BROOKVILLE — With everything ready for the start of the new school year, the Brookville Area School Board approved the revised 2018-2019 school calendar Monday night.
In-service days for teachers and staff are being held Thursday and Friday, with the first day of school for most students to be Tuesday. Kindergarten students will have staggered starts on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Open house in the school district will be held the week of September 24, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. each day. The open house schedule will be Northside, Monday, September 24; Brookville High School, Tuesday, Sept. 25; Pinecreek, Wednesday, Sept. 26; and Hickory Grove, Thursday, Sept. 27. Parent-teacher conferences will be scheduled the week of November 19.
Scheduled vacations during the year include Thanksgiving, November 22-26; Christmas, December 21-January 1; and Spring Break, April 18-22. The tentative last day of school for students will be Tuesday, May 28. If snow days are necessary during the school year the make-up days will be added to the end of the school year.
Preparing for the start of school, the board also approved the list of this year’s school bus drivers as well as the bus routes. Board member Carol Schindler questioned the reasoning for some of the pick-ups beginning as early as 6 a.m.
Approved as booster groups for the new school year were Brookville Lady Raider Softball, Brookville Area Baseball Boosters, Brookville Football Boosters; P.A.T.H.S., Raider Roundball Club, Lady Raider Volleyball Booster Club, Brookville Raider Mat Club, Brookville Music Boosters, Brookville Raider Cheerleading Booster Club and Brookville High Soccer Boosters.
The board also approved a list of feeder programs, which will not be charged for use of school facilities. The list includes Lumberjacks and JC flag league football, Lumberjacks cheerleaders, SAY soccer, YMCA cross country youth program, Brookville elementary wrestling, basketball and track; YMCA swimming, and Brookville Area Little League, baseball and softball.
Monday night’s meeting began with two visitors addressing the board.
Robin Miller of Knoxdale asked the board if anyone “has ever taken the initiative to gather the names of the families who are opting for cyber school and knocking on their doors and asking them why” they chose cyber school. Miller said if their reasons are the same, “could we address those issues? We could also raise up the student population so there would be no need to combine schools.”
Superintendent Robin Fillman said that parents are called. “We do have that conversation each year. Each year the principals are asked to call the parents of students that are being homeschooled and cybered, and asked if they would like to return to the brick and mortar schools. We have not gone to the homes,” she said.
Miller said that she had not been called, but if she had it would not have changed her mind about having her daughters enrolled in cyber school. “It would have been nice if I could have viewed my opinions,” she said.
Jean Dusch of Brookville expressed her concerns about “how you expect the people of this community to keep paying more taxes, because we have had two tax raises in the last three years. It was my understanding that the occupational privilege tax was not ever to be activated again. To me it is a very unfair tax; there is no way to disseminate different occupations and to many people even that $80 they have to pay is a burden. To plan your hopes on more state funding is wishful thinking. I’m concerned about the tax. A lot of people on fixed incomes are on the verge of losing their homes. They can’t pay the tax. Where’s it going to end? It’s a big problem that needs to be solved in this forum.”
The board clarified a comment from last week’s meeting, stating that Pennsylvania ranks 47 out of 50 states in regards to percentage of state funding school districts receive.
Fillman presented a plaque that will be given to Denny Lindemuth “for 32 years of dedicated service as a bus and van contractor for the Brookville Area School District.” He also served 10 years as a driver. Lindemuth retired earlier this year.
Donations’Fillman also expressed her appreciation to “all the very generous community members who have donated so much over the last few years to our district. We have gifts of books, donations to arts programs, software, computers, and, most recently, metal detectors. We thank you for your generosity; we certainly appreciate that.”
John Pozza, board representative to the IU-6, reported that executive director Jeff Brown will be retiring at the end of the year. The IU-6 is also seeking input from school superintendents as to the strengths and weaknesses of services provided by IU-6.
Board member Fred Park commented on the public safety meeting held last week. “I feel very confident in what our school is doing to make our schools safer for our students. A lot of hard work has been done, but we have to be vigilant, because there will always be more to do,” he said.
The board discussed at length whether or not to reinstate committees. The board had more questions than answers, as they asked about the duties and parameters of committees. Several members said they believe committees could be valuable to the work of the board, while others thought committees should be appointed only when needed, such as during contract negotiations. Board member Kerith Strano Taylor said, “My experience on this board is that we all like all the information. We always have. We like to be privy to all the information. The way this board is comprised, what information are any of us not willing to get?” Discussion will continue at future meetings.
The board voted for officers for the Pennsylvania School Board Association.
Actions taken on personnel
- Supplemental contracts were approved for Michele Confer and Georgia Long, co-advisors for the elementary yearbook, and for Melinda Burton and Morgan Easterbrook as co-advisors for the Class of 2020.
- The board approved Tiffany Trayer as an assistant cheerleading coach and Gina London as an assistant volleyball coach, with Aaron Kalkbrenner and Melinda Burton approved as volleyball volunteers.
- Shawna Lindermuth was advanced to a full-time custodian, at her current rate of pay.
- The board appointed Leslie Caylor to be the mentor teacher for Daniel Clark.
- Added to the list of day-to-day substitutes were Michelle Hopper of New Bethlehem, elementary and special education; and D. Maxwell Hrinya of Brockway, secondary math.
The next meeting of the Brookville Area School Board will be its work session at 7 p.m. Monday, September 10, in the LGI room at Hickory Grove Elementary School.