Potential 3-hour delay added to schedule, plus other key financial votes coming

Potential 3-hour delay added to schedule, plus other key financial votes coming
Posted on 10/22/2018

Good evening! Hope all is well and that you have your cold weather jackets ready for this week. Things will actually be a bit fall-like or even winter-like in the near future!

I recall that one year as a Pennsylvania superintendent (versus South Carolina), my first snow day call was on October 31 - Halloween. Not knowing what Mother Nature will provide us, I would like to review Quakertown's procedures for inclement weather calls - delayed start time, cancelation of school, or early release from school. Ostensibly, the driving factor is the weather, though I get lots of input from students who follow me on Twitter and post their thoughts about delaying or canceling school!

Primarily, I follow the weather situation through various news media and weather outlets, consult with Warren Levy of Levy School Bus Company and with the superintendents of Palisades and Pennridge School Districts. Warren usually drives the back roads of the school district and talks with various transportation directors in other districts at all points of the compass before providing me with his recommendation. If the situation is a borderline decision, I go out driving myself the evening before and early morning before a decision is made.

The two other Upper Bucks superintendents and I attempt to make the same decision because we share the Upper Bucks County Technical School. The Technical School's start time depends on our collective decision. For me, the lowest common denominator in making a decision depends on whether I believe students - our youngest drivers - can safely navigate the roads to school. Oftentimes, if I could have one more hour of the sun on the roads and/or have the local and county road plowing crews out for another hour clearing/salting/sanding the back roads, we could get a school day in. Therefore, this year we have added a three-hour delay possibility. Schedules for two and three-hour delays will be posted to our schools' and district websites in the coming days.

On Thursday of this week, the Board has three important voting items on their agenda. The first is the annual decision on the high school's Program of Studies. The Program of Studies outlines graduation requirements and all course offerings for students in grades 9-12. There are only a few changes for next year. The majority of the information presented is similar to previous years.

The second decision is to approve the contract for the sale of Milford MS and Tohickon Valley ES to Faith Christian Academy of Sellersville for $2 million (#8. A.). The Board approved entering into contract negotiations a few months ago for the sale of the two properties. Our attorneys have been working since then on an agreeable contract. One of the provisions of the contract is that QCSD has the first right of refusal to purchase back the properties if they are placed on the market at some future time.

The third agenda item that the Board will consider is to approve or not the "Opt Out of Exceptions" for the QCSD Budget for 2019-20 (#8,C.). In recent years, exceptions were valued up to $1 million. Next year's exceptions are valued at approximately $100,000. With the elimination of the structural deficit by closing two school buildings and realigning staff due to declining enrollment, the district is in an excellent financial position. With an early Board decision on "Opting Out of Exceptions", the Administration will formally have the Board's guidance on budget development.

As always, thank you for reading. Please provide us with feedback and thoughts about issues that are important to you.

Bill Harner

Superintendent, QCSD

wharner@qcsd.org

@BillHarner

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