BOE hires staff, moves closer to architect selection

By Casey S. Elliott -

MECHANICSBURG – Staffing levels are at 100 percent for the upcoming school year, now that Mechanicsburg Exempted Village Schools’ board approved last-minute hires at its Monday meeting.

The board approved hiring fifth grade teacher Melissa Shanahan on a one-year contract for the 2016-17 school year at the meeting. The board also hired food service employee Jessica Egan, bus aide Devon Dixon and Athletic Director Secretary and Guidance Counselor Tyler Craig on one-year non-teaching contracts for the 2016-17 school year.

Superintendent Danielle Prohaska told the board it may not need to meet in August to approve hires because staffing is currently full for the next school year. She said a special meeting could be called if staffing needs come up at the last minute.

The board also moved closer to selecting an architect for potential projects. The district has been considering capital projects from a sports complex to repaving parking lots, and having an “architect of record” will streamline that process. Board members Scott DeLong and Dr. Scott Wolf were chosen to help rank the seven firms that provided information as part of the district’s architect review committee.

The school board also learned the district will be offering the ACT test for juniors, funded by the state, next school year. Recent legislation stipulated either the ACT or SAT must be offered for juniors, and the state would pay for it. Prohaska said many of the upcoming juniors took the ACT as sophomores to get an idea of areas they need to work on, and could take the ACT again beyond the one time in junior year.

The district will streamline its attendance policy, Prohaska told the board. The current policy allows 12 excused absences for different reasons. The new policy will allow eight before other records, such as a doctor’s note, are required. Some of the reasons for excused absences include family vacations and sickness not severe enough to go to the doctor. Call-ins such as having a parent say they slept in too late and didn’t get their child to school are unexcused absences.

“It’s a fine line. We don’t want people to call in and lie about the reason to get their child excused,” she said.

The district will also be changing from Saturday school to a Friday night school option. Prohaska said administrators felt the Saturday school was “overused” this past school year and want to make it more inconvenient. The Friday school option requires a teacher staying from 2:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday with students. The Friday school option is only for middle and high school students.

The absence policy and Friday school change are in the parent and student handbooks, which were approved for all schools at the district at the meeting.

In other action, the board:

•Accepted a $100 cash donation for the Randy Eastman Scholarship Fund.

•Approved travel and overnight stay in Kansas City, Missouri, Oct. 25-29 for the FFA General Livestock Team to compete in the American Royal Livestock judging contest.

•Approved hiring, for the 2016-17 school year, MS Cross Country Coach Don Cook; Varsity Football Assistant Coaches Shane Cahill and Scott Marsh; Fall Weight Room Advisor Kurt Forrest; 7th Grade Volleyball Coach Jackie Hyden; JV Volleyball Coach Amanda Gaffga (Brown); Fall Site Manager Christie Dodane; 8th Grade Girls Basketball Coach Katy Barry; Soccer Assistant Coach (50 percent) Maggie Harris; and 7th Grade and 8th Grade Cheer Advisor Erin Watton.

•Approved, for the 2016-17 school year, Varsity Football Assistant Coaches Jay Dee Hurst, Aaron Wynn and Chris Conley; JH Football Head Coach Travis Hall; JH Football Assistant Coach Kyle Wilhelm; Soccer Assistant Coach (50 percent) Amanda Wade; NHS Co-Advisor (50 percent) Joni Dingey; 8th grade Volleyball Coach Sara Wright; and JV Girls Basketball Coach Paul Hershberger Sr.

By Casey S. Elliott

Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.

Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.