Extracurricular Activities Eligibility
Confusion over what makes students eligible to participate in extracurricular activities in the should come to an end next week. At least, that's the plan.
New Superintendent Dr. Randal A. Lutz told the B-W School Board at a meeting on Wednesday night that he will submit a revised extracurricular participation policy for the board to vote on next week.
That revised policy is expected to enforce a uniform standard for not only student-athletes in grades 7-12 but also for any student in those grades who wishes to participate in other activities, such as German Club, student newspaper, et al.
During the 2011-12 school year, district officials attempted to enforce a policy that would have done just that, but confusion over the as well as enforced by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association caused the district policy to .
Dr. Lutz explained on Wednesday that the revised policy that he plans to implement would only be made available for the general public to view if and when it becomes an official district policy as deemed by the board.
Check back with the Baldwin-Whitehall Patch for updates.
Shorter Theater Schedule This School Year
Lutz relayed the wishes on Wednesday of Kris Tranter, director of music and theater at , that Baldwin High's theater arts productions have shorter schedules for the 2012-13 school year than they've had in years past.
Despite earning a for its production of in 2012, Baldwin still did not draw big enough crowds to justify a nine-day run of six shows, Lutz said of Tranter's analysis.
Thus, to alleviate costs, Tranter's wish is for tighter schedules of five shows in seven days for theater productions this school year.
His wish was not met with resistance and is expected to be approved by the school board next week.
New Alternative Education Program
Lutz and new Assistant Superintendent Denise Sedlacek recommended to the school board on Wednesday the approval of a contract with The Online Academy for use of its software program aimed at instructing the district's alternative education students.
The Online Academy program would be an improvement to the district's current educational practices with those students, Sedlacek said.
"In the past, one teacher has attempted to teach all the courses in one subject area," she said. "With The Online Academy, each child would be able to go in and work at their level, so that, after their 45-day placement (in the district's alternative education program) or semester placement, they'll be able to return back into a regular high school setting and at the pace of where the other students are."
Lutz explained that the district's current alternative education practice expects teachers to, in the subject of math, for example, instruct a group of students in a variety of courses—from geometry to algebra—at the same time.
Alternative education students include those with extreme and/or repeated disciplinary issues.
The board will vote next week on whether or not to approve The Online Academy program.
Add More Rental Fees?
School board member Larry Pantuso asked district administrators and his fellow board members to consider adding fees into the district's policy of renting its facilities to nonprofit groups.
While Pantuso agreed that the district has been commendable for allowing such groups to use places like athletics fields and the Baldwin High auditorium free of charge, he suggested that the district should at least recoup the expenses of maintaining those areas, such as custodial and utility costs.
"At the minimum, we should be recovering what it's costing us," he said, emphasizing that the "us" are district taxpayers.
Board member George L. Pry agreed with some of what Pantuso said but argued that the district should continue to be a good neighbor by allowing its facilities to be used free of charge for events like municipal meetings that may see oversized crowds.
Board member Nancy Sciulli DiNardo pointed out that the district has rented its facilities out free of charge, in the past, to local coaches running sports camps and clinics. Those camps can be lucrative, Sciulli DiNardo said, and she wondered aloud if the district should be charging for those types of events.
"I'm not saying we're OK with it (renting space to coaches for free)," Lutz said. "We just haven't dug into it."
Board President John B. Schmotzer said that he and his colleagues will revisit this topic in September or October.
New Student Board Rep; Fischer Unhappy with Process
Not content with just three student board representatives for the 2012-13 school year, the B-W School Board on Wednesday added Baldwin High senior Joseph Doyle to that list by an 8-0 vote. (Board member Ray Rosing did not vote, as he left the meeting early with an undisclosed illness, Schmotzer said.)
Doyle was added so that the board can hear from at least one male student this school year. He joins Jaclyn Sirc (the other senior class rep), junior Victoria Schmotzer and sophomore Jennifer Yanko.
Board member Kevin J. Fischer, though respectful of Doyle, was displeased with the district's overall selection process.
"If you really want true representation," Fischer said, "the student body, it should be their pick. It should be their election.
"By (the board) picking them, we might as well have the monarchy of England."
Transparency and Accountability?
Brian Rampolla, of Southvue Drive in , used public comments time at the end of Wednesday's meeting to urge the school board to be more transparent and "accountable."
Among Rampolla's suggestions were that the board formally announce its goals on a frequent basis so as to publically measure itself; adopt a strategic plan; broadcast meetings; establish a budget review committee; and make working documents available for public view.
"Everything that's non-classified, that the board sees, I think the public should see," he said. "You guys talked 20 minutes tonight about a policy on rental issues, but none of us had any idea what that policy said, how it was being revised. Put that up on the website. We can look at it before the meeting. We can come here with comments. We can pull them up on computers and laptops at the meetings and see that information."
Price of School Lunches Expected to Increase in Baldwin-Whitehall
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