Donegal School District photo

When: School board meeting, Jan. 9.

What happened: The board approved a plan for the district to directly run the life skills support classes at Donegal Intermediate and Donegal Junior High schools. Currently, Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13 runs these classes. Beginning next year, they will be run by Donegal. In addition, Donegal will request IU13 run the autistic support class at Donegal Primary. This will enable continuity of service providers as IU13 already provides autistic support beyond grade three.

Cost savings: This plan, presented by Dana Blair, director of special education and pupil services, will provide approximately $230,808 net savings. These changes will take effect in the 2020-21 school year. Services will not change; the entity providing some services will change.

Background: Donegal currently hosts five classes run by IU13 in Donegal’s schools. Donegal students, as well as students from other districts, attend these classes. Bringing the life skills classes in house, run and staffed by Donegal employees, offers an opportunity for savings due to the number of Donegal students enrolled while “meeting the best practices of keeping our students in their home school district and offering a continuum of services in a fiscally responsible manner,” said Blair in her presentation to the board. IU13 will continue to run the remaining classes in Donegal school buildings.

Other business: A new senior option has been proposed to replace the current senior exemption program. Qualification criteria include having earned 24 credits in grades nine through 11, having private transportation available and an approved application. An approved senior will be scheduled a late arrival of 9:55 a.m. or early dismissal of 1:20pm each semester. With this extra time, students will be able to take advantage of opportunities such as part-time work, volunteering, internships or dual enrollment courses.

What’s next: More information will be presented with the new course schedule for approval at the next meeting at 7 p.m. Feb. 13.