Concerned parent addresses board
Concerns about students having a line of communication to the outside world were raised at the Catasauqua Area Board of Education meeting March 13.
Michelle Stillo, the mother of a sixth-grader, took the floor to discuss her apprehension with the current school policy regarding cellphones in the classrooms. Students are not permitted to carry their cellphones during school. However, as a family rule, Stillo requires her son to always have his phone with him, though turned off while at school, in case of an emergency.
These conflicting rules landed her son in detention, for which she took full responsibility.
Stillo spoke before the board to open a dialogue about possible adjustments to the school district’s rule. She said she would feel more comfortable, especially in today’s turbulent world, if her son could have an emergency line of communication to the outside world. The board thanked her for her comments.
At the start of the meeting, the board asked for a moment of silence for Sheckler Elementary School teacher Shannon L. Wanko, who died March 12. (See obituary on page A4.)
In other news, the board accepted the resignation of Penny Hahn, former board president, from her elected position as school board director. Hahn served on the board for more than 16 years. Superintendent Robert Spengler had nothing but kind words as he bid farewell to the director. He shared his thanks for all that she had contributed over the years. He focused on her open-mindedness and attributed the collaborative mentality of the current board, in part, to her and the example she set over the years.
“She will be missed,” said Spengler to close his comments about Hahn.
Eric Dauberman, principal at Sheckler Elementary, took time to honor the Students of the Month of February. Natalie Cooper and Carter Gonzalez were the first-grade honorees, with Tye Tomasic and Emery Miller representing second grade. For third grade, it was Emma Schwenk and Joshua Abbott. Nicholas Hernandez, Aubrey Soldridge and Logan Brown represented fourth grade.
Catasauqua Middle School Principal Melissa Inselmann then took to the floor to introduce the Star Players of the Month for February. They are Maya Osorto, fifth grade; Kaitlyn Lawton, sixth grade; Tobias Burgher, seventh grade; and Ashley Ritter, eighth grade.
The board voted to approve the 2018-19 budgets for Lehigh Carbon Community College, Carbon-Lehigh Intermediate Unit and Lehigh Career and Technical Institute. The CASD sponsor share for LCCC will be $174,951, an increase of 3.5 percent. The school district’s share for CLIU is $24,186, a decrease of 2.7 percent. The share for LCTI is $783,594, an increase of 4.3 percent.
The board also voted to approve the intent to retire for several members of the school community. David Burker, fourth-grade teacher, 33 years; Valerie Roberts, third-grade teacher, 16 years; Barbara Kennedy, librarian, 22 years; and high school science teacher Janet Schmitt, 34 years, were all approved to retire at the end of the 2017-18 school year. The board shared a heartfelt thanks for their years of service.
Maria Rosario, a student representative on the board, asked if the administration could plan an assembly regarding gun violence to help raise awareness. David Ascani, high school principal, said he would look into it.
The other student representative, Hannah Machete, mentioned the high school just closed its production of “Singin’ in the Rain.” Ascani added the show was a success.
“It was phenomenal,” remarked board President Carol Cunningham, who saw the musical during the Saturday showing.
Ascani took a moment to praise Catasauqua High School eleventh-grader and LCTI student Dylan Gino for his nomination as a state officer for Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA). Gino, now vice president of DECA, qualified to compete at the International Career Development Conference, which will be held in April at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.
“We’re so proud of him,” said Ascani, referring to all of Gino’s hard work.
Catasauqua Area Board of Education will next meet 7 p.m. April 10 in the district administration office board room, 201 N. 14th St.
There will be committee meetings May 2. The buildings and grounds committee meets 4 p.m., the academics committee meets 5 p.m., and the athletic committee meets 6 p.m.