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Pleasant Valley's 2012-2013 first day of school still bone of contention for some

Published March 09. 2012 05:01PM

A few citizens spoke out in favor of a post-Labor Day school opening at the Pleasant Valley School District's board of directors meeting.

West End Fair Assistant Treasurer Robert Coleman said he was speaking on behalf of the West End Fair. He introduced WEF President Donald Everett, Vice President Tom Hodgdon, Secretary Pat Schneider, and board directors Lester Marsh, Jeffrey Tresslar, Don Schneider and Barry Schaffer.

"We would like the Pleasant Valley School Board to consider the start date for school to be after Labor Day. It's a big holiday for us. A big weekend. A lot of people come in the area for the fair. And if you won't consider the post Labor Day start, why?"

He said that the last week in August, businesses count on that time to capitalize on their finances. He pointed out how it gives students a chance to participate and learn at the fair.

"It's economics, an issue we all understand with this economy. The West End Fair is more important than you realize. We get 170,000-190,000 people. There are 25 local nonprofit organizations that count on this fair," Coleman concluded which met with enthusiastic applause.

Michael Raver of Chestnuthill Township spoke in favor of a Post Labor Day start. He said that what he has seen as just a resident, that between the fair and the tourists that are still here, traffic is very heavy and said the school board should look at the safety issue.

John Sabia, Chestnuthill Township resident and former school board director said, "Being on the school board for 17 years, I think you are doing the right thing by starting school before Labor Day. The kids are ready to go back. Nothing against the West End Fair and the organizations, but the kids need to go back before Labor Day."

Pat Schneider, WEF secretary, gave a response to Mr. Sabia saying she disagreed.

"I was a teacher and students need routine. It's very hard to start the school year with a few half days, then break for a holiday. It would be better to start after the holiday with full days."

She then read a prepared letter that stated that the West End Fair was very concerned when the district will begin the school year. She touched on how the students need to be there to care for their animals; that agriculture is the number one industry in Pennsylvania and that the WEF is an agricultural fair; how school buses add to the increase in traffic during fair week.

Chuck Dickinson of Split Rock Resorts spoke on how the start of school before Labor Day "is a severe impact to the community. August is the busiest month to the resort business. I plead with the board to look at a post Labor Day start."

Carl Wilgus, president and CEO of Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau (PMVB said "I've learned a lot in the last two weeks. I've visited seven school districts and I'm convinced more than ever that the communities, teachers and students would prefer a post Labor Day start/ Please reconsider your previous vote to begin before Labor Day.

Toward the end of the meeting school board director Dominic Sacci thanked everyone for coming out and voicing their opinions on the post Labor Day start.

"I will make a motion at a future meeting to take relook over the board's decision. You have my commitment to bring it up for review," he said and received applause.

PVSD president of the board of directors Tom Murphy said he had two points of clarification to make.

"We already approved the 2012-2013 school calendar and we have full days of the first week of school."

Christian Henriksen-Shea, an 8th grade student at PVMS, spoke to the board about his next year's history class.

"I noticed the history curriculum skips 100 years that would cover the Civil War and the Industrial Revolution. I'm asking you to review the curriculum. I was looking forward to a more in-depth study of the Civil War. Could you revamp the scheduling to include those 100 years?"

Albert Van Houten of Chestnuthill Township addressed the board in regards to whether or not to allow school board director Steve Borger to serve as a volunteer softball coach.

"Sports is very important. Role models are important. It's hard to get good coaches. I think Mr. Borger should be allowed to continue coaching."

PVSD school board president Tom Murphy responded with "We didn't want a board member out there coaching. It is a conflict of interest. I'm just speaking for myself."

Van Houten said, "I hope you're going to take another look at this."

Murphy responded that there was a possibility that it could.

Principal Joshua Krebs of Pleasant Valley Elementary School showed a film strip of "A Community Presentation" which focused on the good things going on at PVE that centers around the participation of the school's staff, students and families. Several of the school's staff was there to show support.

"I wanted to recognize these folks and their efforts and thank the staff I have that helps build this community," said Mr. Krebs.

Adam Parham, the PVHS senior who won the regional Poetry Outloud contest and will compete at the state competition in Harrisburg on March 28, practiced his poems for the school board. He performed "Kubla Khan" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and "Mingus at the Showplace" by William Matthews. Adam is the son of Ann and Reuben Parham.

"That was awesome," said PVSD school board president, Tom Murphy. "Good luck at states."

Carole Geary, gave a mid-year AYP status report:

*K-4th grades-"pretty significant increase. It's a testament to our training we had and going in there every day giving our best."

*PVI-"About where we were last year."

*PVMS-"Performance very strong"

*PVHS-"Either on target or a little above."

Mr. Drake, principal of PVMS, said that three PVMS students will be representing the school at the Russell C. Hughes Spelling Bee in the 9-12 grade division. They are: Olivia Karaman, Kayla Wolf, Jenny Braddock (last year's winner of the 5-8 grade division) and Nathanial Rhoads, as an alternate.

Dr. Douglas Arnold, PVSD superintendent, said that the district received $1,500 from the Xerox Corporation for senior citizens to attend the spring musical, "Oklahoma" show and dinner.

Dr. Arnold acknowledged all those who volunteered for the Big Brother/Big Sister 2012 telethon. He invited anyone to participate in the bowl-a-thon and/or sponsor a bowler on March 31 at Sky Lanes and asked for volunteers to sign up.

He said that the Salvation Army just announced it would be awarding 10 $5,000 scholarships.

The board approved, 6-0, with Susan Kresge, Harvey Frable and Charles Hoffman absent:

*hiring part-time paraprofessional associates, effective Feb. 27 at an annual salary of $20,331, prorated, Samantha Vega and Judy Patterson at Polk Elementary (new positions) and Tracy Valdevit, PVI, a replacement position.

*hiring Celeste Calabria from part-time to full-time paraprofessional associate at PVE, replacing Linda Shivek

*transferring Sonya Reyes, part-time cafeteria worker from Chestnuthill to PVE

*hiring substitute teachers, Travis Andrews, health and physical education; Sheila Bohanon, special education/reading/elementary/homebound; Justin Quinter, English; Julie Harris, elementary/special education; Brett Wandler, social studies

*Mark Versuk for 2011-2012 varsity baseball coach; Jeff Lazowski for 2011-2012 JV baseball coach; Doug Kymer, volunteer Jr. High softball coach.

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