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School board talks renovation, SRO’s and more at meeting

A renovation project will have some impact on Warren County School District students and decisions passed down by government could have some impacts on the district.

Work on the Warren County Career Center, scheduled for completion just prior to the 2020-2021 school year, is on schedule, according to Superintendent Amy Stewart. “There are several things going on at the career center right now.”

Some programs will be essentially untouched by the renovation. Others will have to move for the year. Most of those will be held across the parking lot — in or around Warren Area High School.

The culinary program will be hosted by the central administrative office at the former Russell Elementary School.

“No surprises,” Stewart said of the work. “In the construction lane, everything is on track.”

Legislation — SRO

Board member Marcy Morgan gave updates on passed and proposed legislation that could impact the district.

An act regarding school resource officers passed by the general assembly and signed by Gov. Tom Wolf will go into effect in early September.

That act clarifies some rules and responsibilities for school resource officers and school police officers.

Among other things, schools would have to request whether officers could carry firearms in school and have that request approved by a judge.

Board members clarified that the district would still have to approve having armed officers in schools. The law does not mandate that officers be armed nor allow them to choose whether they be armed or not.

Vaccines

A bill introduced in Congress would eliminate states’ rights to allow any exemptions other than medical ones to vaccination of students.

Almost all states currently allow for religious objections to vaccination of all students, and Pennsylvania is one of 15 states that allow philosophical objections.

Snow day options

In Warren County, it sounds good to have an alternative to simply not having school when weather conditions make is unsafe for students to wait at bus stops or make it unsafe for buses to carry students to school.

Stewart spoke about a new state law that allows districts to develop plans to deliver instruction on, for example, snow days.

The Flexible Instructional Day Program is intended to help districts deal with emergencies that would otherwise cancel school, to a maximum of five school days in any school year. Instruction would have to be delivered to students who were not in district buildings.

“Conceptually, it’s not a bad idea,” Stewart said. However, “it seems to be quite a complex endeavor.”

“Special education services for students would still need to happen,” she said. So would health services.

And, instituting a plan would require changing agreements with the district’s bargaining units.

“In terms of labor, that would be a big deal,” she said.

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