A call for Cocalico unity School Board has ‘serious concerns’ of regional police consideration
LUCY RICCOMINI Review Staff
, Staff Writer
The Cocalico School Board appears to be calling for a circling of the wagons when it comes to police protection for its students.
"The topic of police service is an issue of major importance with significant and long-lasting repercussions," said John Lorah, Cocalico School Board treasurer, during the the board’s July 29 meeting. His statement was in response to a collective concern three municipalities have with their contracted police coverage. Denver and Adamstown boroughs and West Cocalico Township are all investigating the possibility of regional police coverage as an alternative to the costs associated with the East Cocalico Police Department, which currently covers the jurisdiction.
"We made it clear that the district was not telling the municipal officials how to run their municipalities," said Lorah. "Instead we wanted to address our concern and consider the safety of our students."
On July 22, superintendent Bruce Sensenig, the board’s vice president Rev. Kevin Eshelman, board member Michael Messner and Lorah, along with other members of the district administrative team, met with officials from the four municipalities to discuss the relationship they have with the East Cocalico Police Department and to express concerns for the safety of the students.
"We very much understand the difficult issues and budget constraints they face. The district faces those same issues on a continual basis," Lorah said. "We also made it clear, just like many other organizations and individuals in this community, that the district is extremely pleased with the service and professionalism provided by the East Cocalico police department and we would have some very serious concerns if the police services were contracted out to a regional police department."
The biggest concern with the board, along with the majority of the residents in Cocalico, is the response time if Northern Lancaster County Regional Police Department covered Cocalico.
"The four municipalities need to get together and put this aside and not look at a regional area that covers Manheim or Warwick," said Messner. "It is time that our municipalities start acting as a group. This is the Cocalico area."
In other School Board business:
Architectural firm AEM Architects Inc. was hired to study the district, its population trends, and improvements and developments that may be needed over the next 10 to 20 years.
"There are no projects being started," Sensenig pointed out. "It’s just a planning tool and something that the board can use for long term in making decisions for the facilities."
AEM found that there were no major issues on the campus, but suggested solutions to concerns with traffic flow, the size of the IT department and service center, and wear and tear on athletic fields.
Cocalico also saw a recent 16.2 percent increase in premiums for sports and activities insurance. Though the district raised the deductible to $1,000 and claims are at an all-time low, individual claims are becoming more costly.
"The claims that are high are ACL and meniscus tears. It’s mostly orthopedic. Football, girls soccer, boys lacrosse and basketball, seemed to be most expensive," explained board secretary Sherri Stull. "The district pays what the students insurance does not pay, but the district is seeing more students with little or no insurance. There’s really not a lot we can do about that," said Stull.
"Even though Sherri was saying high, it’s not any higher than other schools in terms of our incidents," added Sensenig. "We are in line with what other schools are experiencing."
Other topics discussed and approved include:
The treasurer’s report with an ending balance of $5.9 million dollars.
Approval of investments made for the general fund, including $248,131.87 and $245,000 due in September and June of 2014.
Invoices in the amount of $955,671.13.
Capital Project Fund in the amount of $529,403.68. Projects include the Adamstown roof and HVAC system, and a CCTV upgrade.
Disposal of unused and unnecessary property and equipment.
Athletic supplies for the 2013-14 winter sports season.
School-based out-patient mental health assessments and therapy services provided by Community Health Services. The service is free of charge to the school and is handled through the agency and the student’s insurance. It is beneficial because no traveling is involved and students can be seen at the school.
Study Island for elementary schools
Uniform rentals for service employees and maintenance service for chiller units.
Approval of Christine Gehring, assistant high school principal effective Aug. 8.
Supplemental contracts for the 2013-14 school year.
Professional contracts for teachers.
Kelly Martin as an elementary librarian and Elise Wysocki as an elementary teacher.
Child rearing for Julie Zaorski, special education teacher, effective Nov. 6.
Support staff including Gregory Burgess, technology specialist; Dr. Zachary Geidel, school physician and Laurie Fisher, special education paraprofessional.
Sport event workers and volunteer coaches for fall sports programs.
The next school board meeting will be held Aug. 19 at 7:30 p.m. The school board is also slated to hold the regional meeting Oct. 22, though a site has not yet been determined.
It is time that our municipalities start acting as a group. This is the Cocalico area."
Michael Messner School board member
More COCALICO, page A10