Tuesday, June 4, 2013

From:  Keith Yarger
To:  Southern Tioga School Board
Date:  May 29, 2013
RE:  Superintendent Recommendation for School Consolidation

Dear Board,

In light of the funding shortfall and that PDE is now recommending something to the Governor that could ultimately eliminate our reimbursement for capital projects, I would like to formally make my recommendation to you for consolidation.  I would like you to take action on this at tonight’s meeting or on June 3rd.

One goal that the school board made just a few months ago and all agreed to, was to have a school in each community as long as feasibly possible.  I really believe in this goal as well.  By giving back the majority of the borrowed money, I believe that we can still reach this goal. 

My recommendation is to remain status quo for the 2013/14 school year.  During that time, the furloughed professional employees would have the furloughs revoked and the district would run on the same schedules as it did for the 2012/13 school year, with the exception of the added vocational classes.  During this time though, the district should hold another 780 school closure hearing for the North Penn High School.  I would recommend that the school district hold this hearing in the fall so the school can be officially closed before the Winter Holiday to allow for ample preparation on the transition.  This would also allow the administration to concentrate on a direct plan and focus more on academics.  The extra cost for transportation to have the NPHS students attend both Liberty High School and Mansfield High School would be in the range of $218,000, with reimbursement each year after that taking the cost down to $74,120, APPROXIMATELY.

By closing North Penn in the fall, the board will then be able to give out furloughs for the building closure next year to meet all of the laws required for furloughing professional staff.  During the course of the 2013/14 school year, I would recommend the district use some of the bond money, to put a new roof on Blossburg Elementary (which Shane Nickerson said would cost approximately $250,000), put a new floor in the school (which we received a price of approximately $27,000), Secure the school with a secure entrance at the office and playground area, eliminate the two story structure of the high school during the summer of 2014, and make the kitchen of the elementary one that can prepare food for the elementary students before the 2014/15 school year begins. 



Also, during the course of the 2013/14 school year, I would recommend doing the $2.1 million in repairs or less at the Liberty schools.  The total of the repairs to the Blossburg Elementary School, the Liberty Elementary School, and the Liberty High School would be in the range of $2.4 - $2.6 million.  I would then recommend using some of the money to fix the mortar problems at Mansfield High School as well as some asphalt repairs at each of the buildings, bringing the total to be spent to close to $3 million.  I would encourage the district during the 2013/14 school year to poll the students to find colors that would be the same in the two high schools, mascots that would be the same, and change the names of the high schools to “Southern Tioga North, and Southern Tioga South”.  This way, when and if we do consolidate to one high school in the future, the colors and mascots would already be the same and the only thing the district would need to do is take off the end of the name of the school, “North or South”.

Looking long range…..

Mr. Loudenslager’s wife stated at a board meeting after Mr. Loudenslager did an inspection of the Liberty Elementary School and that we really do not need to do anything to the Liberty Elementary School, with some exceptions to the mechanical, as it was in good condition.  With that, if the board would put the minimal amount of the bond into the schools at Liberty, as stated by Mr. Loudenslager, we should be fine in the Liberty area.

Stuart Hopkins, Derek Wheeland, Glenn Shaffer, and Tim Kreger were contacts in the Liberty petition to begin working on a charter school in the Liberty area.  243 students would be lost to the charter school from the preliminary numbers given to the district by people signing the petition that are currently attending the Liberty area.  If this would transpire, we would need to fund the charter school in 3 ways.  We would need to raise taxes paid into the district by the community, we would need to cut programs, and/or we would need to close more schools.  If the charter school would open and we would lose all of those students to the charter school causing a decline in enrollment in the Liberty area, this would leave the Liberty High School sitting almost empty.  At that point, I would recommend closing the Liberty High School and moving those few remaining students up to the Mansfield High School to preserve our programs and cut costs.


With Blossburg Elementary school remaining open, the centralized location would allow for the locker rooms to remain open for all sports and music that are currently using NPHS as the point of consolidated origin such as marching band, football, wrestling, and track.  Although these sports would not be permitted to keep the North Penn High School name due to PIAA guidelines, they would still be stationed at Island Park.  The names of the teams would then need to be either Southern Tioga North or Southern Tioga South.  The Marching Band already holds the name of “Southern Tioga Marching Band”.  The community would be keeping the auditorium as well for community events, and with the demolition of the two story structure of the current high school, the elementary school would have a larger field to play on during recess time while the band would have a nice field to practice on after school.  The cost of this would not raise the transportation costs for after school activities as the buses are currently already running these routes.

