Southeast Delco School District
Board & Community Update
Southeast Delco Board of School Directors’ Annual Organization Meeting
The Board of School Directors for Southeast Delco School District held their annual organization meeting on Monday, December 7th. Ms. Theresa Harris-Johnson was elected to serve as president and Dr. Sharon Wilson as vice president. Both received the unanimous support of their fellow board members. Though still on the board, Mrs. Dorothy Gallagher chose to not seek a third term as president and the superintendent thanked her for her leadership over the past two years. Dr. Butz also thanked Ms. Lucy Lopez, who resigned from the board due to a change of residency outside of the district, Mr. Robert MacGuire and Mr. Eric Mundy, who completed their terms in office and did not run for re-election, for their many contributions and service to the district.
New board member, Ms. Tammi Forbes, and returning board member, Mr. Donald Young, were welcomed by their colleagues, district administrators, families, and community members.
Other business included the appointment of Robert DiOrio as district solicitor and the approval of the board business and committee of the whole meeting dates for 2016. The board also reaffirmed their adoption of the Pennsylvania School Board Association’s Standards for Effective School Governance and Code of Conduct for Board Members.
2016 Board Business Meeting Schedule
School Board Vacancy
The Southeast Delco School District Board of School Directors is accepting applications to fill a vacancy on the board. Candidates to fill the vacancy must reside in one of the following municipalities served by the district: Collingdale, Darby Township, Folcroft, and Sharon Hill.
Additional eligibility requirements and applications are available at www.sedelco.org or at the Education Services Center. Applications must be submitted no later than December 16, 2015, and can be directed to the attention of Ms. Michele Fetterolf at the Education Services Center, 1560 Delmar Drive, Folcroft, PA 19032.
“Toys for Tots”
Southeast Delco School District has once again partnered with the US Marine Corps Toys for Tots campaign to provide gifts to local families in need. This is the 7th year district social workers, Kay Bethea, Lindsay Hannigan, and Towanda Tilson, have coordinated the effort to collect and distribute donations to the over 400 district families who registered to receive holiday gifts for their children.
Toys will be distributed at Harris School, 501 Sharon Avenue in Collingdale, on Monday, December 21st and Tuesday, December 22nd between the hours of 6:00 and 8:00 PM.
Volunteers are needed. If you would like to be a part of this exciting and rewarding event, please contact Lindsay Hannigan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Act 153 of 2014
Signed by Governor Corbett in November 2014, Act 153 requires all current school employees to provide updated clearances to their employer every five years. This means each employee must provide an updated Pennsylvania State Police Criminal history, Pennsylvania Child Abuse history, and FBI Criminal Background clearance to the school district for which they work throughout their tenure.
Since the beginning of the year, the human resources department has provided guidance and information to help facilitate employee compliance with Act 153. The human resources department arranged for the Delaware County Intermediate Unit (DCIU) to come to the district on multiple occasions to perform finger printing, which is required for the FBI Criminal Background clearance.
The deadline for submitting these clearances is December 31, 2015. The human resources department continues to work with employees who have not provided all of the necessary clearances. The state mandates that any employee not in compliance on January 1, 2016, will not be able to return to the district until all requirements are met.
2016 / 2017 General Fund Budget
Preparation of the 2016 / 2017 general fund budget has begun. The index for the district is 3.5%, which means that the district can raise property taxes 3.5% without seeking exceptions or additional approval from the state.
The preliminary budget information will be available for public inspection by January 7, 2016, and will be discussed at the January 21, 2016 committee of the whole meeting. The state mandated deadline for the board to adopt the preliminary budget is January 27, 2016.
Pennsylvania School Employees’ Retirement System
The Pennsylvania School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) employer contribution rate for fiscal year 2016 / 2017 will be 30.03%, which is a significant increase over the current rate of 25.84%. The rate applies to salary and wages earned from July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2017. This rate was determined by PSERS’ actuary and was certified by the PSERS Board of Trustees at its meeting on December 8, 2015.
Budgeting for Insurance Rate Increases
The school district received a “first look” at health and prescription insurance rates. We are experiencing a 14.19% increase in medical rates and 14.72% increase in prescription rates. These rates will be taken into account when administration drafts the 2016 / 2017 budget. We will receive final rates in early March 2016, which will hopefully be less than these “first look” rates.
