Remaining Notes from Nov. 2 B-W School Board Meeting
John Schmotzer addresses 'misinformation' over $2.8 million. Also, read about a policy revision to extracurricular activities participation, a JROTC update and much more from Wednesday's board meeting.
Extracurricular Activities Participation Policy Revision
The following paragraph was added to the policy, effective Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011:
“To be eligible for any extracurricular activity, a student must maintain a 2.0 overall grade point average in all courses taken and must maintain passing grades in English, mathematics, science and social studies courses in grades 7 through 12. If a student does not earn a 70% or higher in English, mathematics, science or social studies, that student will be placed on academic probation in any extracurricular activity which the student is participating. Eligibility shall be cumulative from the beginning of a grading period, shall be reported on a weekly basis, and shall be filed in the principal’s office.”
Board member Nancy Lee Crowder dissented.
Students’ Transcripts Getting a Makeover?
Dr. John D. Wilkinson, the B-W School District’s assistant superintendent of secondary education, updated the school board on Wednesday night of his, the district’s new Guidance Supervisor Stephanie McHugh’s and Baldwin High School Principal Kevin J. O’Toole’s ongoing group investigation as to how to make B-W students’ transcripts look more appealing to college recruiters and admissions employees.
“This is for next (school) year,” Wilkinson said. “Is it (a transcript) aesthetically pleasing? How’s its appearance? How easy is it to look at the information?
“ … I think that we need to investigate whether or not our transcripts are giving our children the best chance to get into the best schools. Simple as that.”
Board member John B. Schmotzer applauded the investigation.
“I think it’s a great endeavor,” Schmotzer said. “I think it’s long overdue.”
Wilkinson said that he, McHugh and O’Toole hope to have a rough draft of a new transcript model to show the board in January.
B-W School District Superintendent Dr. Lawrence C. Korchnak said that the district is trying to find a military partner to revive its JROTC program.
“If we don’t get it this year, we’re going to go for it next year,” Korchnak said, “but we haven’t stopped.”
“We are committed 100 percent to do that (have a JROTC program in Baldwin-Whitehall),” Schmotzer said.
Transition Fair Coming to Baldwin High School
The Baldwin High School main gymnasium will be the site of a Transition Fair on Thursday, Nov. 17, from 6 to 8 p.m. that is open to students aged 14 and older who receive special education services as well as the families of those students.
“It’s a very nice opportunity for our district,” B-W’s Director of Pupil Services Virginia Deasy said. “It’s a way for us to help our parents connect with these agencies (Three Rivers Center for Independent Living and the state Bureau of Autism Services, among others) now while the children are still in school to help ease that burden when they leave school.”
Refreshments will be provided in Baldwin High’s nearby cafeteria. Please RSVP to Eric Jankoski, the B-W School District’s transition coordinator, by Friday, Nov. 11, by emailing email@example.com or by calling 412-885-7500, ext. 5271.
Click here for more information.
What About That $2.8 Million?
John Schmotzer used board member comments time on Wednesday night to address what he called “misinformation.”
Many members of the “Committee to Build a Better Board,” who are aiming to earn B-W School Board seats during Nov. 8 general elections, have said that some members of the current school board have chosen to “balance the (district) budget” by “us(ing) $2.8 million from the high school renovation fund.”
“(That money) went to good use,” said Schmotzer, who contributes to the “Residents for Lower Taxes and Better Education” committee, on Wednesday.
The “Residents” committee is directly opposing the “Better Board” committee.
“(That money) went to renovate an auditorium that needed renovated,” Schmotzer said, “that should have been included in the construction project, which was eliminated under the old administration. But, fortunately, we were able to get it done, and I think the community, the theater arts group and everybody involved truly appreciate the expenditure of $2.8 million in that renovation.
“Some people feel that that $2.8 million should have gone to pay down the (district) debt. Well, if you know about bonds, especially public bonds, you cannot pay back debt for a certain period of time, and our one bond that was refinanced has a five-year payback period.
“Even if you wanted to pay it back, you can’t pay it back all at once. You pay it in incremental payments, so therefore, you invest the balance of the money that you can’t pay back. And what are you gonna collect in the bank on interest today? Virtually nothing.
“So, the best use of the funds, at that time (of budgetary decisions), was to renovate the auditorium and to pay for it without touching the fund balance.”
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