Charter school funding worries Estep

New bill strips local school board’s control

LEWISTOWN – Proposals for charter school funding on the state level have brought concern to the superintendent of the Mifflin County School District.

During a brief committee-of-the-whole meeting Thursday, James Estep told members of the district board of directors he has concerns about a charter school funding bill that is being, what he termed, “fast tracked” through committees in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

“This bill falls short with what’s wrong with charter school funding,” Estep said. “It doesn’t address the disparity in special education funding versus our district. It strips away the local school board’s ability to have control over the formation of charter schools in districts. It does nothing to address the horrific performance of cyber charter schools who have never, never, made benchmarks.”

Estep said he has reached out to state Reps. Adam Harris and Kerry Benninghoff, urging them not to support the bill as it is written. He said the proposed bill could cost between $1.7 and $1.8 million “coming out of the taxpayers’ pockets even though we offer the equivalent right here in the Mifflin County School District.”

In other business, the board discussed the following agenda items for the voting meeting scheduled April 27:

¯ The hiring of Pamela J. Castro as a new bus driver for ER Rhodes & Son Inc.

¯ Approval of Juliette Bazelaire from Belgium as a foreign exchange student for the 2017-18 year at Mifflin County High School.

¯ The resignation of Amanda Oliver, business teacher at the high school, effective the last day of the current school year, for personal reasons.

¯ The resignation of Maddie Kauffman, business teacher at the junior high school, effective June 16, for personal reasons.

¯ The following professional hires for the 2017-18 academic year: Shain Hosterman, guidance counselor at the junior high school; Samantha Bennett, English teacher at the junior high school; Jennifer Myers, English teacher at the middle school; and Christine Whiteman, chemistry teacher at the high school.

¯ The removal of Zachary Wilson from the custodial substitute list.

¯ The addition of Tracy Bastress to the custodial substitute list.

¯ The hiring of Nathan Gramley and Rodney Wilson as second-shift custodians at Lewistown Intermediate School and Lewistown Elementary School.

¯ A recommendation to approve the following for temporary summer grounds help effective May 1: Craig Matthews, Mark Hesketh, Cody McElwain and Scott Gantz.

¯ The addition of Cindy Cutshall and Michelle Hannon to the cafeteria substitute list.

¯ The resignation of Stephanie Knepp and Michelle Hannon as part-time cafeteria workers.

¯ The hiring of the following for part-time cafeteria positions: Lisa Stroup, Tracey Bastress, and Teresa Johnson.

¯ The hiring of Tamara Sechler as head varsity fall and winter cheerleading coach for the 2017-18 academic year.

¯ A recommendation to dissolve the KTO Grant Data Liaison position at the end of the current academic year.

¯ Recommended approval of a $500 stipend for Jackie Shinskie for supervision of a Belleville Mennonite School teacher who is seeking level II certification. Belleville Mennonite School will pay the stipend.

¯ Recommended approval to increase the new teacher induction mentor stipend from its current $750 to $1,000; and approval to add a $350 stipend for mentors providing support for teachers new to the district going through the mentor program.

¯ The addition of board members Beth Laughlin, Neil Russler and Mary Lou Sigler to the newly created ad hoc technology committee.