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Superintendent: WASD students must remain within chosen learning platforms

Entering the third week of school, Dr. Timothy S. Bowers, Williamsport Area School District’s superintendent, reported Tuesday that students will have to remain in whichever platform of schooling, either hybrid or fully remote, they have selected going forward in order to maintain stability.

The district has 1,214 students attending remotely, he said.

“We’ve been flexible to allow families in and out of platforms. We are now at the point where we have to keep some stability in our platforms,” Bowers said.

“So we are asking our families to understand that we’re asking that we sit still in these platforms,” he added.

He explained that some families have moved in and out of platforms multiple times and that this makes staffing more difficult.

“In order to keep our faculty solid and making sure that we’re staffing all of these platforms correctly, we have to have some stability in our students now,” he stated.

Bowers noted that plans to balance some of the remote class sizes have been put in place due to the increase of students choosing that platform.

“Some of our remote class sizes were to high, so we’re moving some students around to balance those class sizes. We may be reaching out to families and doing some feature changes and some staffing changes,” he added.

The plan for allowing spectators at sporting events is also being formulated, according to Bowers.

Under the current guidance from the governor, crowd sizes outside can’t exceed 250. This creates a problem in their football stadium, where crowds often exceed that amount.

Bowers said that the plan is for the band and band parents to come in the stadium before the game so that the band can perform with parents watching. This group will then leave the stadium and the football players and their parents will be admitted to the stadium. He said that the number of spectators beyond those people would depend on the size of the other team.

He added that the plan will be available once all the details are worked out. Williamsport still has another week before their first home football game.

In conjunction with this, the board voted to waive all sport ticket prices for the 2020 fall season.

In other business under personnel, the board approved the following appointments and rates of pay:

• Gregory Hayes Jr., full-time executive director of the Williamsport Area School District Education Foundation and Public Relations for the district, $54,842 per year, prorated. In addition to his salary, Hayes will receive a $10,000 stipend each year, contributed by the WASD Education Foundation.

• Tiffany DeRemer, Middle School special education teacher, $54,500 per year.

• Marc Garside, percussion coordinator, $3,200 and Rachael Thomas, middle school assistant cross country coach, $1,280. Payment of stipends for these positions may be modified or withheld in the event that activities do not occur due to the pandemic or other conditions beyond the district’s control.

• Christina Caputo, Mark Lehman, Lexi Holtzman and Brady Sahm, substitute teachers, $120 per day for the first 45 days and $130 per day after that, up to 180 days per year.

• Tymir James, substitute custodian and/or event staff, $9 and/or $10 per hour.

• Amy Wolfhope-Briggs, secondary special education supervisor, $97,375 prorated.

• Bana Sidleck, part-time special education aide, $13.73 per hour.

• Tammy Sewell, part-time food service worker, moved from the high school to the middle school, $12.83 per hour.

• Debora Clarkson, full -time food service worker-cook at Lycoming Valley, $15.42 per hour.

Under transportation, the board approved Dorian Rochester as a CDL driver and Ronda Edwards as an aide/CDL driver.

The board approved a contract with Conrad Siegel Actuaries to complete, file and mail required 2020 IRS employee and employer tasxforms in order to comply with mandated Affordable Care Act regulations. The service also include assistance in the review of tracking employee data, benefit eligibility and employee cost-sharing as well as filing corrections. Cost of this service for the district is $7,900.

An agreement between the district and Michelle K. Long, a qualified American Sign Language and Pidgin Sign English interpreter was approved by the board. Long will be paid as needed at a rate of $40 per hour.

A tuition agreement with New Story School to provide a student with special education requirements, all related services at a rate of $370 per day was approved.

An amendment to the 2020-21 tuition agreement with New Story School to provide a student with special education requirements, all related services for a basic remote learning program, if due to changes in guidance from or restrictions imposed by federal, state or local authorities was approved by the board. If New Story is unable to provide in-person instruction, either in school or at home, the rate will be $270 per day.

Retroactive approval was given for 11 teachers to participate in an instructional technology workgroup for three days last month. The teachers were paid at the summer curriculum rate of $150 per day.

Board members present were: Lori Baer, Jennifer Lake, Jane Penman, Star Poole, Barbara Reeves, Marc Shefsky and Nancy Story Somers. Adam Welteroth and Patrick Dixon were absent.

The next board meeting will be at 6 p.m. Oct. 6.

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