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School year off to good start for South Williamsport

School administrators told the South Williamsport Area School Board Monday night that the students’ return to schools went well, thanks to ample support from parents and staff.

Kristin Bastian said the district has three new teachers this year in special education programs, who were “doing great” with students returning.

“They jumped in full-force,” Bastian said.

She noted the special education program has some students on-site all five days, if their special needs warrant it.

Scott Hill, assistant principal at Rommelt and Central elementary schools, thanked parents for preparing students for a new way to begin the school year and said he was looking forward to the expanded use of iPads in instruction.

Dwight Woodley, who coordinates technology for the district, said staff were continuing to work through getting the iPads to students who were absent on the days the iPads were initially distributed.

He said the district also is working to resolve obstacles online students are encountering and that other districts in the intermediate unit are seeing similar challenges.

“All of our coaches have done a very good job” implementing changes to schedules and practices, athletic director Rob Houseknecht said. He added that some games will be live-streamed through the district’s Facebook page.

In other news, the board approved the addition of a junior high cross country program. Tracy Knoebel will coach the program and will be paid a stipend of $2,027. The board also approved Chris Schuler as a volunteer junior high softball coach.

The board declined to appoint Tom Lorson as a game worker on a 4-4 vote after board members questioned a past incident in which Lorson allegedly became unprofessionally argumentative with the athletic committee during a committee meeting. Board member Airneezer Page Bingham asked if the board had any documentation on the incident or if any administrator had discussed the incident with Lorson afterwards. Superintendent Mark Stamm said he did not believe so.

Board members Erica Molino, Sue Bowman, Page Bingham and Diane Cramer voted against the appointment. Board members Todd Engel, Paul McGinn, Cathy Bachman and Nathan Miller voted in favor. Nicholas Fiorini was absent.

The board unanimously approved pay rates for five teachers hired at the June 15 meeting. Sandra Finnerty will be paid $64,386 a year, Kelsey Shannon $54,721, Ambreelinne Birth $48,922 and Madelyn Matthews and Jacquelyn Newlan $45,622 a year each. The board also unanimously added 43 teachers to the substitute or guest teacher rosters.

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