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Linglestown Gazette: CD board approves two big-ticket items

Sunday, November 11, 2012

CD board approves two big-ticket items


Board members face decision Monday on security at winter events

Next board meeting Monday, Nov. 12
Central Dauphin East High School Lecture Hall
626 Rutherford Road
Harrisburg, PA 17109
7:00 pm

On Nov. 5, Central Dauphin administrators were given the green light to purchase nearly $343,000 of reading books and hired a new director of special education at a salary of $100,000 per year plus benefits. Both items had not been discussed during recent school board meetings.

The purchase of reading books completed an upgrade of materials started a few years ago and will be used for students in kindergarten through second grade starting next fall.

Dr. Shirley Hunter said the new books are designed to improve the odds of students being on grade with their reading skills by third grade, are more rigorous than current reading books and will better prepare students to take standardized tests.

The readers are designed to allow teachers to work with a class that has students at different reading levels, said Rutherford Elementary School Principal Deron Doi.

Superintendent Carol Johnson said an immediate decision was needed to purchase the books because the offer from the book publisher would go away before the board’s next meeting on Nov. 12.

Prior to the board unanimously voting to approve the purchase, board members Brian Faleshock, Chris Judd, Janis Macut and Jay Wenger asked questions about the books and the process used to select them, the level of teacher support for the purchase and the time-sensitive nature of the publisher’s offer.

In the other major vote of the evening, the board unanimously approved hiring Ms. Lynda Lupp as the district’s director of special education to replace Dr. Francine Rassouli, who submitted a resignation on Oct. 1. For more info on this vote, CLICK HERE for a report by Mary Klaus of The Patriot-News.

Other notable items from the Nov. 5 board meeting:

At the request of Superintendent Johnson, AKA Security Services made a presentation on using unarmed, private security personnel instead of state troopers to work at winter athletic and special events. The district employed the firm at last school year's prom and its security guards were involved in the underage-drinking incident that occurred during the event.

Johnson said using AKA would cost less than troopers, may allow the district to stop using teachers to work security at winter school events and would provide a more well-rounded service than troopers.

ACTION ITEM — This proposal is on the agenda for a possible vote during the meeting this Monday, Nov. 12. The board faces a decision on whether to use unarmed security guards at winter events to save a few thousand dollars and possibly provide more well-rounded service than state troopers -or- continue to employ armed state troopers and teachers.

CLICK HERE for a news brief by Mary Klaus of The Patriot-News about the expected vote on hiring AKA Security Services. Be sure to check out what the AKA representative guaranteed that his company could do when it comes to guns and students.

Community activist Eric Epstein warned school officials that PPL electricity-distribution charges are going up over the next five years and urged them to build the higher cost into their financial plans.

Karen McConnell, the district’s Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Administrative Operations, reported that this year’s financial audit has been completed and there were no findings.

She also went over five-year budget projections with the board that showed revenue shortages with various tax hikes for the 2013-2014 budget ranging from $3.7 million to $6.7 million.

Speaking of tax hikes, McConnell said the district's maximum property-tax hike allowed next by year by the state most likely would be 3.4 percent.

The board needs to commit by the end of January to not exceed the maximum state-allowed tax hike of 1.7 percent or seek an exception from the state for a total hike of 3.4 percent. (The state is considering exception requests to help districts deal with spiking contributions for teacher and support personnel pensions.)

Last year's tax hike was 3.3 percent, which added an estimated $54 to the school tax bill for owners of property assessed at $117,000, the district average.
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DRIVING DIRECTIONS TO MEETINGS – Go to the rear of CD East High and park in the lot that is bordered by tennis courts and the gymnasium. Enter the building at the door located about 50 yards to the right of the gymnasium's main entrance. (You have to walk up a small flight of concrete steps to get to the door.) After entering the building, walk straight back the hallway to the Lecture Hall – the entrance is on the left side of the hallway.

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1 Comments:

At 3:00 PM, Blogger  said...

Regarding security at winter events, ideally this agenda item would be under New Business and would be discussed by board members with no vote.

If there's a legitimate reason for needing an immediate decision, it would be appropriate to open the floor for public comments prior to the board voting on the AKA Security proposal.

 

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