District moving from classroom days to hours in 2014-15
Meeting Thursday evening, in special session, the East Guernsey School Board unveiled their plan to transition from school days to classroom hours.
The new state regulations call for the school year to consist of a minimum number of educational hours, not days. This essentially eliminates calamity days, waiver days and the like. While classes may be canceled due to a snow storm, the missed hours will be made up during the remaining school year instead of adding days to the school calendar.
According to Superintendent Dr Richard Hall, the district will adhere to the state set minimum of 1,001 classroom hours. There is a slightly reduced number of hours set for elementary students, but due to transportation conflicts, the East Guernsey School District will use the high school required hours.
Dr Hall says that by state law, school districts must schedule the same number of school days as they did this past year. For East Guernsey, that totaled out to 1,157 hours. Dr Hall stressed that this does not mean that once the district hits the minimum number of hours schools will shut down. With weather and other factors, the hours above the minimum will be a welcomed cushion, and allow for further educational opportunities.
In addition to approving the change classroom hours, the board tonight also approved the 2014-15 district calendar, which is essentially the same as before the change. Minor adjustments have been made to "fair week", parent/teacher conferences in November and to the start of Christmas break.
During the financial report, the board approved the district's Five Year Forecast. Treasurer/CFO Teresa Emmerling reported that the district continues to be deficit spending, that is spending more money than they are taking in. Emmerling tells AVC News that returning programs and teachers, and eliminating pay-to-participate did impact the forecast. She says pay-to-participate alone impacted the budget by around $100,000. It was pointed out that pay-to-participate money not only funded athletic programs, but many others including band, and other educational related activities.
When approving these changes some time ago, the board at that time, acknowledged that it would be a financially risky move, but one that they believed in.
Emmerling did report some good financial news. The anticipated transfer of funds from the General Fund to Food Service was cut by more than half. Approximately $50,000 will be moved, instead of the estimated $175,000. Also, health insurance premiums will be around 2.7% instead of the expected 12%. These two items will somewhat ease the financial burden for at least the upcoming fiscal year.
According to the forecast, the district will close FY 2104 with an ending balance of just over $3,000,000. Next fiscal year, 2015, that year end balance is predicted to dwindle to just over $2,000,000.
Preparing for the new school year, the board Thursday night approved a number of personnel items.
The list includes: Todd Fessler (band/choir teacher), William Kackley (Vo.Ag. teacher), Sarah Mourer (science teacher). Also approved were the resignations of Dan Behringer (bus driver), Linda Delik (non-certified substitute) and and Rod Gray (head boys basketball coach).
During the summer months, the East Guernsey School Board will be taking their meetings "on the road". The meeting for June 18 will be held at the Londonderry Masonic Lodge. And the July meeting, tentatively set for July 16 will take place at the Quaker City Fire House. The meetings begin at 6 pm, and the public is welcomed to attend.