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Conewago Valley school board accepts board member’s resignation

By Imari Scarbrough

The Conewago Valley School Board accepted the resignation of a board member on Monday evening.

Luke Crabill, the former representative for region one, turned in his resignation effective Nov. 2, according to Superintendent Sharon Perry.

Crabill’s term extends through early December 2025, and his interim successor will hold the spot through the completion of the term.

With the board’s blessing, Perry said she would begin advertising the vacancy immediately. A notice with instructions for interested applicants has been posted to the district’s website. The advertisement will remain until Friday and public interviews will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13 immediately preceding the board’s regular meeting at 7:30 p.m.

All applications are due by noon Friday, Nov. 10. Instructions are available on the Conewago Valley School District’s website.

No reason was provided for Crabill’s resignation.

In addition to accepting Crabill’s resignation, the board made three other personnel decisions, approving extracurricular contracts for a musical/play director, assistant director, and sound and lighting technician for the upcoming middle school play.

Building projects, new vehicles

Perry also apprised the board of the status of multiple capital improvement projects.

Perry pointed to three old buildings the board has eyed demolishing as it would allow for future improvement projects for the district.

Demolishing all three properties would cost roughly $93,000, according to the estimates Perry has received.

The athletic office is also due for a new roof that will cost about $250,000, according to Perry. Other outdated items in the district also need replaced, including the auditorium lights (which will cost about $470,000) and Motorola radios, which will replace the outdated radios the district currently has.

The old radios were noted as a “significant safety vulnerability” in the Risk and Vulnerability Assessment Team (RVAT) survey completed in the district, according to Perry.

Perry said it is possible the auditorium lights project could be started over Christmas break and finished over the summer should the board choose to authorize it immediately.

Both new and replacement vehicles will also have to be added soon. The board discussed what type of vehicle would be best to purchase for the new school security officer to ensure safety and mobility across the campuses.

While many of the potentially upcoming capital improvement projects are costly, Dr. Brad Sterner, assistant superintendent, had good news regarding grant monies.

The district was recently awarded $10,000 for an aquaponics system in its new greenhouse. Sterner said the system will provide a “learning experience” for the students. Although the district applied for the grant last year, it only recently received notice of the award due to delays with the state budget.

Sterner said the district was also awarded a $3,000 grant to use for play equipment in a courtyard. Additional funds may also be added onto the initial award later, according to Sterner.

The district also applied for two new grants intended to go towards its speech and debate team and to create an outdoor play area, but neither application has received a response at this time.

Sterner also submitted several requests for new courses, two for the Colonial Career & Technology Center and three for the Conewago Valley Online Academy.

The three courses for the online academy would include a spring educational apprenticeship, an additional English 10, and an additional personal finance class.

Both the English and personal finance classes would be added as level one courses. Perry explained that the district uses three levels, with level one intended for students who need additional support, level two for average placement, and level three for advanced work.

Perry said adding the level one courses would be a step towards ensuring all students can access the classes they need.

“Personal finance is a really great example,” Perry said. “It’s important to us here at Conewago Valley to offer that course. We require it and when you have students that can’t access it due to disabilities, for example, and because of the delivery of it being online, that’s very independent. So we have to make it accessible. I’m really excited about that offering because that helps us to fill in the gaps to get us to the level one, two and three vision for the online academy.”

Board policies

The district has continued to push through its policy review and updating process as part of the board policy and administrative regulations review cycle it began this year.

District procedures must align with board policies, and administration, teachers and staff need to be aware of the policies, making the review a labor-intensive process.

As part of its cycle, the district has first focused on board procedures and student policies.

“Last year, as you know, we went through all of our board policies and the associated administrative regulations and now we’re taking that second, closer look to ensure that our procedures are aligning with board policy,” Perry said. “So that’s the best investment that collaboratively we can make as a team so that there is no liability. As we go through this cycle, it’ll happen every four years where every board member will have access to each of our policies and administrative regulations. I’m really proud to do that.”

Perry said the commitment to the review cycle will benefit both the district and the community.

“To my knowledge, we are the only school district that does that,” Perry said. “It’s something that I really appreciate from this board: your willingness to engage in that cycle process. It creates a lot of transparency within our school community and it also provides an internal professional development opportunity for our administration team, who serves as representatives on that committee.”

Perry said the reviews ensure the policies are legally and practically attainable and that policies and procedures are aligned. In addition to the feedback from leadership in the district, the review also takes into account recommendations made by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association and the final suggestions made by the district’s legal representation at Stock and Leader.

While the task can seem complicated, board President Edward Groft echoed Perry’s beliefs that it is an important one.

“The multiple layers allow us to have confidence that what we are approving is, in fact, the right thing,” Groft said.

Other business

The board heard about an opportunity to partner with the Special Olympics of Pennsylvania Unified Champion Schools.

As of Monday, no other Adams County districts are involved, according to Perry.

“Essentially it’s a regular (education) athlete that partners with a special ed athlete and they compete together against other teams,” Perry said. “In this case, our partners would be in York County.”

Perry said the district will be reimbursed for any costs related to the partnership, adding that the athletic booster could possibly assist.

“This is not like our typical athletic season where there’s a lot of travel that’s involved,” Perry said. “There’s usually two events, three or four max, throughout the year. But it’s a great opportunity to have our kids connect with other students and also to partner with another student here from York. So we’re really excited and pleased to be able to make that recommendation to you this evening.”

The board also reviewed the proposed 2023-24 school calendar presented by Perry.

Two individuals approached the board. One asked for more details about York Adams Academy. The other voiced concerns with the board’s appointment earlier this year of Beth Farnham to the board, citing an incompatibility with the “conservative values” of others in Farnham’s region. The individual also criticized Groft for reading the board’s public speaking policy at the October and November meetings regarding the rules of addressing the board, saying reading the policy adds to a show of “implied contempt” for those not on the board.

The next regular public meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13. Public interviews with potential new board members will be held at 6 p.m. ahead of the meeting.

In December, the board will only meet on one day. A study session will begin at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 4 and a regular meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m.

The December meeting will also serve as the board’s reorganization meeting.

Imari Scarbrough is a freelance journalist.

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Imari Scarbrough is a freelance journalist. She was a staff newspaper reporter for five years before becoming a freelancer in 2017. She has written on crime, environmental issues, severe weather events, local and regional government and more.

You can visit her website at ImariJournal.com.

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