Leftovers from Nov. 14 B-W School Board Meeting

College in the high school, ambulances at football games, parting words from John Schmotzer, and more.

College in the High School

The cost for students to take "college in the high school", or CHS, courses at Baldwin High School may fall onto the students themselves if the Baldwin-Whitehall School Board approves a recommendation in December made by school district administration.

Andrea Huffman, the B-W School District's director of curriculum, made that recommendation to the school board at its meeting on Wednesday night while, at the same time, recommending that Baldwin High's CHS courses be weighted at 5.0 on the school's GPA scale, rather than their current 4.5 weight.

The school's Advanced Placement, or AP, courses are currently the only ones weighted at 5.0.

"Students can receive college credits for both a CHS course and an AP course," Huffman said, "so it makes sense for those courses to be weighted the same."

Having students pay for CHS courses would take effect at the start of the 2013-14 school year.

"In the past, there have been grant monies to fund those courses," Huffman said. "Those monies have dried up."

Huffman pointed out, though, that Baldwin's CHS offerings would be "significantly cheaper than when they (students) go on to the college level."

Baldwin offers nine CHS courses that could be applied as credits toward college degrees.

"This 'college in high school' is actually more difficult than AP," board member Nancy Sciulli DiNardo said, "because they're actually taking the tests that colleges give."

Added board President John B. Schmotzer, "Ultimately, it saves the parents a lot of money."

Why Two Ambluances at Football Games?

As a cost-savings recommendation, school board member Larry Pantuso suggested that Baldwin-Whitehall pay for the staffing of just one ambulance at varsity football games at Baldwin High, rather than the current practice of staffing two.

"Every other football game I've ever been to in the WPIAL has one ambulance," Pantuso said. "We're paying for two."

2011-12 Audit Report

The board accepted, 8-0, on Wednesday its 2011-12 school district audit done recently by Cottrill Arbutina Professional Services and presented a week ago. (Board member Ray Rosing was absent on Wednesday.)

The audit, which was described by Cottrill Arbutina's Chad Agnew as "a one-year snapshot of the district" gives B-W an "unqualified opinion"—the highest opinion that it could have hoped for.

An unqualified opinion means, essentially, that all of the district's expenses and revenues are properly accounted for.

Also according to Cottrill Arbutina, B-W has a higher fund balance than each of its 19 peer school districts across Pennsylvania.

Still Looking for Meetings to Be Broadcast

Nancy Lee Crowder used board member comments time to reiterate her opinion that B-W's board meetings should be broadcast to the public, either streaming online or on community TV.

Crowder said that she has had conversations with a school board member from another local district that does broadcast its board meetings and that he or she has talked glowingly about how the broadcasts allow senior citizens from that district to observe the meetings, especially when they are on TV.

"I don't think it has to be anything professional," Crowder said. "I think it's just something that we really need to look at because I think that the public needs to be as informed as we are on certain things, because we need them to be that way. We need their support."

Praise for Schmotzer at His Last Meeting

Wednesday marked President Schmotzer's last B-W School Board meeting, as he resigned after 11 consecutive years as a school director.

But he almost didn't make it out. Some of his colleagues, who have heaped praise on him over the past two weeks, jokingly voted against accepting his resignation. The motion still passed—albeit barely—5-3.

George L. Pry was one of all eight board members in attendance on Wednesday to thank Schmotzer for his voluntary service to Baldwin-Whitehall, especially regarding his overseeing of a positive fund balance and the construction of Baldwin High.

"I respect not only you as a board member but you as a leader and you as somebody who has really made a difference in this district," Pry said.

Added Fischer, "I consider you a true friend. A true friend is somebody that you want in the foxhole (with you)."

Schmotzer deflected praise onto his fellow board members and onto Mary Ann Kraus, who will retire as the district's administrative assistant to the superintendent at the end of 2012.

Schmotzer then had some parting words.

"I will always bleed purple, he said, "and I wish the district the utmost success. And I know, under the current leadership, with the new people coming on board, it's going to happen, but we all have to think and believe it's going to happen.

"If we believe it, it will materialize. If we don't believe it—there always are the naysayers—nothing gets accomplished. It's bad vibes, and I hate to be around people who spread bad vibes. Be positive, be assertive in your school district.

"It's one of the best around."

Student Awards

The B-W School Board recognized a number of district students on Wednesday for their recent accomplishments.

- Honored for earning Steel Center Area Vocational Technical School Extra Effort Awards were Daniel Costantini (carpentry), Mark Salera (food service) and Laney Barone (health assistance).

- Honored for helping J.E. Harrison Middle School place second out of 432 schools from across the United States in a recent Sumdog.com math competition were Michaela Woods, who placed 18th individually out of 27,815 students, Emilee Spozarski (33rd place) and Stevie Kisty (44th place). Other members of the team who also registered accuracy scores of over 95 percent were honored, as well. They were Jacob Kemerer, Sam Barbano and Samantha Jurczyk.

B-W Considers Cutting High School Gym Requirements in Half

Read here.

Are the PTA/PTO 'Booster Groups'?

Read here.

Read through other Baldwin-Whitehall School Board items here.


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Paula Lim November 16, 2012 at 03:34 PM
My husband and I regularly go to Clairton HS football games where there are always TWO ambulances present. Might be because of the higher level of play........
JM November 16, 2012 at 04:04 PM
I'm surprised they don't need ten ambulances at Clairton just to deal with all the crowd violence at the games
Jon Wain November 18, 2012 at 10:42 PM
vote pantuso out next time folks


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