By Alicia Dziak

The proposed budget was the main topic at the SGI school board meeting held on Monday, March 13 at the Colden Elementary School. Present Board members included Beth Casey, Chris Cerrone, Allison Duwe, Tammy Sherwood, Jennifer Sullivan and Tyler Sullivan. Board member Michael Connors and Student Representative Isobel Hooker were not present.

During the Public Expression segment, SGI middle school teacher Joe Karb expressed concerns about the proposed staff reductions, noting that nearly all of the proposed cuts are from SGI Middle School. “Our students have a lot of needs,” he said, and asked that the board look carefully at these cuts and the impacts they will have.

Daniel Neece announced his candidacy for school board in the upcoming May election. “If I have the opportunity to help out, I’d like to help out,” he said.

There was no old business to discuss, and the meeting went into the public presentation on the proposed budget.

Superintendent Kimberly Moritz discussed the budget goals and challenges, attributing the 2.34 percent reduction in the budget for the 2017-18 school year to declining enrollment in the district.

“It is never easy to lay off people, particularly good people,” she said. “But we have to be fiscally responsible.” Moritz further explained that when she came to the district last year, the outgoing middle school principal told her the school did not need the “split team,” which is the team of teachers who currently split their time between teaching the same subject for seventh graders and eighth graders. (Each grade level also has a team of teachers just for that grade level.) Following that, the interim middle school principal told her the same thing, and now the current middle school principal, Shanda DuClon, has confirmed what her predecessors said. Moritz also noted that the split team teachers also just happen to be the least senior members of their department teams.

Other proposed staff reduction is in the area of foreign language, and a school psychologist resigned and will not be replaced.

Moritz reiterated that the overall reduction is directly due to enrollment, but added that, “I do think enrollment will stabilize” and that the district should stay at around 1,600 students, and is not looking at the continued decline it has seen in recent years.

Maureen Lee, SBA, presented a detailed budget overview. Lee, who is new to the district, noted that she “tried to true up the numbers” and that she is confident that they are “conservative but manageable.”

“What we don’t have is a lot of cushion or wiggle room (in the proposed budget),” Moritz said.

Details can be found online at The budget vote will be held on Tuesday, May 16.

In other news, Board President Allison Duwe gave kudos to students in last weekend’s high school musical, Little Shop of Horrors, as well as the four student athletes who recently made it to state-level competition in their respective sports.

Board Vice President Jennifer Sullivan echoed Duwe’s accolades for the musical.

Administrator Reports

Middle School Principal Shanda DuClon congratulated middle school students who participated in all-county over the weekend. The middle school will be kicking off another attendance initiative in April, and will hold a talent show on April 7.

Kate Werner addressed special ed, noting that “annual reviews are off to a successful start so far” and adding that SGI now has house-certified teachers.

SES Principal Chris Scarpine discussed the recent McTeachers Night, a fundraiser held at the Springville McDonald’s. “The kids really loved it and the turnout was wonderful,” he said. Scarpine also congratulated the SES students who attended all-county, and discussed the recent PARP (Parents As Reading Partners) initiative that brought three presenters into the school for various grade levels.

The SES musical, Lewis and Clark, will be held on March 23. “I encourage all to come,” Scarpine said. He also mentioned the upcoming Bald for Bucks and is hoping to get all students K-12 involved.

CES Principal Marcole Feuz discussed a Playworks Education Energizer grant the school recently heard they will be receiving that will feature more than 350 games and help improve school culture. CES has also been participating in PARP the past couple weeks, which was launched with skits being performed by some of the CES teachers. Student Council organized Pennies for Patients, and the CES PTA recently held a staff appreciation lunch, as well as purchased t-shirts and books for all students.

High School Principal James Bialasik discussed the changes at the high school with Joe DeMartino moving there, and former Vice Principal Kate Werner moving to special ed. “Joe has hit the ground running,” he said, adding that the collaboration with Werner is “very healthy.” Bialasik also discussed scheduling and that counselors have reached out to parents to collaborate on students’ schedules. He added that “the musical was phenomenal.”

In technology, the district has signed a contract to redesign the school web site.

Athletic Director Joe DeMartino gave an update on the four athletes who competed at states: Corrin Sacilowski (indoor track), Mikey Evans (wrestling), Nolan West (swimming) and Mariah Gamel (bowling).

The following people were recommended for fall 2018 coaching positions: Robert Valenti (Varsity football), Thomas Szczerbacki (Varsity boys soccer), Martin Niefergold (JV boys soccer), Casey Bucco (modified boys soccer), Eric Holler (Varsity girls soccer), Alicia Dziak (JV girls soccer), Robert Gainey (JV girls volleyball), Stephanie Sullivan (modified girls volleyball), Frank Noeson (Varsity girls tennis), Karen Reynlds (Varsity girls swimming), Jonathan Chaddock (Varsity golf), Chad Russell (Varsity co-ed cross country), Toni Orsini-Weltjen (Varsity and JV cheerleading) and Gerald Czemerynski (athletic trainer).

Current board members Jennifer Sullivan and Chris Cerrone announced they will be running for re-election to the school board in May.

There will be a workshop meeting on Monday, March 27. The next regular meeting of the SGI school board is scheduled for Monday, April 3 at 7 p.m. at the high school library.