U-CF School Board approves purchases and adopts calendar
● By J. Chambless
The Unionville-Chadds Ford School Board approved several purchases and the 2015-16 school calendar at their Jan. 20 meeting, which was held in the auditorium of Patton Middle School.
Patton principal Tim Hoffman reported on several upcoming events at the school, including a dances, after-school activities, a science research competition and a benefit 5K walk to raise money to build a well in Africa, but pointed out one statistic that he felt showed the changes being made at the school.
In 2012-13, there were 630 letters sent to parents about attendance and discipline issues with students, Hoffman said. In 2013-14, about 650 letters were sent. So far in this school year, 112 letters have been sent. “That's with our advisory program that we put into place, with our focus on relationship building and team building,” he said. “That, to me, says we're doing something right with the environment here. I'd like to thank the teachers and the kids for their efforts.”
District superintendent John Sanville told Hoffman, “There's a real energy around the middle school this year, and my hat's off to all of you.”
Board members Carolyn Daniels and Kathleen Do praised the students and community members who turned out during the MLK Day of Service on Jan. 19. “I'd like to congratulate the organizers who put together the many volunteers in honor of MLK Day throughout all of the schools,” Daniels said. “I'd also like to thank everyone who came out to use their day off as a day on. It was very impressive.”
Do added that, “You folks made a real and lasting difference in the community yesterday.”
Do announced that a survey has been sent to students, parents and teachers asking for opinions on the amount of homework given to students, and whether the workload is too heavy. “I'd urge everyone to take a moment to fill out the survey,” she said. “This board is looking very seriously at the issue of homework, and we'd like to get as much feedback as possible. This is your chance to be heard.”
The board ratified the district's electricity purchasing bid with Constellation, and approved the purchase of a maintenance vehicle for $36,888.35. The liquid fuels bid for the coming year was also ratified unanimously. The joint purchasing fuel bids were for heating oil, gasoline and propane.
In a move that will save the district some $800,000 over the life of the refinanced bonds, the board authorized the district to pursue a bond refinancing through Public Financial Management, Inc., Boenning & Scattergood, Inc., and Dilworth Paxson LLP.
The district calendar was unanimously approved after months of public input on the issue. Daniels said that a large committee made up of teachers, community members and administrators had been consulted. “I can't remember another time when all of these groups got a survey,” she said. “It was an overwhelming response.”
Board member Steve Simonson joked that, “We're about eight hours into the first term of our new Governor, and to the best of my knowledge, we have no major changes in educational policy yet.”
But board president Victor Dupuis cautioned that, “We are concerned about the whole discussion around fair value funding and what it might mean. Ours is a district that is blessed with generous tax revenues, as opposed to generous state support, and there are concerns as we go through this budget process that we may be one of those districts that is targeted as receiving more than our fair share of state funding. That could impact our budget in this and subsequent years, so we are keeping an eye on that.”
The board will next meet on Feb. 9 for a work session in the public meeting room at 740 Unionville Rd., Kennett Square. The public is welcome. Visit www.ucfsd.org for details.