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News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  • School visitors will need a photo ID

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  • WALLENPAUPACK - When classes resume at Wallenpaupack Tuesday, September 2nd, visitors can expect to find a new level of security: door entry kiosks.
        Assistant Superintendent Dr. Joann Hudak told the School Board August 18th that the North Primary School will be the first to have it operational. They had hoped to have them ready at each of the schools by the opening of school.
       Visitors will find the wall-mounted kiosk in the double-door entry way foyer. A photo I.D. such as a driver's license or military service card will have to be held up to it, for scanning. The receptionist inside will then provide an automatically printed entry pass containing the visitor's picture and name, and purpose of the visit.
       The inner doorway will then open for visitors with permission to come in.
       The system will be able to check the visitor's identify against a database of Megan's Law sexual abuse offenders. If the computer alerts school personnel to a Megan's Law case, a school administrator and school security officer will be requested.
        Hudak said that parents have been concerned that the system will also bring up other past criminal histories such as a DUI conviction. She said this is not the case.
        What the system will provide is a way for the School District to monitor who is eligible to come an pick up a child, in situations such as a court-ordered custody issue.
       There will be available a key-tag for frequent visitors known to the District so that they would not need to scan in their photo each time. The District will also work with families who have no photo identification.  
      School staff, she said, won't have to use the kiosk, as long as they arrive to work before 8 a.m.
       Personnel were being trained on the new system.
       "This is one more method to keep kids safe," Hudak said.
    ••• Less kids
       Like so many other rural school districts, Wallenpaupack keeps shrinking.
       Superintendent Michael Silsby stated that enrollment is down, particularly in the lower grades. Last year their kindergarten class numbered 185; as of mid-August the kindergarten enrollment stood at 168.
       Across the District he said they were presently down 154 students over the 2013-2014 school year. This number is expected to be adjusted by the time classes begin, but he suspected they would still be down by about 100 pupils.
        The real enrollment figure won't be known until about 10 days after classes begin, when they see how many families are here and stay. He noted that less families are moving into the area.
    Page 2 of 3 -     Dr. Hudak later pointed out that in the last six years, Wallenpaupack has dropped by about 1,000 students.
    ••• Coulby Dunn
        John Spall Esq., chairman of the Wallenpaupack Area School Board, asked that Coulby Dunn be remembered when their "moment of silence" is observed at the start of the board meeting. Dunn served  14 years on the School Board; he died on August 9th.
        His chair remained noticeably empty during the board session.
        Spall stated that by law the board has 30 days to name a replacement after the board member's decrease, or the court would make an appointment. He stated that several people have offered their services. The appointed member will have to be on the ballot in the next general election.
        Although Wallenpaupack's board of directors are not broken down by regions, Spall said that they prefer to name someone from the area where Dunn lived, which was the south end of the District (Dunn lived in Greentown). Spall said that candidates will be interviewed.
       
    ••• More masonry
        A wide-scale masonry repair project has become a lot more expensive, Silsby announced.  
        Change orders were presented and approved, totaling $48,630. That brings the entire project cost up to $482,860.
        Kobalt Construction Inc., Swiftwater, was the successful low bidder. Silsby explained that when the engineer examined the District buildings over the winter, some of the areas needing to be addressed were hidden by snow and ice. In addition, the project had called for replacing a section of a wall behind the North Intermediate School, but one weekend the wall collapsed, raising the cost. In other areas, once work began it became evident the conditions required more attention than had been anticipated.
       The project involves work on sidewalks, curbing and caulking between bricks.
       The wheelchair ramp at the Hawley Center  is one of the areas needing more work than originally foreseen. Board member Robert Schwartz asked if the zig-zagged ramp could be replaced with an exterior wheelchair lift. Silsby replied that this was an idea that they can explore.
       
    ••• Lunch prices up
        School lunch prices have increased by 10 cents, Silsby reported. The figure was calculated following new federal guidelines which utilize a formula based on such factors as school population and the number of students eligible for free or reduced lunches. The federal guidelines include a cap of 10 cents on the increase. The price of milk was not affected. Cafeteria prices for 2014-2015 are as follows:
    Elementary lunch $2.50
    Page 3 of 3 - Middle School lunch $2.75
    High School lunch $2.75
    Student breakfast $1.90
    Half pint milk 50 cents
    Adult lunch $4.45.
       Brenda Zeiler, Food Service Director, submitted a written Cafeteria Report showing that in June 2014 they served an average of 1,937 lunches a day, and an 923 breakfasts a day. In June 2013 they averaged 2,096 lunches and 924 breakfasts each school day.
       In June 2014 of the 8,303 breakfasts served, 7,827 were on the free or reduced price program. The total participation in the breakfast program was 28 percent.
    ••• Realty taxes way down
        The Realty Transfer Tax report shows that tax income from real estate sales are down significantly.
        For the 2013-2014 school year, $710,093 in real estate transfer taxes were collected, compared to $798,598 in 2012-2013. Taxes collected have fluctuated up and down since it went below a million dollars five years ago. The total collected in 2007-2008 was $1,051,164; the height since 2004 was in 2005-2006 when $1,536,629 was raised.
    ••• Dates coming up
       Teacher In-Service Days were set for August 27 and August 28. Classes begin Tuesday, September 2.
       The next regular School Board meeting is set for Monday, September 8 at 6 p.m. in the High School Library. A committee meeting, also open to the public, precedes it at 5:30 p.m.

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