Making the schools safe and secure by placing the safety features presented by Quad 3 in the buildings now should be our number one priority, and by putting the approximate $3 million into the schools to make them functional, would allow the district to then set forth a maintenance plan, which the district has never entertained in the past to my knowledge, to keep the buildings current and running well without needing to take out a major construction bond in the near future or for many years to come.  This would allow the district to pay down its existing debt and focus on the future for a centralized site for a true centralized high school once the existing debt is paid.

Proposed Timeline:

May 29, 2013 – Approval of Superintendent’s Recommendations
May 29, 2013 or June 3, 2013 -  Reject the closure of BES
May 29, 2013 or June 3, 2013 – Allow the Administration to go out to Bid on the Repairs to Blossburg Elementary, Mansfield High School, Liberty High School, and Liberty Elementary SchoolAccept bids as they come in at special board meetings for that purpose.
September 3, 2013 – 780 Hearing to Close NPHS
December 4, 2013 – Vote on the closure of NPHS, Vote on the re-opening of LHS program, and LES building.
January 13, 2014 – Vote to rename Southern Tioga North and Southern Tioga South as well as R.S.Ostrom (LES) elementary school. (Entertain a new name for BES)
January 13, 2014 – Vote on redistricting of NPHS students, send out busing assignments
January 13, 2014 – Vote on accepting the furloughs which will go along with the consolidation of NPHS
February 10, 2014 – Student presentation on Colors and Mascot for STN and STS
April 1, 2014 – Have boxes at NPHS for teacher use for transfers

June 23, 2014 – Have a moving company move NPHS teacher belongings
The Board of Education of the Southern Tioga School District has passed a resolution that maintains all six schools as currently operated in the 2012/2013 school year.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

At the direction of the STSD Board of Directors, the STSD Administrative Team is currently examining the following scenarios:

1.  Proceeding with a scaled down version of current Option 7 (full version available here).
2.  Utilization of the current Mansfield High School as a centralized school.
3.  Exploring a complete North and South option to include both primary and secondary schools. 

Each scenario is being examined using the following criteria and being mindful of current and projected fiscal constraints:

1.  What are the potential benefits and disadvantages to the curriculum?
2.  How are all district personnel being effectively utilized?
3.  What are the effects on transportation regarding cost, safety, and efficiency?

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Administrative Team and several faculty members from every school attended a training on the Incident Command System.  This training will aid in allowing the school district to interface with emergency response organizations during any event that may occur.  
The District Reorganization Facilitator has been reviewing and renewing the Memorandums of Understanding regarding Evacuation Locations in coordination with the school district Administrative Team.
The District Reorganization Facilitator has been working with the students of the Southern Tioga School District to present a comprehensive presentation to the Board of Education on the desires of the student population regarding future school Colors and Mascots. 
The District Reorganization Facilitator, in coordination with the Director of Curriculum and Instruction and Technology, is beginning the process of ensuring that the technology needs of all faculty are being adequately addressed for the 2013-2014 school year.  This process includes computers, smart boards, and any other peripheral devices that aid in instruction.
The District Reorganization Facilitator has been meeting with faculty that have been transferred throughout the district to discuss the moving process and address any concerns regarding the physical move.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

UPDATED with corrected link.

The Southern Tioga School District is pleased to publish the Course Catalog for the 2013/14 school year.  The catalog includes some exciting new CTE courses and expansions.

The entire catalog can be viewed at Mapping Your Future 2013-2014.

To view the catalog, you will need to click on the link on the left marked Mapping Your Future 2013-2014 Career Planner.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The following is the staff assignments at the high school level for the 2013/14 Academic Year.

  High School Placements for the 2013/14 Academic Year

Friday, April 12, 2013

High school students and elementary students that will be assigned to new buildings for the next year due to the closure of the Liberty High School program will be notified via mail of their new assignments at the beginning of the week of April 15th, 2013.  Additional elementary reassignments may result from a decision regarding the question of closing Blossburg Elementary School after May 6th.
The District Reorganization Facilitator has been meeting with local law enforcement agencies to review security plans and procedures for the district.  The facilitator will be continuing to update the security plan in coordination with Law Enforcement, Fire Departments, Medical Departments, Tioga County Emergency Services, and other entities as the plan necessitates.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Due to the reorganization of the district, faculty have been reassigned based on the following criteria: Content area certification, current and previous teaching experience, extra-curricular involvement and interest, expressed interest based upon teacher feedback of personal preferences.

