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GASD considers supply chain concerns, charter school costs, and pandemic-related learning losses

The Gettysburg Area School District (GASD) hopes to upgrade the HVAC and roof systems at James Gettys Elementary and the Administration Building in the summer of 2023.

But the construction will potentially be delayed by supply chain and other issues.

The district will get two more estimates for the work including those that involve energy-saving construction. The district said the new proposals could potentially save money over the life of the systems, which is normally about 17 years.

Director of Facilities and Safety Coordinator Josh Reynolds said getting the estimates to stay on the timeline would be “very tight to get the contractors on site by March 1,” and that getting equipment on site would likely be a major problem. “If we can’t have the equipment is doesn’t make sense to start the project. There are a lot of moving parts,” he said.

In answer to a question from board member Michelle Smyers, Reynolds said ongoing reconstruction at the high school was on time and under budget.  Reynolds said a portion of the gym and locker rooms would be reoccupied next week.

Reynolds said there had been issues with faulty control valves that had led to uneven temperatures in school rooms during the construction.

Charter School Resolution

The district will consider joining over 400 other state schools in a resolution critical of state funding of charter schools. The full resolution can be seen here.

The resolution says the payment system, which has not been updated since 1997, is unfair because it requires the district to pay more for charter schools than is needed to operate the programs.

The resolution calls on the General Assembly to “meaningfully revise the existing flawed charter school funding systems for regular and special education to ensure that school districts and taxpayers are no longer overpaying these schools or reimbursing for costs the charter schools do not incur.”

“This is not a resolution condemning charter schools,” said board president Ken Hassinger, “It’s more of a resolution looking at financing.”  

The district said people interested in learning more about charter school issues should reach out to board member Al Moyer.

The resolution will be considered for action at the next board meeting.

Learning Losses

In her legislative report, board member AmyBeth Hodges noted concerns expressed at the state level about pandemic-related learning losses.

Hodges said state legislators had determined K-12 learning loss was “clear” and “immense.” Hodges said state legislators called on teachers, administrators, parents and school leaders to work together to solve the problem. 

Hodges said recent data showed student scores had gone down in every subject except biology where there was a small increase.  She said there was some uncertainty about the meaning of the scores but that legislators were hoping to address the gap through funding for training, summer programs, and mental health interventions. The legislators urged the use of Federal Covid funds to confront these issues.

Smyers thanked the maintenance team for its work during the spring musical, noting the team even ran the soundboard for the show.

The next regularly-scheduled board meeting will be March 21 at 7:00 p.m.

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Charles Stangor is Gettysburg Connection's Publisher and Editor in Chief.

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