The Central Bucks Board Note
May 2019.....................................Vol. 1, No. 8
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Congratulations Gustavo Rivas!
The board recognized CB East's Gustavo Rivas, who participated in the 125th running of the Penn Relays. Gustavo ran in the Special Olympics 100 meter dash and finished in ninth place. He also was the lone representative from Pennsylvania, competing against some of the top Special Olympics runners from New Jersey, Maryland, and North Carolina. Gustavo is a second year member of the CB East Unified Track and Field team.
Pictured above (L-R) are Superintendent Dr. John J. Kopicki, Gustavo Rivas, and Board President Glenn Schloeffel.
Congratulations SkillsUSA Gold Medal Winners!
The board and Superintendent Dr. John J. Kopicki presented certificates of recognition to the Central Bucks' Middle Bucks Institute of Technology (MBIT) students who were awarded gold medals in the recent 2019 SkillsUSA state competition.
SkillsUSA is the national organization for students in trade, industrial, and technical education. The contests are planned by technical committees comprised of representatives of labor and management, and are designed to test the skills needed for successful entry-level performance in given occupational fields. In addition to competitions focusing on technical skills, students demonstrate their leadership abilities through competitions that concentrate on public speaking, job interviews, business procedures, and professionalism.
Central Bucks MBIT students earned a total of 17 medals: 5 gold, 1 silver, and 11 bronze. In addition, CB South Senior Kathryn Gingolaski, a student in the medical and health professions program, returned as a SkillsUSA State Officer for the 2018-2019 school year. Three of the programs host a competition on the national level. Matt Musick, Skylar Pinto, and William Rossman (whose programs are listed below) will be advancing to the national competition in Louisville, Kentucky in June.
Gold medal winners recognized by the board were:
- Vincent Bova, CB East – Building Construction
- Kalei Casiano, CB South – Cooperative Education Competition
- Matt Musick, CB East - Television Production
- Skylar Pinto, CB West - Television Production
- William Rossman, CB East - Information Technology Service
Pictured above are (L-R) Skylar Pinto, Matt Musick, Vincent Bova, and William Rossman; along with School Board President Glenn Schloeffel (above left) and Superintendent Dr. John J. Kopicki (above right). Kalei Casiano was unable to attend.
Central Bucks' Comprehensive Planning Efforts
Dr. Nadine Garvin, Central Bucks’ assistant superintendent for elementary education, provided a brief overview of the district’s comprehensive plan submission. The board later approved the business, community, and parent representatives that will serve on the district’s comprehensive planning committee.
Mandated by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), the effort is essentially a needs assessment process relative to eight core foundations, as labeled by the Commonwealth: standards, curriculum, instruction, assessments, safe and supportive schools, materials and resources, professional education, and special education.
The process will have the district analyze data and systems in these areas at all grade levels, set goals, and develop sub-goals and action plans to accomplish these goals. The plan is due every three years and also includes the district's special education plan, approved by the board earlier this year.
The current plan extends through June 30, 2020. The plan has two over-arching goals with their own sub goals and action plans including the development of a school/community outreach program and the use of educational technology to support the instructional goals of the district.
The updated plan is due to PDE on November 30, 2019, and will be subjected to a 28-day public review period. The process also necessitates a review committee comprised of board members, administrators, teachers, educational specialists, parents, community members, business and community representatives, and students. A draft of the plan is anticipated to be prepared for the board’s initial review in September.
The review committee and sub-groups will begin reviewing goals in June, with an eye toward ensuring the plan is aligned with the district’s vision.
Technology Purchases will Create Efficiencies, Help Plan for the Future, and Assist Elementary Teaching and Learning
Jason Jaffe, Central Bucks’ director of technology and innovation, presented a technology update that provided details on three purchases that are designed to create efficiencies, support teaching and learning, and help plan for the future. These included a learning management system for elementary teachers, the ClassLink system for automated account management, and consulting services to perform an assessment of the Central Bucks data center infrastructure. These items were included in the district's technology budget and were later approved by the board.
Seesaw Learning Management System
Mr. Jaffe noted that the adoption of a learning management system (LMS) will satisfy an important aspect of the district’s technology vision. While Canvas is utilized at the secondary level, after careful review, it was determined that Seesaw better meets the LMS needs of elementary teachers, students, and families.
Seesaw meets three primary goals; ease of use, family engagement, and the ability to build student portfolios. More than 500 teachers, nearly 100% of elementary teachers, already utilize the free version of Seesaw, its capabilities are limited. Migrating to the paid version of the LMS will provide full interoperability with Infinite Campus (the district’s gradebook and student accounting software), high-level district-wide oversight of classroom and student work, and enable student portfolios to carry over from year to year – presenting a full continuum of a student’s work as they progress through the elementary grades.
