Back to classes School opens Monday with longer days; year-long pay freeze lifted for Ephrata administrators

By on August 22, 2012

By: MICHELLE REIFF Review Staff, Staff Writer

The Ephrata Area School District board met on Aug. 21 prior to welcoming students back for 2012-13 — a year complete with new intermediate school administration and starting/ending times district-wide.

Gangi Cucciuffo, middle school principal since 2009, will now lead both the intermediate and middle schools as principal; while Eric Martin, a former middle school math teacher, will be the new assistant principal on the intermediate level. Russ Garman continues as middle school assistant principal.

"The district staff and administration are excited and ready for the start of the new school year, which is a time for new beginnings, new challenges and goals and renewed energy," said Dr. Gerald Rosati, superintendent. "A student-centered education remains our top priority and helping students achieve success is the reward for this priority. We are looking forward to a wonderful school year."

In order to accommodate the transportation of students and provide increased instructional time at the middle and high school levels, the following adjustments to the arrival and departure times of students in the district will be made: elementary: 8:55 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (10-minute shift from current schedule); intermediate: 8:25 a.m. to 3:20 p.m. (10-minute shift from current schedule); middle: 7:20 a.m. to 2:50 p.m. (13 minutes longer than current schedule); and high: 7:30 a.m. to 2:40 p.m. (15 minutes longer than current schedule).

"Our summer staff members worked very hard to prepare the buildings and grounds for the 2012-13 school year, and we look forward to welcome students to classes on Monday, Aug. 27," said Rosati.

One improvement in the district is taking place at Highland Elementary School. The board approved a bid for playground paving to Flyway Excavating for $182,600. The work began over the summer but was delayed due to ground conditions and weather.

"The timeline for completion of the project is the end of September," said Stephanie Gingrich, director of community relations. "Recess will be held in the grass area until the project is completed."

The board approved updates to the Internet policy at Tuesday’s meeting which, according to Gingrich, are intended to add a higher level of protection for district students and grew out of the state reaction to the recent situation at Penn State.

"The changes are required by the state and primarily deal with providing clearer direction for the administration when dealing with issues related to child pornography and other inappropriate content," she said.

The board also approved increases of 3.70 percent for satisfactory or better work performance to be given to the administrative staff during the 2012-13 school year.

In the 2011-12 school year, the administrative staff took a voluntary wage freeze. The instructional staff continued to receive their wage increase as per their employment contract/agreement.

"We as a board are aware of the resumption of employment contract/agreement administrative staff increases being implemented at many local district in the area," said Timothy Stayer, board president. "There is a competitive market place for school administrative staff."

Stayer said the 2011-12 year saw remarkable improvements in student performance as measured by AYP and other measurements (state and internal).

"EASD has a high performing administrative staff who are leading the district through a very challenging time (regulatory changes, budget limitations and the economic conditions our county is facing)," he said. "Several reports of student performance were made through the school year at board meetings. The board is very appreciative of the administrative staff’s performance and the direction in which the district is heading."

According to Stayer, the upper echelon of administrative staff have individual employment contracts which include an incentive component tied to personal performance goals and district AYP. The Act 93 administrative level works in a similar way.

A new Act 93 agreement was approved at the meeting that includes base wage increases for administrative staff based on overall employee performances. There are no additional incentives.

In other business:

? Agreements were approved with Connections Learning, Pearson, Lancaster-Lebanon IU 13-IDEA Part B, Lancaster-Lebanon IU 13 Private Cloud Services, Royer Pharmacy (for pre-ordered flu shots), Worley and Obetz, UGI – Transportation Service Option, Hess Corporation (for gas supply) and American Red Cross.

? The board approved contracts for department supervisors, content specialists, aides, support staff substitutes, extracurricular coaches/advisors, van/bus drivers and extra duty positions. More EASD, page A6

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