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Mt. Ephraim Schools’ Contract Negotiations Ongoing

Negotiation meetings for the contracts for Mt. Ephraim’s teachers and administrators are ongoing, said Board of Education member, Carl Ingram, at Monday’s meeting. “Meetings have been taking place with the teachers and a meeting will be set up with the superintendent and the other administrators. Hopefully, everything will be done by September. That’s all I can say. I am optimistic.”

In other matters, school superintendent, Leslie Koller, noted in her report that the auditors were in-district during the last week of July and the audit process took one week.

She also noted that the first and third grades are “exceptionally large” this school year and have been divided into three classrooms.

With regard to instructional programming for specials for the upcoming school years, details were provided in the superintendent’s report:

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Screenshot from page 3 of the Mt. Ephraim Board of Education August 8 meeting agenda

The superintendent gave an update with regard to staffing. Ms. Koller said that the district had four professional positions to fill. Jennifer Immendorf was hired for first grade. Allison Riddle, from the Shining Star program, was hired as the band director. Both were approved in July. Danielle LaBella will be at Kershaw School in the capacity as a Special Education teacher at the seventh and eighth grade level. The World Language position is still open.

There was a question about RTI and Ms. Koller explained that RTI is just a structure for Basic Skills. It is required to be a part of every school’s curriculum and that the district has had it in place for three years. As for the funding, that money must specifically be used for only those students who are in Basic Skills/RTI, she said.

Board member, Mario Alibrando, asked about the students keeping the Chromebooks in school. Mrs. Koller stated that the district is in the third year of its plan. She said that repairs have been “enormous” when the laptops go home and there is less chance for breakage if they say in school.

Ms. Koller said that 67 Chromebooks stayed at school and were used by 122 students. There were two repairs in two years. Of the ones that went home, there were 140 Chromebooks used by 140 students and there were 82 repairs in two years. Next year when the laptops will be replaced, preliminary plans call for the laptops to remain in school and not be sent home.

Carl Ingram asked about increasing the insurance.

Ms. Koller stated that some repairs were covered by the insurance and some weren’t, but that the price on the insurance would be “too enormous.” When the new laptops are purchased, the district will purchase the three year plan, which covers normal wear and tear, but not breakage, such as drops or keys popping off. “Even if the district imposed a usage fee, it’s not a matter of what that fee would cover, the district doesn’t have the manpower to turn the laptops around,” Ms. Koller explained.

Board member Robbin Malinowski expressed a concern about students who would need to complete assignments. Ms. Koller responded that the district would be sensitive to those students who do not have technology at home.

There was also a discussion about shredding the district’s old records. Finance manager, Bill Gerson, said that shredding hasn’t been done since 2009 or 2010. The shredding process involves a company that comes in to determine what should be separated out for shredding and what should be part of the permanent record. The whole process is about $600.

Public Portion

During the public portion, a parent had a question about a Gifted and Talented Progam and if there was a screening process. Ms. Koller responded that she is going to work that out this year. “We have to identify a benchmark for Gifted and Talented and that’s up to the district to determine. We have to create that criteria.”

Board Approves Agenda Items

On the business side, all items on the meeting’s agenda were approved, including:

August 8, 2016 Regular Meeting Public Agenda

  • The August, 2016 bill list in the amount of $372,610.57
  • Various tuition contract agreements with the Audubon BOE for the period of September 1, 2016-June 30, 2017.

The BOE’s next regularly scheduled meeting is Monday, September 12 at 7:30 p.m. in the Mary Bray Media Center.