Lots happening as we do our best to stay cool

Lots happening as we do our best to stay cool
Posted on 09/09/2018

Greetings and Happy Sunday!

What a difference a few days makes when it comes to temperatures. Fortunately, only two of our eight school buildings do not have air conditioning - Neidig and Quakertown Elementary Schools. The students from both schools had half-day schedules for the first three days of school. Later in the afternoons, after students had been dismissed, classroom temperatures in some areas rose to over 90 degrees. Pfaff Elementary had a major HVAC control system overhaul this summer and had temperature and humidity adjustment issues we had to work through last week, but our awesome maintenance team worked through them. Hopefully, the fall weather is upon us and the floodwaters do not rise too high from the hurricane bearing down on the East Coast.

The School Board has had two meetings this new academic year. Last month, most of the Board's discussions were about the Renovation and Expansion of Neidig Elementary, the selling of Milford MS and Tohickon Valley ES, and updates on other construction projects. The Board voted to allow Neidig students, staff, and faculty to use to use Tohickon Valley ES for the 2019-20 academic year to speed up the construction project by half a year and save approximately $1 million. Additionally, the Board authorized the Administration to sell Tohickon Valley and Milford to Faith Academy of Sellersville for $2 million. Three other maintenance projects that were completed this summer were the 6th Grade Center parking lots, replacing the Trumbauersville ES roof, and renovating the three bathrooms at Richland ES that were not included in the recent renovation project. The Board also received a presentation on student performance results on PSSAs, Keystone Exams, ACTs, SATs and Advanced Placement Exams for last academic year.

As we begin the new academic year, we find ourselves in a much better place financially. We virtually closed the projected $4.7 million structural deficit from the year before. This allowed us greater flexibility to make adjustments and reduce class sizes in two elementary schools before school started last week by adding additional teaching staff. After the 10th day of school we will be looking to see if any further adjustments are needed.

One exciting development in teacher staffing is the addition of a beginning strings program in our elementary schools. During the spring of 2014, the School Board approved a Re-Staffing Plan that included full-day kindergarten, full-time guidance counselors, coding and elementary Spanish. One staff position was set aside to start a strings program, which would have started last year. Due to the the structural deficit, the funds set aside for the position were used to balance the budget. This past June, during Final Budget discussions, the School Board added back a music position which will be used to add a strings music option for elementary students. During elementary Back to School Night meetings this week and next, parents will get a chance to meet the teacher and sign their 4th- and 5th-grade students up for this music option.

We also have two community committees this year which will begin their work this month - the Community School Safety Committee and the Diversity Steering Committee. The Community School Safety Committee will have its first meeting on Thursday, September 20th. The first Diversity Steering Committee meeting will be on Monday, September 24th at 6:30 PM., and will continue the Welcome Workplace work we began last year.

Thank you for reading! Have a wonderful - and cooler - week.

Bill Harner

Superintendent, QCSD

Twitter: @bharner

Email: wharner@qcsd.org

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