District auditors, Barbacane, Thornton & Company, completed the fieldwork portion of the annual audit of the school district on November 6, 2015. Ms. Pam Baker, partner at Barbacane, Thornton & Company will present the 2014 / 2015 audit to the board at the December 17, 2015 business meeting.
School Board Policy
One of the most important responsibilities of a school board is to develop and approve school board policies that govern the manner in which the school district operates. The Southeast Delco School District policies are divided into sections and cataloged numerically. The categories are as follows:
000: Local Board Procedures
Each category has a number of individual policies that relate to the topic. For example, the Pupils category includes policies on Admission of Students (#201), School Uniforms (#221), and Student Wellness (#246) among many others. Whenever a change or an update is needed for a policy a draft is created. This draft is usually created with the help of the Pennsylvania School Board Association, or PSBA. Once the draft is created, the school board reviews the changes and votes to approve the new language. This is commonly referred to as the first reading. At the following month’s board meeting, the draft is voted on again. This is known as the second reading. Once the draft has been approved for the second time, the changes become official and adopted into the Southeast Delco School Board policies.
For a complete listing of policies governing the school district, please visit our website at www.sedelco.org and click on School Board.
Effectively serving all of Southeast Delco School District’s students is a priority for both school and district leadership. To that end, on the January 15, 2016 in-service day at Academy Park High School, a team of professional trainers and practitioners from Akoben will conduct a half-day interactive workshop titled “Developing a Restorative and Strengths-Based Approach.” The objective of this workshop will be to build staff capacity to effectively serve at-risk students by training and coaching in the implementation of restorative practices and asset-building to effectively address their social-emotional needs. Through training and support in a set of specific and relevant best practices, Academy Park staff will be able to support students by being more restorative, trauma informed, and culturally responsive.
This directly aligns with Southeast Delco’s vision to “foster a student-centered learning environment in which students are problem-solvers, informed decision-makers, as well as collaborative and cooperative learners” (Comprehensive District Plan, 2015-2018).
Public Safety Department
A meeting was held with a contractor to discuss the specifics of installing new CCTV system at Harris School and later this year at the remaining schools. Currently, the school only has one camera in the front lobby. There is the possibility that the Harris School project could begin by late winter.
The emphasis of the recently held PA Safe Schools Conference, which was attended by Bill Whitman and Pat Alford, was Cyber-Bullying and the use / prohibition of electronics by students in school. These issues are of constant concern to all Pennsylvania schools. Literature provided at the conference will be reviewed and discussed within the district.
All schools continue to update the on-line SafePlans Portal that contains the emergency response plans for each building. Once completed, the plans will be available on-line to building and district administrators, as well as emergency responders.
Bill Whitman is working with Harry Young to place all district Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) cabinets in readily accessible areas in each of the schools. During a recent in-service day, all nurses and most members of the public safety department received updated CPR / AED training and certification for first responders. This certification is good for two years.
Future Board Meetings
Board Business Meeting Thursday, December 17, 2015 7:00 PM
Committee of the Whole
/ Preliminary Budget Review Thursday, January 21, 2016 6:00 PM
Board Business Meeting Wednesday, January 27, 2016 7:00 PM
Darby Township School Winter Concert – Monday, December 14th – 7 PM – APHS
Academy Park High School Winter Concert and Art Show – Wednesday, December 16th – 7 PM
Sharon Hill School Winter Concert – Monday, December 21st – 6:30 PM – APHS
Winter Break – Thursday, December 24th – Friday, January 1st – No School for Students or Staff
Teacher In-service – District-wide – No School for Students – Friday, January 15th
Martin Luther King Holiday – No School for Students or Staff – Monday, January 18th
End of 2nd Marking Period / 1st Semester – Friday, January 22nd
Early Dismissal – District-wide – Wednesday, February 3rd – APHS - 11 AM / Grades K – 8 - 12:45 PM
APHS Back to School Open House – Wednesday, February 10th – 6 PM
APHS Winter Dance – Thursday, February 11th – 7 PM
Teacher In-service – District-wide – No School for Students – Friday, February 12th
Presidents’ Day Holiday – No School for Students or Staff – Monday, February 15th
Progress Reports Issued – Friday, February 26th
APHS “What’s Your Passion Festival” – Saturday, February 27th
Stephen Butz, Superintendent