2/11/19 School Board Meeting Guide

A number of issues came up at last night’s East Penn school board meeting that may be of interest to the community. Here’s a guide to the most important of them, along with links to video where you can watch those discussions yourself.

School Start Times: We discussed some of the benefits and potential obstacles to changing the start time of Emmaus High School. I posted my own initial take on this issue last week. The board voted unanimously to have the administration develop a report on how it might be implemented. Two members of the community addressed the issue during the public comment period, which you can watch here. You can watch the board’s discussion here.

New Turf Field: The engineering firm hired to oversee the replacement of the football field presented a timeline for completing the project. Executive summary: It’s a complex process and the field should be completed in August 2020. Watch here.

New Staff Positions: The administration provided detailed rationales for three of the seven new staff they would like to hire in next year’s budget.

  • Certified School Nurse (CSN): An additional CSN is required at the high school to meet state mandates and address the specialized health needs of many students. The approximate cost for salary and benefits would be $90,000. Watch here.
  • English as a Second Language (ESL) Teacher: There are 117 students at the high school that require English as a second language instruction or direct monitoring, but only a single ESL teacher. This new ESL teacher would better meet the needs of these students as well as help bring the district into compliance with state regulations for ESL instruction. The approximate cost for salary and benefits would be $90,000. Watch here.
  • Special Education Teacher: A teacher specifically for students who qualify for emotional support under state law. The district anticipates there will be 55 such students at the high school next year, about 10% more than this year. The approximate cost for salary and benefits would be $90,000. Watch here.

The district outlined the rationale for three other positions at our last meeting. The board will vote on next year’s budget on April 8 and June 10 (check out my School Budget 101 for details on how the budget process works).

New Bus Contract: The board voted unanimously for a new, 5-year bus contract with STA, our current provider. Busing costs have increased substantially since the last contract, but the new deal is substantially cheaper than what many other districts in the area are paying. Watch here.

1 thought on “2/11/19 School Board Meeting Guide”

  1. I don’t know if the Board has put together the calendar for next school year, but I think it would be a good idea to build in 5 snow days rather than only 3. In the 10 years my son has been in school they have never had fewer than 3 snow days. I hate that days are taken away from a very necessary spring break. This also would eliminate the added on days at the end of the school year that are just time fillers and no real instruction is going on.

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