KCSD board approves contract for limited outside custodial services
● By Steven Hoffman
After a lengthy discussion at its March 12 meeting, the Kennett School Board approved contracting with an outside agency for some of the overnight custodial services that the Kennett Consolidated School District needs.
The move will allow the district to fill current custodial vacancies that have been difficult to take care of, and will not cause or lead to the termination or replacement of any of the current employees, district officials emphasized.
Mark Tracy, the assistant to the superintendent for business affairs, had outlined a month earlier how the school district has been having a difficult time of hiring a sufficient number of overnight custodians to fully staff all the buildings that need them. Consequently, the district was exploring the possibility of contracting with the Chester County Intermediate Unit to have ServiceMaster provide some of the night-time custodial services. ServiceMaster has more than 7,000 company-owned or franchise locations around the world, and the company currently provides custodial services to the Chester County Intermediate Unit and numerous other school districts in the area.
The school board decided to approve a pilot program that allows for outside custodial services for Greenwood Elementary School for a period from May 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019.
The administration preferred to have the ability to have ServiceMaster to take over the custodial services for an additional school building if the need arose—Tracy noted that the company provides fully trained custodians who use their own cleaning supplies and their own company-established methods to clean the buildings.
Board member Victoria Gehrt, however, was in favor of only approving ServiceMaster to be enlisted for Greenwood Elementary, and if there is a need to expand to an additional building then the issue can be brought to the school board again for approval.
The school board also approved a resolution opposing Pennsylvania Senate Bill 2. The State Senate has a proposal currently in committee that would use taxpayer money to establish education savings accounts that would be used to pay for tuition at private schools or religious schools.
Initially, the legislation would be targeted toward students who live in low-achieving public school districts, but the belief is that if this legislation were to be approved, it would be expanded.
Proponents of tuition vouchers say that it's a way to give parents and children more choice in education, while critics say that tuition vouchers only serve to drain much-needed funds from public schools.
A growing number of school districts in the state have taken a stand against any legislation that would implement tuition vouchers at the expense of funding for public schools.
Superintendent Dr. Barry Tomasetti outlined the summer school programming that will be offered after the current school year ends.
A new STEM camp will be offered for rising 6th graders that will allow them to explore topics like automation and design, and 7th graders will learn about programming and 3-D printing. This program runs from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., and will be held at the Kennett Middle School. The cost of the camp is $150.
A coding camp, which includes an introduction to coding, will be offered to rising 5th, 6th, and 7th graders. Students will learn how to write code using a block coding program. Lessons will be guided at each individual student's pace, and will run from July 16 to 19 from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The cost of the camp is $100.
During the flight and space camp, which is for students in grades 5 to 7, the students will learn about the science behind aeronautics and explore traveling and living in space. Students are then challenged to use their knowledge to design, build, and test an airfoil. The camp will be held from July 16 to 19 from noon to 3 p.m. at a cost of $100.
The middle school remedial summer program is being offered to help students who fail one or two academic subjects during the school year and consists of a mathematics course and a verbal or study skills course. Students are required to pass one of the summer courses in order to be assigned to the next grade for the 2018-2019 school year. The Monday through Thursday program will run four hours each day from July 9 through Aug. 9. The program will be held at the high school. The cost for each course is $300.
The high school summer program will offer make-up courses to students who fail courses required for graduation in the four major content areas (English, science, social studies, and math) and health. The program will run for 20 days with each course meeting for three hours per day, Monday through Thursday, beginning June 25 and ending on July 30. The cost of each course will be $300 for resident students and $450 for non-residents.
Original credit courses will be offered for English, science, math, social studies, and health courses that will be available online at a cost of $600 for resident students and $900 for non-residents. Students who take an original credit course will attend class for six hours a day beginning June 25 and concluding on July 30.
Keystone remediation programs are being offered for algebra, biology, and literature. These programs are offered to any student who participated in a Keystone Assessment, but has yet to attain a score of proficient or advanced. The programs will run for 10 days, with each session lasting three to six hours a day beginning July 16. Students will be expected to retake the assessment from July 30 to Aug. 1. There is no cost for this program.
The district also offers five-week remedial literacy and mathematics programs for elementary and middle school students. These programs run Monday through Thursday from July 9 through Aug. 9.
The school board also approved a series of personnel items, including resignations, retirements, and recommendations for employment at the meeting.
In his superintendent's report, Tomasetti informed the school board that the Demon Robotics team recently finished in fourth place out of 40 teams in an extremely close match. The school board gave its approval to the Kennett High School Robotics team to travel to Lehigh University from April 5 through April 7 to participate in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship if the team qualifies—which, considering its recent successes, seems likely.
The Kennett School Board will meet again at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 9 at the Mary D. Lang Kindergarten Center.