STRATTANVILLE – It was an evening of accolades for Clarion-Limestone School District students and staff last Wednesday during the monthly school board meeting.
Kindergarten teacher Mary Faulk was the first to receive an award as the national LifeChanger of the Year. The award goes to teachers who make a positive impact in the lives of students; enhance the district’s atmosphere, culture and pride; demonstrate exemplary leadership; build a nurturing environment that supports learning and adhere to the highest ethical standards.
Next, many Clarion-Limestone High School students were in attendance to accept a Top Five Student Award which is based on the 2016-2017 end-of-the-year averages. School board members Jamie Mahle and Molly Greenawalt awarded each recipient with a $25 money order.
Award winners from grade seven were Michael Aaron, Abigail Himes, Regan Husted, Brooke Kessler, Jessica McCracken, Morgan McNaughton, Gabrielle Miller, Owen Reinsel, Maya Shook, Gabriella Smith, Ruby Smith, Regina Snyder and Cody Whitling. In eighth grade, recipients included Taylor Aites, Lauren Hartle, Lauren Jamison, Anna Kennemuth, Braden Rankin and Jacob Rankin. Grade nine had Samurah Curry, Ali Girt, Tyler Klingensmith, Janey Rominski and Abby Simpson. In 10th grade, recipients were Jessica Aaron, Morgan Bish, James Gunning, Camden Hankey and Colby Himes. Lastly, eleventh-graders receiving the honor were Reecie Boyles, Chandra Carrier, Taylor Devey, Maddison Griffith, Lindsay Shook and Christian Smith.
High School Principal Mel Aaron noted that a total of 19 students were inducted into the National Honor Society this year.
“We have so many kids who meet such a high standard,” he said.
Superintendent Amy Glasl went on to report that the district was ranked first in the county for their 2015-2016 School Performance Profile (SPP) scores, released by the state Department of Education. The elementary school SPP was 82.6 and the high school was 80.1. Glasl added that the results are now in for the 2016-2017 school year. The elementary school SPP score increased to 84 and the high school dropped slightly to 79.6. Glasl reminded the board that SPP scores take into account many aspects such as advanced placement courses, student achievement and student growth.
“There are wonderful things going on here at C-L,” she said. “And I’m proud to be here.”
Glasl also took a moment to recognize the district business manager, Brenda Reitz, for her recent approval as a Pennsylvania Registered School Business Administrator (PRSBA) by the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials. A PRSBA status is granted only to school business officials who meet high personal, ethical and professional standards as demonstrated in formal education, experience and continuing education.
During the annual financial report, Reitz reported that in 2016-2017 the district collected 102.67 percent of its projected revenue, which meant that there was a surplus of about $381,959. Part of that was a result of roughly $26,000 more in real estate taxes than expected, a Safe Schools grant of $19,426, as well as $52,364 in delinquent real estate taxes and $33,536 in real estate transfer taxes.
Reitz also indicated that the district received more in state funding than expected, although federal funding has declined, particularly with Title 1 funding and medical access reimbursement. Reitz said the district spent almost 98 percent of the budget.
She added that there is more to give when it comes to the district’s Willison Scholarship fund. The district collected about $19,000 in interest and only gave out $5,000 in scholarship awards.
“If kids apply, it’s a nice fund and it would be great if we could give out more,” she said.
Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds Bob Coleman had some ideas on how to best use the budget surplus, including a continuation of LED lighting in the elementary school. The fixtures are $61 each and, according to Colemen, with an improved efficiency, they would pay for themselves in about three years. The total cost would be $11,038.95.
Management of Information Systems Director Justin Merwin proposed a new set of 80 chromebooks for the second grade classrooms. He said teachers are required to use them for Reflex Math, STAR Reading, Lexia and other programs.
The proposal started a discussion between board members Molly Greenawalt, Ray Theiss and David Schirmer regarding the best type of devices as well as the possibility of moving to a one-to-one technology model in the district where students are assigned a device that stays with them as they move through the district. The board settled on the idea of gathering more information about what the teachers need in terms of technology and going from there.
“We’re not saying no,” school board president Jamie Mahle concluded. “We just have more work to do.”
Towards the end of the meeting, board members Brian Hartle and Ray Theiss were acknowledged for their service to the district as they both ended a four-year term. Both members were a part of the implementation of the popular Pre-K program as well as the school security agreement with the Clarion County Sheriff’s Department.
“You guys are going to be greatly missed,” Mahle said. “But we know you still have kids here and you’re part of the family here.”
“It’s been a learning experience these past four years,” Hartle noted. “I am going to miss it a little bit. But there’s still going to be great people coming on and great people on here.”