A listing of transfers is available on at Board Docs on Southern Tioga School District Website. From there, click April 8th, View Agenda, Professional Employee Transfers.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Southern Tioga School District will be holding open houses at all of our high schools during the months of April and May.   The open house schedule can be found at the link below.  It is asked that anyone wishing to attend the open house confirm their attendance prior so that adequate staffing can be ensured by either calling the school or follow the link in the schedule.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The choices for a mascot and colors for next year were put together from students currently attending Liberty High School and North Penn High School.  They were derived utilizing elements from both schools to honor our heritage, as well as some that were interesting to all of the students on the transitional committee.  The entire Liberty High School and North Penn High School will vote to recommend one of these options to the Southern Tioga Board of Education for approval for next year's combined school.

The choices can be viewed here:  School Colors and Mascots

Please note that the actual school colors recommendation would be by name, and that the presentation colors appear differently on different monitors.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Warren L. Miller is excited to announce a new Twitter Feed.  You can follow activities at WLM by following them at https://twitter.com/WLM_Elem.

The STSD Curriculum and Instruction Department in coordination with the High School Guidance Departments is working diligently on refining every student’s schedule.  The district is pleased to offer some expanded offerings next year to include: Safe Serv certifications, an expanded construction management program, an expanded Ag program to include small engine and diesel repair.

Every school in the Southern Tioga School District will be holding two open houses within the next few months.  These dates and times will be announced via our website and through a letter home with the students.
During the last week of March, the student population of Liberty and North Penn will be voting on new mascots and colors for next year’s combined high school.  The choices for colors and mascots were thought of from students from Liberty and North Penn and then refined after talking with their home schools.  The choices for mascots include: Mountain Lion, Mountain Cat, Puma, Wolves, and Bearcats.  The choices for colors are: purple and black, purple and silver, orange and grey, royal blue and black, and blue and black.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Transition Team has been working with the individual school Guidance Departments to facilitate building the high school student schedules for next year.  This takes into account individual student preferences and will be utilized in building the academic master schedules at the high school level.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Transition Team is currently working on a systematic approach to processing inter-school transfer requests for students.
The District Reorganization Facilitator has been working with building custodial staff to properly account for all custodial and maintenance supplies in their building prior to the move.  This information will be used to ensure that school district maintenance and custodial products are utilized in an efficient and cost effective manner.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Curriculum and Instruction Department is pleased to announce that the entire course catalog will be soon be available on our district website. 
The Transition Team in coordination with the District Technology Department has developed an organized approach to ensure that computer systems that teachers are used to using this year, will be available wherever they are teaching next year.
The Transition Team has completed the collection and organization of Student Activities Account advisors  and has made a "cross walk" document that shows which clubs and activities are equivalent to each other across the district.  This will ensure that any funds a student has raised for a specific activity, will remain with the student as they transition to an equivalent activity next year.  

Friday, March 8, 2013

The District Reorganization Facilitator is continuing to work on getting multiple estimates for the transfer of materials between buildings.  Revision one of outsourced numbers is complete, and the inhouse cost analysis is approximately 50% done.

A complete physical inventory of all classrooms has been completed.  This information will be used to mitigate cost of moving items between buildings where possible and pragmatic to and reduce redundant equipment.  The next inventory task will be for building level items (ie copying machines, vacuums, etc.) and will be completed over the next few weeks.

The first meeting of Student Transitional Committee of the current North Penn and Liberty Schools occurred on Friday, March 3rd.  The meeting was held at the District Office with the District Reorganization Facilitator and covered the topics of; their concerns for next year, mascots, and colors.  A list of potential mascots and colors was compiled and will be voted on by the entire student body and forwarded to the school board for their approval.

The students went on to discuss similarities and differences between the schools and were truly excited for the opportunities that would be afforded to both school populations that are currently not available.  Some items of note were: FFA, FBLA, Culture Club, and an expanded theater program.  Additionally, the opportunity to have more business classes and classes such as digicom were high up on the list of interests.

