School Board Notes
K-4 Elementary School Transition Update
Principal Melissa Gorla, the district’s Principal in Charge of Transition Coordination, provided the Board and public with a detailed presentation during the Board's regular meeting on April 25, 2017. The update gave details on the K-4 programming work that is currently ongoing, including currently anticipated class sizes, and planning that is underway to help students, staff, and families transition to their new schools in the fall of 2017.
Principal Gorla will continue to provide monthly reports at Board meetings, in addition to communicating bi-weekly with families and district employees. Visit the district's website at www.methacton.org/transition to review historical information and follow the planning progress.
2017-2018 Proposed Budget Update
Included in the update were modifications in projected revenue from Pennsylvania State basic education and transportation subsidies of $621,694. This projected amount reflects no change in this funding headed into the next fiscal year. On the expenditure side were projected reductions in costs from the approved preliminary budget in January associated with textbook purchases, staffing, healthcare, and tuition; along with increases in transportation services, curriculum resources, and transitioning related to school consolidation. Combining revenue increases with these expenditure changes, the revised budget includes $1.8 million dollars of unallocated expenses inclusive of a proposed real estate tax increase of 2.5%. Discussions will now be focused on these currently unallocated expenses in addressing facility needs, staff contracts, and other important matters.
Dr. Zerbe shared with the Board that decisions on capital borrowing; finalization of staffing; property/casualty insurance; assessment updates; potential contract settlements; and the state budget are outstanding matters that are likely to impact the budget as the district proceeds forward with recommending approval of the proposed final budget, scheduled for the May 23 meeting of the Board.
The Meetings in Review
As a result of a school closure and a review of a decline in course enrollments at the high school, and in order to conform with standards of the organization, the Board approved the administration’s recommendation to eliminate 12 full-time and 3 part-time professional positions, 9 support staff positions, and 1 administrative position during the April 25 meeting. The board approved the creation of several positions in order to meet organizational and instructional needs. These include a K-5 English Language Arts Curriculum and Instructional Support Teacher on Assignment position, a K-12 Career Counselor position, an Elementary Math Support Specialist position, and a full-time gifted support position.
During the April 18 work session meeting of the Board, Dr. Mary Katona, Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, provided the Board with information on textbook recommendations. The proposed resources, which were made available for review by the public at the district's administration building, will be aligned with the PA Common Core. All of the recommended resources were approved by the Board during the April 25 regular meeting.
Also during the work session, the district's transportation management consultants presented an update to the Board on the status of planning transportation services; and Dr. Troy Sosnovik, Methacton's Director of Safety, Child Accounting, and Technology provided an update on the status of the district's school officer program.
Dr. Zerbe and members of his administrative team presented the Board with a detailed review of progress made in the strategic objectives scheduled to be completed during the first year of the Strategic Plan, as well as providing a look ahead at goal work in the coming year.
Dr. Zerbe also presented the Board with a detailed review of the Methacton High School Fields Improvement Project, including an overview of campus improvements, an accounting of costs, as well as lessons learned over the course of the project that can serve to inform administrative planning for future projects.
All other items listed on the April 25 agenda were approved.