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Chester County Press

Assistant principal hired at Patton Middle School

06/14/2016 10:22AM ● By J. Chambless

The Unionville-Chadds Ford School Board.

By John Chambless
Staff Writer

Tim Hoffman, the principal at Patton Middle School, warmly welcomed his new assistant principal at the June 13 meeting of the Unionville-Chadds Ford School Board.

At the beginning of the meeting, Hoffman told the board, “I just could not be more excited to have Devin Layton on board. From the start, she has just been impressive. From her background in education prior to becoming an administrator, to her answers, her honesty and her personality, she is going to be a great match for our kids. She's going to do wonderful things for us.”

Layton, whose husband was in the audience, told the board, “I'm honored to join your team. As I informed Dr. Sanville, there's transparency throughout this entire district, and I really appreciate that. I need you to know that I love students, and I want all kids to be successful. Thank you very much for the opportunity, and I look forward to working with everyone.”

The board unanimously approved Layton's hiring, at a salary of $117,000 per year. She starts her duties on July 18.

At next month's board meeting, the board will be voting to approve the final budget for the district. The much-discussed budget got one final twist on Monday evening, as Robert Cochran, the director of business and operations, offered another choice for the board to consider.

Cochran said that board president Victor Dupuis had asked, “what if we took a little bit out of the fund balance. The proposed final budget is a 2.77 percent weighted average millage increase. What changed was some minor changes to insurance based on final numbers that were received on May 23.”

The last budget option for the board to consider is “an increase in the operating deficit to $72,642, that Mr. Dupuis had asked me to take a look at,” Cochran said. “Which brings us to a weighted average 2.66 overall – in Chester County that's a 2.59 increase, and a 2.93 increase in Delaware County.

“Next Monday, there will be a budget item for approval of the budget figures as they stood in the proposed final budget. That is the 2.77 percent increase. This new information has been provided to the board for your consideration between now and the final adoption next Monday.”

Dupuis explained that, “The only reason I asked for this was that I was troubled by a number over 3 percent for Delaware County. It didn't sit well with me as I stewed on it afterwards. We're not talking about a dramatic difference either way. It's really more of a symbolic statement.”

Board member Michael Rock asked what the difference was between 2.77 percent and 2.66 percent, and Cochran said “It might be hundreds of pennies. It is inconsequential.”
The district's annual budget is $82,487,927.

Next week, the board will vote to approve contracts for paving around the district's schools, at $43,080 for asphalt and $10,200 for seal coating and striping. The Patton Middle School parking lot will be getting new, energy-efficient LED lights, at a cost of $13,348. The district will keep the poles now in place, and install just the new heads using district personnel, saving a large amount of money.

Rick Hostetler, the supervisor of building and grounds, informed the board about the state of the district's on-site gas pumps, which are about 20 years old and approaching the end of their useful lifespan. The administration is suggesting getting a proposed design and bids for replacing the equipment in the near future.

Board member Jeff Hellrung said that an initiative to delay the school day start times for high-school students, and possibly middle school students, is gaining traction. “A year ago, one of our AP psychology classes studied the issue of sleep for high school students and concluded that our schools start too early,” Hellrung said. “Students are chronically sleep deprived. The class came to the school board and asked why we don't start our schools later. The project was handed off to a student forum representing most of the Chester County high schools. Those students made their report last month and it was excellent.”

Hellrung said administrators at the Coatesville, Owen J. Roberts, Phoenixville and Tredyffrin/Easttown school districts are also looking into the issue, which has gained national attention.

District superintendent John Sanville said, “The Wellness Committee has a number of recommendations that are going to come forward to the board. One of the topics to be addressed now is to invest in a delayed start time in earnest. We need to begin that process now – engaging the community, looking at objections and benefits in a very real way. It doesn't require a board vote, but maybe a head nod that we're moving forward.”

The board members all signaled their approval of moving ahead with definite steps toward a delayed school start time.

Sanville also told the board that the results of a long-term survey of “school climate,” or perceptions of the schools in the district, “are just ridiculously good. We got results from six schools – student perceptions, staff perceptions and parent perceptions of the climates in their buildings. There are no negative perceptions in any category in any of our schools. That's not to say that we couldn't do some things better. We'll provide a detailed report in the August-September time frame.”

For current information about the school district, visit www.ucfsd.org.

To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email jchambless@chestercounty.com.

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