Superintendent Shawn Ford thanked the board and community at a meeting Monday night for doing the best they can in a difficult situation when it comes to the in-place mask mandate for schools.
“The board members sitting here are really caught in a difficult set of circumstances,” Ford said. “Because they’re sitting here as community members ... and often times they’re sitting here making decisions that maybe personally they may not like. But I was reading a little bit over the weekend about John Adams and John Adams said when they were crafting the Federal Papers and Constitution that oftentimes I have to make decisions I don’t like because it’s in the best interest of our land going forward. And I would say, sometimes, as a board member you’re making decisions that are not always easy and maybe you don’t agree with but you know what? That’s part of being a board member, because the consequences of us not making these decisions could have long-lasting effects on the district.”
Ford went on to say that he applauds the board and the community for stepping up regarding this divisive topic.
“Well over 90 percent of our students are wearing masks and the other ones have the exemptions. People have been decent, people have been respectful and I think it’s a testament to our community. It doesn’t mean they’re not angry (or) frustrated, but it does mean that Purchase Line is really living out the values that I’ve seen in the district before. I’m appreciative of the community and board having good discussions even though we don’t all agree.”
Going forward, Ford said that his focus be on the educational goals of the district.
“My focus is going to stay right where it needs to be and that’s on educating the children of this district. I’m going to try to stay away from getting into debates with folks. That doesn’t serve a purpose. You hired me to do, and what I do well, I believe, is education.”
Also discussed was an upcoming parent night at the elementary school on Thursday, Sept. 23. Elementary principal Travis Monroe said that, in order to keep the crowd numbers down, each child is asked to only bring two guests. There also will be scheduled times based on last names to help keep it from getting too crowded. Those with names A-L will be from 6 to 6:50 p.m. and names M-Z will begin at 7 p.m.
“We’ll have our STEAM room set up for everyone to go through,” Monroe said. “It’ll be more of a walk-through, to pay attention to congestion and keep people moving.”
In other news the board:
- Approved professional development leave for Danyelle Norris in the second semester of the 2021-22 and first semester of the 2022-23 school years.
- Accepted the retirement of custodian, Rick Keith, effective Sept. 30.
- Accepted the resignation of instructional aide Francine Brilhart, effective Aug. 18.
- Approved the addition of substitute instructional aide, Amber Warren.
- Added Amanda Foster as a cheerleading volunteer for 2021-22.
- Approved authorization for the superintendent to pursue and utilize temporary assistance for contact tracing, if needed, with subsequent board approval.
- Approved a curriculum and federal programs services agreement with Riverview Intermediate Unit 6 at a rate of $70 per hour for Sept. 14, 2021, through Sept. 14, 2022.
- Approved participation in the 2021 Pennsylvania Youth Survey (PAYS) for grades 6, 8, 10, and 12.
- Approved bus and van stops for 2021-22, as well as the addition of Anthony Burba, Kaci Dickey, Cassandra Long and Ashley Neiswonger as Tri County drivers.
- Approved a building request for the use of classrooms at the elementary or high school building for the ARIN Intermediate Unit, hosting extended school year program during summer of 2022, with tentative dates of July 5 through Aug. 4, 2022, three days per week, with a waiver of building fees requested. The program is to be conducted in accordance with current Pennsylvania Department of Education and Department of Health guidelines as well as the Purchase Line School District’s ARP ESSER Health and Safety Plan.
- Approved a building request for the Purchase Line Band Boosters to use the first-floor halls, cafeteria and band room to host a craft show from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 20 from with a waiver of building fees requested. The boosters will be responsible for hiring security and the craft show is to be conducted in accordance with current Pennsylvania Department of Education and Department of Health guidelines as well as Purchase Line School District’s ARP ESSER Health and Safety Plan.
- Approved a staff request for $500 from district funds for Danielle Rishell to attend annual registration and Monthly PIIC meetings for the ARIN Intermediate Unit.
- Approved a retroactive staff request for $876.08 of district funds for Beth Farabaugh, Jodie Kauffman and Dan Small for conducting kindergarten orientation on Aug. 11 and 16.