Another topic that was addressed was what school specific "stuff" should be included at the school and where it should go.  A list was compiled of awards, trophies, and plaques that were important to both student bodies and where they should go. These came from a broad base of athletic, academic, music, memorial, and historical items. Additionally, the topic of coming up with a new Alma Mater was discussed and both schools wanted to make an alma mater that included the other schools alma mater into one unified version.  The Liberty High School weight room was another area of excitement as North Penn currently does not have any weight "clubs".  The idea was brought forth that the names will be brought up from Liberty that are displayed currently, and then both student bodies will continue on together with that tradition.

The meeting ended with the Liberty students asking for a tour of the North Penn High School, which happened on the spot.  The NPHS students were more than happy to take the LHS students over and showed them all of the facility.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

In an effort to ensure that all students transportation needs are met, a letter was sent out confirming Liberty area student bussing information.  

There has been some question as to the best way to return the form to Mrs. Clark.  If all of the information is correct, please mark correct next to your students bus.  

If any of the information is incorrect, including the bus number, address, or emergency contact, please make corrections as necessary.

The form can be either mailed to Ms. Clark on the address listed, or turned into your students homeroom teacher no later than March 15th.

Thank you very much for your help in assisting our planning efforts for next year!
The District Reorganization Facilitator working with the building faculty and staff are in the process of putting together a committee of students that are representative of the student body of the current North Penn and Liberty High Schools.  This committee is to begin identifying student concerns and to provide suggestions and insight as to how to make the transitional process easier and better for our students.
The Transition Team has been working on standardizing the Permanent Student Records across the district to allow for a more uniform appearance and greater ease of flow from one educational facility to another.  
The District Reorganization Facilitator has been researching various methods of transferring materials between buildings.  This research includes both in house and outsourced solutions, and covers all educational, maintenance, and administrative items.  

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Buildings and Ground Committee Meeting is scheduled for 12:00 Noon on Thursday, March 7, 2013, in the North Penn HS Auditorium.
Due to a conflict with band at NPHS, the school board work session will be held at 5:30 PM instead of 6:30 PM.

Friday, February 22, 2013

A special thanks to both Tioga Publishing and Webb Weekly for agreeing to publish columns on the transitional process.  The STSD Transitional Team will be publishing highlighted information in regards to our district's reorganization status.
The Curriculum and Technology Department of the Southern Tioga School District is pleased to announce that the new district website will go live in mid-March.  The new interactive website will have a new streamlined feel and be a useful tool for distributing information to the community.
The STSD Athletic Directors and Administration have organized a proposal for the School Board for realigning the athletic programs to two high schools from three.  This will be presented to the board at their March 4th work session.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Transitional Team is currently gathering data on the fundraising efforts of each of our students.  This is to ensure that during the transitional time period, money that a student has fundraised for will be transferred to the school that the student will be attending for the 2013-2014 academic year.  

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Southern Tioga School District will be sending Bus Ridership Verification Forms to the families of current Liberty students at the end of this week.  If you anticipate getting one of these forms and do not get it by the end of the week, please email mclark@southerntioga.org for a copy of the form.
The Transitional Team is currently working on proposed bus rosters for the next year in the Liberty area based on the premise of not increasing ride time for students to be longer than their current ride times. For this reason, two new bus routes are being proposed; one in the Morris area and one in the Cogan House area.  Other existing routes within the Liberty area have proposed modifications to reduce the number of stops and students assigned.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

 The Transition Team has been working with local busing companies to validate bus routes for the upcoming year at the high school level.  These routes are being designed with the goal of not having students experience significant increase in ride times.

We are researching ideas that would allow parents and students to be able to review their revised bus routes in an efficient and easy to navigate manner.

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Transition Team has been collecting through face to face, virtual, and large group meetings ideas and suggestions for things that will make the transition go smoother for our students and our district.  The Transition Facilitator position began on Tuesday with a meeting of the Superintendent, Architect, Principals, Business Manager, Curriculum Director, and Special Education Supervisor.  On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday the Transition Facilitator has been out in the schools talking to staff members to get any concerns or questions that they may have in the process so that answers to questions from staff members can be made in a timely manner.  Our goal is to involve as many members of our school community in this process as organizationally possible to attain the most positive educational environment for our student population.