The WSSD board held its usual meeting tonight, the video is available on Youtube and the agenda is available on the website. Lisa Palmer was not present for her last board meeting as superintendent, but Dr. Marseille and the new middle school principal were both in attendance.
The focus topic was the Wellness and Nutrition Committee’s federally mandated annual report. The committee had a waiver for the previous year due to Covid, but this year completed the triennial report. The committee includes staff from every building, students and parents. The report covers the districts efforts to keep students healthy. This coming year they are looking to improve nutritional education, promote healthier food, promote physical activities like fitness and sports and involve the public. They are planning to start a podcast, though the details were vague. The committee hopes to start separate wellness committees at each individual school and is working to post the committee’s report on the district’s website.
The board approved regular business such as the minutes, personnel items, DCIU policy changes and curriculum. Most of it passed unanimously without comment. David Grande did note that while they approved the school trips for the coming year, they are optimistically hoping they go forward but warn parents to carefully note the refund policies if the trips are cancelled.
In finance the board approved the final 2021-2022 budget as covered previously. Matt Sullivan and Kelly Wachtman commented on the budget’s structural deficit and highlighted that the finance committee held limited meetings this year and was unable to go through the budget in detail. Kelly Wachtman focused on the 70% of the budget that is for staff pay and benefits noting that the district’s salaries and benefits are in line with comparative districts nearby. Matt Sullivan noted that he hopes to go through the budget with the incoming superintendent.
I made a public comment about the school district’s 50th birthday and the proposed zoning changes to allow charter schools in Nether Providence. After me was a called-in comment from Putnam criticizing the district for materials suggesting that transgendered people should be addressed by their chosen pronouns. On a day with a big victory for transgendered people, it was an unfortunate statement that shows there remains much work to be done.
The board thanked a resident for a donation. Jerry Ballas then announced his resignation due to his move outside the district. Details about appointing the replacement in the Swarthmore-Rutledge region will be forthcoming shortly and due to requirements will need to be made at the single July meeting of the school board.