School Board Notes
The Meetings in Review
District Superintendent Dr. David Zerbe and Angela Linch, Coordinator of School and Community Information, updated the Board and public on planning for the new school year and the district-wide welcome back meeting for all staff that took place earlier in the week.
Communications for families with important information on back to school, including dates to remember, school lunch information, PowerSchool and transportation reminders, and other updates will be distributed this week.
A video, including clips submitted by district families, was shown to all staff on opening day. The message was an uplifting one, reminding teachers, faculty and staff of the enormous impact they make in the work they do each day as a team.
Dr. Zerbe expressed his thanks for the hard work that district custodians, teachers, technology staff, transportation and food services staff, teachers, support staff, and administrators have completed in order to prepare the district to welcome students back to school on September 5.
Facilities Update - Summer Work 2017
Director of Facilities, Mark Fretz, provided the Board with an overview of summer facilities during the Board's work session meeting.
He noted that work associated with the relocation of staff and students from Audubon Elementary School is now completed; along with landscaping work on campuses, including tree removal and clean-up; and paving, painting, HVAC maintenance, cleaning, and other planned projects that were to be completed for the start of school.
All other items listed on the August 29 meeting agenda were approved.
2017-2018 Transportation Update
Superintendent Dr. David Zerbe updated the Board of School Directors on the status of transportation planning for the 2017-2018 school year.
He noted that work conducted over the past few months have placed the district in a much better position than was the case at this time last year, and recommended that stop locations and routes be presented to the Board for proper approval in September, in order to allow the transportation team to continue making refinements to address challenges that resulted from the building closure and the revision of all routes to accommodate that shift as well as the outstanding transportation concerns that required attention after last year.
At the advice of Bus Boss our routing consultant, the MCIU - the district's management and oversight consultant, and the transportation committee made up of First Student, district administrators and parents, Methacton has purposefully done the following:
- reviewed all district stops and routes consistent with industry standard safety protocols,
- conducted 3 test runs of the routes with First Student drivers,
- communicated stop locations to families in July, followed by with complete routes and times in August to best address potential concerns, and
- re-initiated a transportation call center/help desk to address matters associated with ride time, convenience, safety, split custody and daycare pickups, new student registrations, and special needs.
Transportation personnel are making appropriate adjustments while remaining consistent with industry safety protocols. "While every call is carefully considered, the team has made some changes that may have historically been accepted as the norm." Dr. Zerbe noted.
"Changes were made with input from a team of drivers and our safety team in order to ensure safe and appropriate transportation of our students. This team will likely continue to address outstanding matters into the first few weeks of school," he added.
Contract Negotiations Update
School Board President, Chris Boardman provided a brief summary of the progress of contract negotiations.
Mr. Boardman said, "The start of the school year is just days away and the excitement of a fresh start is in the air. Hopes for a new beginning – in the form of a contract settlement – are also very much in the minds of the Methacton school board negotiating team and the Methacton Education Association (MEA). Both parties held negotiation sessions on August 24 and again for three hours on August 28."
Read Mr. Boardman's remarks, and those made during the Board's August 15 work session meeting here.