The Titusville Area School Board held its annual reorganization meeting on Monday, with the governing body looking largely the same as it was before the meeting.
The oath of office was administered to five members of the board, all of whom are incumbents. Lynn Cressman, Jeremiah Morrison, Jack Roberts, Carol Shaffer and Jean Spence took their oaths as they each readied themselves for their next four-year terms that they won in the November general election.
The only newcomer to the school board, Keith DeRose, was not present at Monday’s meeting due to being out of town. DeRose claimed the two-year term vacated by Board Secretary Richard Skinner, who chose not to run for reelection.
Instead, Superintendent Stephanie Keebler said DeRose had his oath administered on Nov. 25 by Magisterial District Judge Amy Nicols, of Titusville.
Cressman was also unanimously reelected to another term as the board president. Jack Roberts, similarly, was given another term as vice president by his fellow board members.
There were some changes made, however. With Skinner’s stepping down, Morrison was appointed to take over as board secretary. Morrison’s term will last until June 30, 2021.
Jeffrey Thomas, who joined the school board last month, was unanimously appointed as the Titusville Area School District’s Venango Technology Center liaison for a three-year term until December 2022. The position was previously held by Charlene Eggleston, who resigned from the board on Oct. 14.
Similarly, board member Jim Come was appointed to take over Eggleston’s position as a director on the Venango County Area Vocational-Technical School Authority for a term to last until January 2022.
School board meetings for 2020 will keep to the same scheduled as 2019. Committee meetings will be held on the second Monday of each month from January through November. Regular board meetings where votes are held will take place on the third Monday of each month, from January through November, with three exceptions.
In January and February, the regular meeting will be held on the third Tuesday of the month, due to holidays falling on the standard meeting dates. Specifically, the January meeting would fall on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, while the February meeting would be the same day as Presidents’ Day.
The June regular board meeting will fall on the fourth Monday of the month, but not due to a holiday. The reason is instead relating to the school budget. The board will vote on next year’s budget at the meeting. Due to a requirement that the board have the budget displayed publicly for 30 days before it is voted on, the meeting was pushed back since it would otherwise fall too close to the previous regular meeting.
The next reorganization meeting will fall on Dec. 1, 2020. The meeting must be held in the first week of December each year.
Keebler announced that the TASD received a Rural and Low-Income Schools grant in late November to the tune of $38,914.
The grant will be used to purchase 256 Chromebook laptops for students at the Titusville High School as part of a district initiative to have a laptop for every student at all of the schools. The high school already had enough Chromebooks for roughly half of the high school students, and the new laptops will allow for total coverage.
Once the purchase is made, the district will have enough laptops for all students across every school. The district used Rural and Low-Income School grants from previous years to purchase Chromebooks for students at Titusville Middle School and the three elementary schools.
The new laptops will arrive sometime in late January, at which point Keebler said a pilot program will begin that will allow students to take the Chromebooks home for academic purposes. The program will begin exclusively with the high school students and, if successful, will be spread to the other schools in the district.
Keebler also clarified that the laptops will have filters on them to prevent students from using them for non-academic purposes.
Rural and Low-Income Schools grants are managed by the United States Department of Education.
Titusville resident Jay Corklin, during the public comments section of the meeting, spoke on the potential replacement of the grass at Carter Field with artificial turf that the board is considering. Corklin did not weigh in on the grass or turf debate, but asked the board to ensure that as little changes as possible are made to the field if the board chooses move forward with artificial turf. The proposed project to put in artificial turf at Carter Field, first discussed at the Sept. 9 board meeting, currently calls for the removal of two rows of the stone grandstand seats in order to allow the use of the field for soccer games.
Keebler brought attention to the upcoming retirement of a long-time employee of the district during the meeting. Lisa Bodamer, an educational aide at the Early Childhood Learning Center, will retire on June 5, 2020, after 18 years with the district.
The next meeting of the Titusville Area School District will take place Jan. 13, at 7 p.m., at Titusville High School.
Ray can be reached, by email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.