In a 7-1 vote, the Fairfield Area School District (FASD) board voted for Travis Jones to replace departing member Rhonda Myers.
The other candidate for the position, Candace Ferguson Miller, said she has filed paperwork to run for a position on the board later this year.
“The reason I wanted to join the board would be probably because the board needs people who have an open mind, who are able to hear both sides of the stories, argument, and at that point make a decision about whatever it is that we’re talking about,” Jones said. “So, I think I bring that to the table. I also don’t bring any sort of agenda. The only sort of agenda I would have is making decisions that are going to make our district thrive and give our students the best education.”
Board member Lashay Kalathas was unanimously voted as board treasurer replacing Myers in that position.
School Re-opening Goes Smoothly
Superintendent Michael Adamek said that the first day of school since returning to full-time in-person instruction went well.
“It was a very positive day for them to be back,” he said.
Principals also reported success. A student representative said he was happy to have classes back in person, but questioned the high school’s locker policy.
On the hybrid schedule, students took their backpacks with them to each class without using their lockers. Since resuming a normal schedule, students have been instructed to use their lockers instead.
The student representative said that using backpacks rather than lockers helps students to not forget items or have to make trips to their locker. He was also concerned about the lack of social distancing in the hallway as students crowded at the lockers.
Adamek said that security is a concern with backpacks. “Also, kind of a safety issue – I’m not saying any of our students would – but the possibility of what anybody would bring in and keep in a backpack,” Adamek said.
The board discussed watching the situation to find a solution.
Special Education Needs
David Watkins, district special education supervisor, asked the board to consider adding a position to create another special education classroom next school year.
Fairfield is currently finishing the second year of a three-year contract with Lincoln Intermediate Unit for a fair share autism support classroom.
“As I told you in the prior meetings, the consortium schools (that being Bermudian Springs, Upper Adams and ourselves) superintendents, business managers and supervisors from special education have been meeting to look at areas that we feel that we as a consortium might do a very similar job but at a lower price,” Watkins said.
Watkins said the LIU classroom is full, but there are at least five or six more students who need a similar classroom.
“As the consortium met and looked at the numbers, we feel much more prepared this time to look at running our own classroom and, as I said, we feel like we can do it with fidelity and at the end of the day, do it at a much better cost than what we’re currently paying with the fair share,” Watkins said.
With the creation of an additional classroom, the district would have a K-2 and 2-4 classroom. A second-grade student could be placed in the classroom that best met their needs, Watkins said.
In a year, the district could decide whether to continue using the fair share classroom through the LIU or taking over both classrooms.
Watkins said he provided the board with an estimate for the position, but the numbers were not disclosed during the meeting. He said he would send the most recent numbers to the board for consideration.
The next regular board meeting will be at 7 p.m. Monday, April 26.
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.