A pilot of the software has been well received at both Gaymen and Butler elementary schools. In particular, the introduction of a Central Bucks standards based assessment area within the program, with all progress indicators uploaded, allows alignment of student work with curriculum standards.
A “soft start,” is planned, with the software available for teachers and pilot leaders at each school. The timeline for the full rollout will be determined in collaboration with principals, the office of the assistant superintendent for elementary education, and technology and innovation.
ClassLink is a software that will help manage single sign on and user-managed password resets, and most importantly, enable automated account creation. This will enable the district to make efficient use of its technology staff resources, freeing up the help desk and other members of the department’s staff to perform other duties.
Data Center Infrastructure Assessment
The technology department will engage the services of a consultant to perform an assessment of the department’s data center infrastructure, resulting in a full server assessment report. This report will provide a complete and detailed assessment of these physical assets and assist the department in planning for the future migration of servers to the cloud wherever possible, make decisions about where best to deploy resources to replace physical servers reaching end of life, and identify when a physical server resource is more appropriate than a virtual one.
Board President Glenn Schloeffel thanked Mr. Jaffe and his staff for driving costs down wherever possible and recognizing when it is necessary to seek outside help.
Final 2019-2020 Budget Presented with No Tax Increase
Central Bucks School District's Director of Finance Brian Loftus presented the final budget for the 2019-2020 school year.
The proposed final budget is balanced at $342,248,613; with no tax increase recommended. The budget supports the district's goals and objectives relative to technology, capital planning, staff development, and most importantly, a continued commitment to educational excellence - meeting every Central Bucks student's educational, social, and emotional needs.
After eight months of effort spent in preparation, and collaboration among the board, the board finance committee, and the administration, the final budget was presented in anticipation of board approval during their meeting on June 11, 2019.
On that date, Mr. Loftus explained during this presentation, three resolutions will be presented for the board's consideration – adoption of the final general fund budget, approval of a homestead/farmstead property tax relief resolution, and adoption of the tax levy resolution.
With the state reporting strong gambling revenues, and homestead/farmstead exclusion properties largely steady, there will be a slight increase of about $6 over the 2018-2019 per property, resulting in rebates of $205.63.
With the final budget prepared, local revenues (almost 80% of the district's revenues come from local sources) landed 1.2% over current year's projections, state revenues (about 21% of the district's revenue) are up about 2.1%, and federal revenues (about 1% of the district's total revenues) are up 1.5%. Overall, revenues are up about 1.5%.
On the expenditure side, the primary drivers are salaries and benefits, as well as an investment in the new Math in Focus elementary math resource. However, these expenses are being partially offset by declining principal and interest payments on the district's debt as a result of the $30 million debt defeasance approved by the board.
In addition, the district will be decreasing transfers to the capital projects fund by $1.3 million. With that said, the budget still calls for over $18 million to be transferred to the capital fund, which will adequately fund the district's technology and infrastructure improvement goals.
The district is projecting savings in prescription and healthcare costs through more efficient employee benefits administration, with no change in the level of benefits provided to employees, further offsetting expenditure increases in this area.
While a 2.8% percent tax increase is allowable under the law, the district is proposing a 0% real estate tax increase. Once approved, this will represent the fifth straight year (and the sixth out of the last seven) that the board approved a balanced budget with no property tax increase.
The final budget and its accompanying resolutions will be presented at the June 11 meeting of the board, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the board room at 16 Welden Drive in Doylestown. Follow the budget preparation and download previous presentations on the district's website here.
Listen to the most recent meeting of the Central Bucks School District's Board of School Directors in its entirety.
Central Bucks School District
Meetings are held on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month except for February, July, August, October, November and December. In February, the board will meet on the first and fourth Tuesdays. In July and August, the board meets on the fourth Tuesday only. In October, the board will meet on the third and fifth Tuesdays. In November, the board meets on the second Tuesday only. In December, the board meets on the first Tuesday only. Meetings are held at the Central Bucks Educational Services Center at 16 Welden Drive in Doylestown. All meetings start at 7:30 p.m. and the public is welcome to attend. Members of the public who wish to address the board prior to action items may sign up at the lectern before 7:30 p.m. Comments are limited to three minutes or less, depending on the number of speakers.
Correspondence for the Board of School Directors should be sent to Stephanie Radcliffe, Secretary to the Board, at email@example.com.