When: Eastern Lancaster County school board meeting, Nov. 16.
What happened: The school board adopted a resolution to reform funding for cyber charter schools. Proposed by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association, this resolution calls for charter schools to revise “unfair” tuition rate calculations, which “create discrepancies in the amount of tuition paid by different districts for the same charter school education.”
Quotable: “School districts are struggling to keep up with growing charter costs and are forced to raise taxes and cut staffing,” the resolution states. “We, along with the Pennsylvania School Boards Association, are advocating for substantial change.”
Remote instruction: Garden Spot high and middle schools recently switched to educating remotely because of a rise in COVID-19 cases across the district. Despite an initial expectation to resume in-person classes Nov. 19, administrators are now expecting a return to in-person classes Dec. 1.
Virtual attendance: The school district has revised its attendance model for remote education, effective immediately. To ensure students are both present and “engaged in the assigned learning activity,” the district will require participation in “chat/polling features,” a “word of the day” embedded in practice questions, or submission of “an artifact” once classwork is complete, according to an outline from the school board. Failure to submit assignments in a timely manner would result in an absence.
Shared services agreement: Last year, the board extended an agreement that allows Eastern Lancaster County School District to share its administrative services with Columbia Borough School District. Under a six-year extension, Columbia receives support from three members of Elanco’s full-time staff: Keith Ramsey, business manager; Donna Prokay, human resources director; and Lotsie Wooten, IT director. The district also receives its own tech support specialist, alongside various network services and equipment. These amenities are provided to Columbia at an annual cost of $315,000.
An addition: The Elanco school board approved Columbia’s request for business office staff to “perform accounts payable and human resource duties,” at an additional cost of $2,500 per month. These services are set to expire June 30, 2021. No other changes were requested at this time.