NEW BETHLEHEM – In his report to the Redbank Valley School Board Monday night, district superintendent Michael Drzewiecki noted that ongoing discussions regarding special education concerns culminated with the implementation of a new plan of action in all three buildings and the introduction of a new director of special education from Intermediate Unit 6.

“We’ve already introduced the new special ed supervisor to the Redbank Valley Leadership Team,” Drzewiecki said. “She’s been to the intermediate school and has been introduced informally to the high school.”

According to Drzewiecki, the action plan came in response to a recommendation from last week’s work session and includes the creation of “building level teams” comprised of teachers, aides, administration, IU6 staff, outside agencies and board members. The purpose of the teams is to meet to identify priorities, share best practices, create an action plan and discuss resource allocation in regard to special education.

The action plan will be introduced to teachers through a series of faculty meetings this week, he noted.

Following the meeting, board president Chad Shaffer pointed out that the plan of action was designed to reinforce the practices that met the standards established by the state Department of Education and to address deficiencies in the special education program.

“We have a letter from the Department of Education saying that we have achieved resolution of any noncompliant areas,” Shaffer said. “Every time the Department of Education comes in, there are things they want you to work on.”

Shaffer said the department was also checking compliance in the district’s individualized education programs (IEPs) and that the required amount of inclusion is being met.

“Any IEPs where we are not doing what we need to do will be prioritized and fixed,” he said. “The ones that we are in compliance with, we’re going to make sure that the people know that things are going along well.”

A second item Drzewiecki addressed in his report was district-wide communication, or the lack thereof.

In connection with the execution of Redbank’s special education program, district administration saw the need to revisit the communication flowchart governing the dissemination of information between staff members within the organization and between the district, students and community members.

The purpose is to ensure whether a concern is voiced by a parent, teacher or someone in the administration, that person knows how the information flows and who should receive the information next.

“This is something along with the action plan that we will roll out to the staff this week,” Drzewiecki said, adding that faculty will discuss becoming familiar with the communication process, where to proceed in the event of a “roadblock” in communication and some of the best ways to communicate.

Also during the Feb. 5 meeting, district resident Kara Raybuck spoke on behalf of former district custodian Mawnee Huffman, who urged the board to consider the consequences of potentially outsourcing district custodial and cafeteria staff.

In pointing out the benefits of maintaining district residents as employees, Huffman said in a written statement read by Raybuck, “I am sure that company employees will not give the effort that makes the school better or safer for students.”

No decision on outsourcing custodial and cafeteria services was made during the meeting. The request for proposal (RFP) deadline for food service providers is 2 p.m. on Feb. 12, Drzewiecki’s report states.

Other Business

• As proposed by the music committee, board members unanimously agreed to promote music education by encouraging continued participation from students transitioning from sixth to seventh grade, recycle instruments and sheet music, and provide a supportive environment by enhancing cooperation between other extra curriculars and the music department.

• A baseball field lease agreement was approved between Redbank Valley Municipal Park and the Redbank Valley School District from March 1 through May 31. The document was approved with an amendment stating that the two entities would not split gate receipts for PIAA playoff games due to a PIAA policy that states all fees for those particular games go to PIAA. Board member Ann Kopnitsky voted no.

• The 2018-19 preliminary budget was approved in the amount of $18,756,964. With revenues predicted at $17,826,564, the district is facing a $930,399 deficit. Kopnitsky voted against the motion.

• The 2018-19 school calendar was approved. It includes three-and-a-half Act 80 days (Sept. 21(half), Nov. 27, Jan. 21, 2019 and Feb. 18, 2019), three In-Service days (Aug. 27-28 and June 3, 2019), three snow make-up days (March 15, April 18, 2019 and April 22, 2019) and five district holidays (Nov. 23 and 26, Dec. 24-25 and April 19, 2019).

The first day of school for students will be Aug. 29, with the last day projected for May 31, 2019.

The school will also be closed on Labor Day (Sept. 3), ALF Day (Oct. 5) and Memorial Day (May 27, 2019).

• Lois Moranville and Erica Bowersox were retro-approved as substitute teachers.

• Tyler Scott was retro-hired as a child specific aide as of Jan. 24 at a salary of $15,929.97 and Jamie McGuire as a kindergarten aide as of Jan. 22 at a salary of $11,028.44.

• The resignation of assistant junior high wrestling coach Erik Rupp effective Feb. 17 was accepted.

• Carolyn Husted was hired as an LPN substitute and Shirley McDonald and Ember Gourley were approved as long-term school nurse substitutes at a per diem rate of $230.71.

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