Cocalico disaster drill ‘key’ for police

By on November 28, 2012

By: STEVE CZETLI Review Correspondent, Staff Writer

The Cocalico School Board learned that emergency drills pay off.

During the Nov. 19 board meeting, high school principal Chris Irvine reported on a disaster drill held at the school by the East Cocalico Township Police Department and other emergency personnel, which ultimately fine-tuned tactical approaches to protecting students and faculty.

Among the lessons learned was that police did not have keys permitting access once the school was locked down. Police now have keys.

Other aspects of the 90-minute drill involved blocking roads and protecting the school from intruders. Student volunteers simulated victims and the drill rehearsed three different scenarios. Irvine said school personnel benefited, as well as emergency personnel.

In other school board business, the Cocalico School District had its books for the year (ending July 30) reviewed in executive session by auditors Trout, Ebersole and Groff. The district received an "unqualified opinion," which is the highest rating.

Superintendent Dr. Bruce Sensenig and the board as a whole credited business manager Sherri Stull and her staff for their accurate record-keeping. Treasurer John Lorah thanked the auditor for "good advice" throughout the year.

On fiscal matters, Lorah reported that the district had a balance of $23,883,698 and board members approved payment of $913,666, which included $34,259 for charter schools – slightly less than previous payments since the district had launched its own cyber curriculum, according to Stull.

Sensenig reported that the Pennsylvania Department of Education had cut one day for some students from the mandatory 180-day policy regarding school attendance but rejected two other days requested by the district. Students of Adamstown Elementary will not have to make up October 31, but other students will. All students will have to make up October 29 and 31 on Jan. 21 and Feb. 18.

The response irked board member Steve Richardson because the Governor had issued a state of emergency and county officials were urging officials to close the schools. He suggested that Sensenig contact nearby school districts and approach the state again with more clout.

In other matters:

? The board approved AEM Architects for Architectural/Engineering services for District-wide CCTV upgrades and renewed Waste Management for two years.

? Approved farmland leases for one year at the same rate as last year.

? Approved establishment of a new student activity account called, "REVOLUTION," which is aimed at improving school spirit.

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