For the third meeting in a row, Saucon Valley School District parents and residents, led by Jennifer Schmell, descended upon the Feb. 11 board meeting to present their displeasure with the board’s response, or in some people’s opinions, lack thereof, to their request for increased student security and safety, namely by way of obtaining a School Resource Officer (SRO).
Concerned parents and other residents brought their dissatisfaction to the Saucon Valley School Board meeting Jan. 28, building on the impassioned plea led by Jennifer Schmell at the previous meeting earlier that month.
The first Saucon Valley School Board meeting of the new year continued in much the same vein as those held in the last few months of 2019, with yet more discussion related to the district’s much-publicized battle with its student bullying and harassment issues. The Board also voted unanimously twice to approve spending, including two new school buses at over $50,000 per bus, as well as a $3,000 increase in annual salary for Superintendent Dr. Craig Butler.
A special school board meeting was held on Dec. 10 to review and ultimately vote on a new collective bargaining agreement, which will extend from July 2020 through June 2023. The contract passed narrowly by a 5-4 vote, with Edward Andres, Bryan Eichfeld, Michael Karabin and Shawn Welch voting “no.” All members were present.
District principals were at the center of the Oct. 22 board meeting with their annual performance data presentation, compiling year-over-year achievement results from such sources as Pennsylvania’s Future Ready index, PSSA and Keystone exams, PSATs and Advanced Placement (AP) exams.
Each school’s respective principal reported on the overall successes and challenges of their student bodies, by individual subject as well as cumulatively.
The Oct. 8 school board meeting highlighted the board’s commitment to ensuring every student from grades six through 12 has internet available to them at. The Kajeet SmartSpot devices, which act as mobile internet “hotspots,” were approved unanimously for purchase at a cost of $9,221.79 for 30 devices.
Several students, as well as their families, were on hand to be recognized as Advanced Placement Scholars at the latest Saucon Valley School Board meeting. High school Principal Tamara Gary introduced seniors who had, during their junior year, successfully completed Advanced Placement classes, in addition to recognizing graduates who had successfully completed these courses as Seniors.
The Sept. 24 Saucon Valley School Board meeting was a short, congenial one with only a few orders of business inspiring in-depth discussion, with little to no contention among members.
On hand for introduction was newly hired Supervisor of Campus Operations John McCabe, replacing outgoing Supervisor Wally Zimpfer, who is retiring effective immediately. The Supervisor of Campus Operations’ job is to oversee everything physical related to the campus grounds, buildings and buses, McCabe explained in a brief interview.
With the beginning of the 2019-20 school year upon us, Aug. 21’s Saucon Valley School Board meeting was largely a positive one, with board members and administrators alike expressing optimism about the year that lies ahead. Superintendent Dr. Craig Butler stated, “We had a great opening week last week… the first two days of school have been, in my opinion, terrific.” He added that teachers are “good in spirits” and that classroom “...seats are full and all students are present. I think we’re off to a great, great start.”
Administrators and board members strove to come to terms with smoking – specifically vaping – in school buildings for a second public meeting straight Aug. 13.