City School Board Approves Several Measures, Tenure Candidates

WALLINGFORD The Board of Education Monday unanimously approved a 2017-18 budget for the school district that is $4.21 million, or 3.9 percent, less than what Superintendent of Schools Salvatore Menzo unveiled last month.

At the January 24 board work session, board members questioned the number of long weekends in the calendar and discussed complaints from teachers about returning to school early for the new school year.

"We have some pockets of excellence in some of our elementary schools", he said.

Next school year, students were poised to stay in school through Friday, Dec. 22 before starting winter break, according to a calendar approved by the board in October.

Hillsborough County school district officials explore combining neighboring Cahoon Elementary and Van Buren Middle schools. To be eligible, a school district must have an accountability rating of "met standard", which ECISD has.

"The teachers are happy, the students are happy, and when they are happy, the principal is happy", Robinson said of having contracted custodians.

The additional funds are from a mid-year increase in state Basic Education Plan revenues, various grants, gifts and donations, resale of mobile phones no longer used by administrators and Greeneville City Schools Education Foundation's Reach4IT fundraising drive. Children who participate in high-quality pre-k programs perform better in school, graduate at higher rates and earn more throughout their lives compared to peers without access to early learning programs.

The proposed budget also would preserve all current school programs and add 11.4 positions, including two positions for the English as a New Language program, which offers non-native speakers the opportunity to improve their English language skills, as well as a psychologist to accommodate both regular and special needs students.

The district put the contract out to bid last year in light of several years of financial losses in cafeteria sales. Summers said, "Discussions or actions beyond agenda items is prohibited by the Brown Act except in emergencies".

When trustees are presented with new hire information, the credentialed employees' planned salary schedule is included with their meeting packet, which showed that the two new teachers were being hired above the proper steps on the salary schedule.

While the teachers argued that past cuts had disproportionately affected building staff, board member Terry Hall said the district office went from about 50 people in 2008 to less than 40 now.

This legislation "is not a panacea" for taxpayers even though the elimination of property taxes sounds good on the surface, according to the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA). We can not get ahead if our schools fall behind. "We have to be able to pay bills".

From the time this issue was brought to light in 2015, Blow said district officials tell new hires who ask for more experience years that "we absolutely follow the teachers contract".

He explained that it's often hard to prepare for and impossible to project how many students will enroll just before the school year kicks off, but with more help, it would be less of a burden.

  • Larry Hoffman