A variety of matters from a grant application to school bus safety were addressed during a meeting of the Bradford Area School Board Monday.
The district’s Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Kelly Compton, announced that the district’s Comprehensive Plan will be on display at the administrative office for a 30-day period. The plan will be added to the November agenda for consideration. Certain portions of the plan will be submitted by a November deadline, and those portions include professional development, the induction plan and student services — all of which can be changed at a later date if necessary. The full Comprehensive Plan must be submitted by March 30, 2020.
Compton also announced that the next meeting for the plan development is set for 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 7 in the Large Group Instruction Room at Floyd C. Fretz Middle School. She said that she hopes there will be a lot of people in attendance at that meeting. There will also be more parent-focused meetings set at a later time to gather information from those who can not attend the afternoon meeting.
Superintendent Katy Pude announced that the district has received the results of a risk vulnerability assessment study, completed by the Pennsylvania State Police and the Department of Homeland Security in May of 2018. Based on those results, the District Safety Council has come up with a list of district needs which can be addressed through grant funding. Pude requested the board approve plans to request two grants, available through the Department of Crime and Delinquency. Both grants are based on average daily membership. The district would be eligible for $40,000 through the first grant, a meritorious award, and for up to $450,000 through the second grant, a competitive grant. The board unanimously approved.
“It is nice to have a council of faculty, teachers, members of the school board and aides that make every effort we can to keep the students safe,” said Bradford Area School Board President Shane Oschman.
Pude also announced that both School Street Elementary School and Floyd C. Fretz Middle School will be the recipients of brand new Yamaha P22 series upright pianos, through a grant from a foundation. BAHS Music teacher Andy Dutko submitted the grant application on behalf of the two schools.
During the recognition of visitors, Ashley Ott spoke to the board concerning the bussing system, namely the need for more bus aides to assist drivers in keeping students safe on the way to and from school. Ott has a petition posted to change.org, which had 402 signatures as of Monday evening. The petition requests more aides on busses in the Bradford Area School District, citing lack of supervision as a significant safety risk.
Oschman thanked Ott for her voice and her passion regarding the topic. Both he and Samuel Johnson, the district’s head of personnel, noted that the district has been seeking aides to fill vacancies since the end of the previous school year. A visit to the website shows the position of bus aide has been listed since May 10, 2019.
“This is not a comment we take lightly. Money is not necessarily an issue as much as capacity,” Oschman said. “It is hard to find people in the community who are able to step in and do this.”
Oschman noted that Bradford does have more aides on the busses than other districts in the IU-9. However, there is the matter of finding applicants and also a vetting process that people are required to pass before they can be hired as an aide.
In other business, the board accepted the resignations of BAHS swim coach Chelsea Schwab and part-time bus drivers Jason Bettum and Karie Hirschey. They approved the hiring of Agnes Hardy as a part-time bus driver; Donald Rose, Neal Wesienbaler, and Nathan Kline as school crossing guards and Larry Causer as a part-time special education aide at School Street Elementary School.
Several district employees were also named for consideration for tenure, including Allyson Baker, Nicole Cappello, Andrew Eckstrom, Danielle Fesenmyer, Hali Schloder, Kristie Steffan and Rodney Swank. The approval of tenure for these individuals will be listed on the November agenda.