G-ASD in 80th percentile for state performance scores

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot

The reason Greencastle-Antrim Elementary School principal Chad Stover spent a fall day on the roof was finally revealed Thursday evening. The school district was able to discuss the School Performance Profile (SPP) released that morning by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Supt. Greg Hoover presented the numbers to the school board Nov. 6. The elementary school had made an 11 point gain, making Stover follow through on his promise to students last spring if they would do their best on PSSA tests.

The SPP is based on academic assessments; other measures of student achievement such as graduation rate, attendance and promotion rates; and educator effectiveness evaluations.

The performance rating was up for three of the schools, and down slightly for the middle school. The 2013-14 scores, based on 100, were: high school, 89.7; middle school, 84.2; elementary school, 83.1; and primary school, 87.7.

G-AHS was fifth in the 26 schools in the Lincoln Intermediary Unit, with the higher-ranked schools in the York area.

“The scores reflect the hard work of everyone - the administrators, teachers, staff and students,” said Hoover. “Say what you want about testing, but they are here. Our scores weren’t by chance.”

He said the numbers were accumulated from a complex formula. Part of the score indicated how much students had grown in knowledge at all ability levels.

According to PDE, G-AHS led for high schools in Franklin County. The other academic performance scores were: James Buchanan 81.4, Chambersburg 70.2, Waynesboro 69.6, and Fannett-Metal 60.8.

Other business

Board secretary Diane Haugh presented the 2013-14 Senior Citizen Tax Exchange statistics. The school district gave property tax rebates totalling $19,023 to 268 people. The average return was $71. This was possible because primary and elementary school parent volunteers donated 2,623 hours to the program. Only six senior citizens actually came into the schools to volunteer, said Haugh, due in large part to the cost of the required clearances.

The program has been offered for 22 years and the school district valued the donated time at minimum wage. Haugh said new people interested in enrolling could call her at 597-3226, ext. 50503.

Board members Mike Still, Jim Winslow, Linda Farley, Brian Hissong, Eric Holtzman, Ken Haines and Melinda Cordell approved retaining the program for this academic term. Lura Hanks and Tracy Baer were absent.

Hoover reported that PDE had responded to the school board’s letter asking for an extension to PlanCon, since the delay in campus renovations was due to state funding. The department replied that another six months would be granted showing the building plans as active.

The board approved the Franklin County Area Tax Board operating budget for 2015, with a 3.5 percent increase. Business manager Jolinda Wilson said it was a good deal for the district, rather than handling tax collections itself.

Wilson and Farley were appointed representative and alternate to FCATB for next year.

The resignation of Elizabeth Green, and the hiring of Jennifer Ditchcreek were approved for the position of high school long-term substitute emotional support teacher.

The board approved a recommendation to adopt “Payment in Lieu of Taxes”, a program in which organizations in the Greencastle-Antrim community exempt from property taxes would be asked to make a contribution toward the district’s educational programs.

With agenda items combined last week because of a slower business month, the Nov. 20 school board meeting was cancelled.