2013-04-25 / Local & State

Southern Fulton Board Makes Quick Work Of Agenda

By Chanin Rotz-Mountz

NEWS EDITOR

The Southern Fulton School Board quickly attended to its monthly agenda last Tuesday evening, touching on a variety of subjects ranging from field trips and resignations to enrollment numbers at the Fulton County Area Vocational-Technical School.

Personnel

Multiple letters of resignation were accepted with regret as presented by junior high girls basketball coach Melissa Mackel, junior high girls assistant basketball coach Stephanie Mills and custodian Darlene Truax. Truax’s resignation for the purpose of retirement is slated to become effective June 29. Permission was then given to the administration to begin advertising for the two vacant coaching positions for the 2013-14 school year.

Bonnie Ashkettle was added to the district’s list of substitute teacher aides and substitute secretaries for the current school year, while Caleb Washabaugh was added to the professional teaching substitute list for this year.

Jim Minteer was hired as a junior high head soccer coach for next year pending the completion and submission of necessary paperwork. In addition, Lauren Mosemann was hired as junior high assistant soccer coach for next year pending the completion of paperwork. Board member Mark Mosemann abstained during the roll-call vote regarding Lauren Mosemann’s employment.

Transportation

The board accepted a letter as submitted by D&K Transport to terminate a contract with the district for the activities run. The termination was made effective the conclusion of the current school year. D&K also indicated through the letter they do not wish to enter into one-year contract for the activities run for the upcoming 2013-14 school year.

The board went on to discuss advertising the activity bus run, but instead opted to have the superintendent come up with various options including a breakdown of different sports and activities that would allow multiple contractors to operate routes. The board is slated to discuss the matter further next month.

Contracts/proposals

Superintendent Hervey Hann was given authorization to sign any and all contracts, agreements, grants and licenses with the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

The board moved forward with signing the 2013 bond reimbursement resolution, which passed on a 7-1 roll call vote. Board member Danny Crouse dissented, while David Smith was unable to attend the April 16 meeting.

A nod of approval was given to the general operating budget for Tuscarora Intermediate Unit #11 for the 2013-14 school year.

Curriculum

The eighth-grade class was given permission to travel to Harpers Ferry, W.Va., on May 14, while the National Honor Society went to Baltimore Inner Harbor on April 19.

Meanwhile, the Scholastic Scrimmage Group will be going to Atlanta, Ga., on May 24-26 to participate in the national championship. It was noted the trip’s expenses will be paid for by the student participants.

SAT field test students in 10th through 12th grades will be travelling to a variety of locations including Hagers-town Bowling Alley, Hagers-town Mall, to the ice rink, Kennywood Park in Pittsburgh and Baltimore Inner Harbor on May 17. Cost of the trips will be paid for by SAT field test money, and the district will be covering transportation expenses. Superintendent Hann noted he will be requesting a reduction of available trip options in the future.

Eleventh and 12th-grade English students, who pass their exam on the book “The Great Gatsby,” will be viewing “The Great Gatsby” at Leitersburg Cinemas in May.

Policy

The board gave a nod of approval to the first and second readings of almost two pages of policies dealing with topics ranging from support employees to professional employees and public participation at board meetings.

Building and grounds

The volleyball team will be utilizing the elementary gymnasium between June 10 and June 12 from the hours of 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for the purpose of conducting a summer camp. Furthermore, the basketball team will be offering a camp for students in grades four through nine on June 17-20 from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the elementary gym.

Public comment

Bill Peck approached the board during the public comment portion of the meeting to discuss school policy regarding parents viewing alleged infractions that have been recorded on school bus cameras. Peck was informed by school board president Allen Morton he was unable to view camera footage as it would be a violation of student privacy. Superintendent Hann noted that policy is constantly changing and being rewritten, and the current policy states parents are unable to view the bus tapes.

Contractor and school board candidate Dave Smith brought up Southern Fulton’s enrollment numbers at the Fulton County Area Vocational-Technical School (AVTS), which was apparently a topic of discussion at a recent AVTS meeting. Smith said much like the current school board he was also concerned about declining enrollment and went on to cite findings from an AVTS report made by a visiting committee in 2000. Smith said the visiting committee reported even back then the problem was apparent as there was not a set schedule for vocational students. The suggestion by the visiting committee at that time was teaming vocational and academic teachers to enhance learning for vo-tech students.

Smith noted that parents or students are required to provide transportation to the Southern Fulton School District in the morning hours in order for students to meet the bus travelling to Central Fulton for vo-tech classes. If the district would offer transportation to the home school, they would incur 20 percent of the overall cost, according to reports. In addition, students must now travel to other schools for programs previously offered at Southern Fulton, such as Allied Health and drafting.

According to Smith, the visiting committee in 2000 stated the system in place at that time was “failing.” As a result, it was suggested the AVTS should be dissolved and students be sent to programs held in neighboring counties.

Hann stated the district does not discourage students from being in a vocational class. In fact, Hann said given the current state of the economy, the district should be pushing enrollment at the vo-tech. Board member Tim Mellott agreed with Smith in some respects and concluded the topic of enrollment continues to be on the mind of the board on an annual basis.

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