The Conewago Valley school board discussed possible tax increases for the 2021-22 budget during its regular board meeting on Monday evening. The board also reviewed challenges and successes as it wraps up the current school year and prepares for a new one.
Six new teaching jobs were included in the 2021-22 budget, which has yet to be approved. According to Superintendent Christopher Rudisill, the positions include:
- One K-3 gifted teacher
- One K-3 media specialist
- Two classroom teachers for the middle school
- One technical education teacher for the high school, and
- One special education teacher
During its next meeting, the board will look at additional budget projections with a tax increase. It plans to vote on the final budget on May 10.
Rudisill said that he recommends that the district continue on a hybrid schedule for the rest of the school year. Parents, students and staff members of the middle and high schools were surveyed, but other factors were also considered.
“While survey results played a part in our decision, we also looked at the fact that we’ve been able to keep schools open to a significant degree through both following our health and safety plan and through utilizing short-term closures of buildings as recommended through the guidance of PDE and the Department of Health,” Rudisill said. “Our hybrid model at the secondary level has allowed us to limit exposures and close contacts that would otherwise lead to more quarantines of staff and students and has us mitigated against greater numbers of short-term and long-term closures.”
Rudisill said that the “continuity for families” was also a consideration.
“COVID-19 has made 2020-21 a challenging year for everyone, both in the district and at home,” he said. “We recognize that as a district. I feel that our staff, students and families that provide us support have risen to this unique challenge. I can honestly say that I’m proud of the work that our district has done for the families and the community and what we continue to do for our students. And I thank the school board for the support this year in everything that we’ve faced, and the challenges that we’ve faced and still face. But I know together that we’ll overcome this, and I look forward to a day when we can say, ‘School is open,’ not just on a hybrid model but on a full-time basis.”
Dr. Stephanie Corbin, district director of special education, said that third-grade gifted students at Conewago Township Elementary School recently interviewed Jeffrey Kindschuh, vice-president of the school board, about 9/11. The interview was for the students’ news report, ANR (America’s News Report.)
The students read a book about the events of that day before composing interview questions to present to Kindschuh.
“The students were very, very proud of the project they completed and gained much insight into why this day is so significant for remembrance and respect to our country,” Corbin said. “And Mr. Kindschuh, once again, we want to thank you again for your willingness to share your remembrance of that day. And we hope that even though the topic was difficult that you had a great experience sharing your first-hand knowledge and working with our students as they learned so much from you.”
Kindschuh said he enjoyed working with the students.
“They were full of good questions and enthusiasm,” he said. “It was a great experience.”
Dr. Christopher Bowman, principal of New Oxford High School, said that students from all four honor societies were involved in an inaugural honor society induction ceremony.
Bowman and other principals said they are working on end-of-year activities for the students.
Christopher Cobb, principal of New Oxford Elementary School, said that the district can look forward to planned playground updates.
“I just wanted to inform the board that we have a playground improvement committee that has been established at NOE, so we’re going to have a three-year plan of improvements that we’re going to make to our playground,” Cobb said. “We’re going to start small and then get big. But that’s all supported by our PTO, so we’re excited about that.”
The board recognized several individuals and groups, including second-grade student Mitchell Groft. Groft earned the first-place award at the state gymnastics championship in March.
High school concert choir students Adam Cavicchio and Alex Michua Brooks were also recognized for being named to the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association All-State Chorus.
The K-12 Music Education Department was also recognized for being named a Best Community for Music Education for the second year in a row.
The next regular board meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 10.
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.