Columbia may realign schools
Elementary grade configuration may change to handle retirements, overcrowding Columbia may realign schools BY JOHN FRIEL, Correspondent
With three key vacancies to fill, and elementary school modifications under discussion, change is in the making for Columbia Borough School District.
Superintendent Barry Clippinger reported to board members April 18 about efforts to replace three prominent officials, including himself, next year.
Retiring at the end of the school year along with Clippenger are Debra Wallace, principal at Park Elementary, and P. Diane Frey, assistant superintendent and principal at Taylor Elementary.
"We are getting applications,'' Clippinger said.
A public meeting will be held at the high school auditorium at 6:30 p.m. on May 13 to discuss possible reconfiguration of Park and Taylor elementary schools to alleviate overcrowding at Taylor, said Tom Strickler, board president.
The topic drew an audience of concerned parents, teachers and administrators to a meeting in February. During that meeting officials proposed an option of using Taylor for students in kindergarten through grade one and Park for grade two through six. They also discussed an option of using Park for students in kindergarten through grade four and Taylor for grades five and six.
Clippinger gave a preview of the next board meeting, May 16, when state Sen. Mike Brubaker will be in attendance. Grants will be announced and student groups, including the wrestling team, will be recognized for service to school and community.
In another matter, Principal Virginia Babic reported that the Mini-THON event for the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital raised $8,167.83 for cancer research.
Board member Janet Schwert called the 12-hour event "a fun, fun night.'' She said she has already volunteered to help at next year's fundraiser and urged her fellow members to do the same.
Laura Cowburn, assistant to the superintendent for business services, reported on legislative issues affecting public schools. She said health care reform may take up 170,000 pages of regulations ''before it's all implemented.''
Cowburn also said school boards across the state are trying to "redo funding'' of charter and cybercharter schools.
Finally, she said, a proposal to make $100,000 the minimum project cost at which prevailing wage requirements kick in "would save (schools) a whole lot of money.''
Before the business meeting the board recognized -- with certificates, applause and hugs -- 13 students of the month from the high school, middle school and elementary schools.
Strickler thanked the parents in attendance "for allowing us to be part of your children's lives.''
In other business, the board:
n Announced that it met in executive session on March 21 to discuss personnel matters and would do so again after the April 18 meeting.
n Approved rental of a meeting room at district offices to Columbia Borough for a town meeting and to the borough police department for training. In both cases, the board made and passed a motion approving the rentals and then made and passed a separate motion waiving fees.
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