.

In curriculum-related matters last Tuesday, the board approved a tentative school calendar for the upcoming 2011-12 on a 5-3 roll-call vote. Board members Dr. Brent Carlson, Linda Garber and Ryan Richards voted against following the current school calendar and preferred the proposal to start school on the Monday immediately following the Fulton County Fair. Fellow board member Hollie Garlock was not in attendance.

In suggesting an earlier start, Superintendent Dwayne Northcraft stated not only would the two days give teachers additional time to prepare for annual PSSA testing, but the calendar would also mirror that of the Forbes Road and Southern Fulton school districts. By following the same countywide calendar, better coordination could be established with the vo-tech in regard to transportation and teacher/student schedules.

However, in presenting the idea to their own district staff, Northcraft indicated exactly half of the 70 teachers were unhappy with the suggestion. Dissatisfaction with the idea ranged from babysitting, the fair, anniversaries and planned vacations.

In defense of changing next year’s calendar to a Monday start, Dr. Carlson stated the calendar should be implemented if half the teachers were happy and the district was better aligned with the remainder of the county.

Retired teacher and board member Gary Shives suggested giving the teachers a notice of sorts by delaying the two- day early start until the 2012-13 school year. Shives along with Chris Hann made the motion to follow the current school calendar in 2011-12 and implement an early start in 2012- 13.

The board moved on to place several individuals on the 2010-11 extracurricular activity salary scale. Among those approved for placement were volunteer assistant track coaches Jim Babinsack and Jeremy Hollinshead; volunteer assistant softball coaches Doug Seiders and Tami Ulsh; intramural volleyball coach Kathy Kendall, $907.67; and boys varsity soccer coach Stephen Carroll, $2,595.

A contract with junior high baseball coach Stephen Truax was revised to reflect a reduction in pay to $1,000.

On the heels of last month’s announcement regarding the offering and acceptance of a $40,000 retirement incentive by 12 district teachers, the board publicly accepted their resignations for the purpose of retirement. Those slated to retire on or before September 30 are middle school science teacher Diane Benedick, elementary teacher Sarah Clippinger, high school science teacher Greg Hays, high school English teacher Lin Henry, high school technology education teacher Lee Hipkiss, middle/ high school librarian Cindy Fraker, health and physical education teacher Kathy Kendall, elementary teacher Carolyn Kneas, elementary special education teacher Nancy Nonemaker, elementary teacher Nancy Ritchey, band instructor Larry Stepler, and middle school math teacher Marilyn Testerman.

Pending the receipt of clearances, Laura Sowers of McConnellsburg will be added to the supportive substitute list.

Instructor Greg Strine will take 24 members of the choral ensemble to Mc- Connellsburg Lutheran Church on May 5 to perform for a banquet. The trip is at no cost to the district.

A daily rate change was authorized for K4 Route #035 contracted to Gary and Eileen Decker. The rate is set to increase retroactive to February 7 from $67.49 to $70.03 due to the addition of another student to the route.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the board held a brief executive session to discuss personnel matters. No action was taken upon reconvening.

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