Dr. Richard Coslett opened the Nov. 12 Dallas School Board meeting with a brief speech honoring veterans, including a video montage, a song entitled Chicken Fried by Zac Brown Band and a moment of silence for those lost.
Following the presentation, Scott Vencil of Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates Architects presented the board with the initial assessment on the structural and engineering aspects of Dallas schools. In his proposal, he included a projection of future student populations up to the year 2020, indicating that CRA has found that, historically, Dallas School District has exceeded population projections of the Department of Education by as much as 6% a year.
Vencil presented the analysis, possible problem areas and possible solutions, including the idea of renovating or demolishing the current modular constructions from 1972 at the Dallas Elementary School, providing rough sketches of what the new construction would look like should the district choose to demolish the existing building.
Several members of the audience spoke out when Vencil asked if there were any questions, expressing concerns that the proposal sounded expensive and not enough specific information has been provided to the public. Board members indicated they had just received the booklet themselves and would review the information thoroughly and share it with the public in detail at the December meeting.
Dallas High School Principal Jeffrey Shaffer then presented new scheduling arrangements he hopes will be in place by January. The schedule will change classes from 72 minutes to 44-minute blocks and the school day from five periods to eight. The Parent Advisory Committee was informed of the changes last week and the information will now be placed online for parent review.
Shaffer explained that this scheduling structure, combined with the new cyber program through Seneca Valley, will allow students to take more classes, strengthen their core learning and allow for hybrid schedules. Students can attend the campus for part of the day and take other classes online, such as additional language classes, that may not be offered at the school.
Denise DeLuca asked if children would be permitted to take extra classes or additional credits online after attending a full school day. Board member Karen Kyle said that scenario might be possible for advanced students.
The board took a 15-minute intermission when President Catherine Wega suddenly became ill . Wega did not rejoin the meeting. According to Superintendent Frank Galicki, Wega experienced issues with low blood sugar, but ws feeling better the next day.
The board heard from John Delamater on the status of the school's lacrosse teams. Delamater asked the board to help with fields and transportation for the upcoming season. He told the board that parents and students are car-pooling to games as far as Delaware Valley and that he is concerned with safety.
Galicki said the district would provide at least one field this season and would take measurements to see if any other fields are acceptable for the sport.
In other business …
• Authorized Diana Alichnie to attend the School-to-Career Connection Integrated Learning Conference in State College Nov. 7-9 at a cost of $680.
• Adopted a resolution to pay Metz & Associates LTD $106,581.82 for meals served to the district.
• Approved the following field trips through May 2013: WES fifth grade to BizTown, Pittston; DMS select chorus to Little Flower Manor, Luzerne County Courthouse, Wyoming Valley Mall and Meadows Manor for holiday performances; WES second grade to Bear Mountain Butterfly Sanctuary, Jim Thorpe; WES fourth grade to Crystal Cave, Kutztown; DES and WES fifth grade to Knoebel's Amusement Park; DHS Wellness IV Classes to Human Body Exhibit, New York; DES fourth grade to Da Vinci Science Center, Allentown; WES first grade to Claws n' Paws, Lake Ariel.
• Approved George Butwin, Kenneth Christian and Nicol Costello to volunteer for Wycallis Elementary.
• Approved an increase in salary for Cheryl McCue, aide in the guidance office, from $11.26 per hour to $12.54 per hour.
• Appointed Brian Stepniak and Abby Berger as lifeguards in the natatorium at $10 per hour.
• Approved all payments and reports from the finance committee.
• Approved the Community Clinical Experience for nursing students from Misericordia University during the spring semester.
• Authorized Dr. Paul Reinert to attend the PDE SAS Conference in Hershey from Dec. 2-5 at a cost of $600.
• Recommended Ruth Skammer to mentor Nicole Munzwitha for the remainder of the year for a stipend of $500.
• Appointed Linda Mazula as freshman class advisor with a stipend of $815.
• Authorized a daily increase in hours for part-time employees Meredith Ohl Recek from 4 to 4.5 hours a day and Marissa Farrell from 3.5 to 4.5 hours per day.
• Approved coaches for the cheerleading squad for the 2012-2013 season as follows: Head Coach Suzanne Powell, $2,836; Assistant Coach Alyssa Grove, $2,304; and Middle School Assistant Jennifer Sorber, $1,808.
• Board Member Colleen Slocum reported that Dallas will be included in the new PA School Performance Profile website. The site will be released to the schools in December and opened to the public in the spring.
The next Dallas School Board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Dec. 10 in the administration building.