By Leigh Anne Hubbs
Gloucester City News
This will be the third year in a row that the Mount Ephraim School District will operate without increasing the tax levy.
Earlier this year Board of Education (BOE) members had voted to move the school election to November, which also allowed for a 2 percent increase without public approval – but the district managed to create a budget with a zero percent increase.
For the 2012-13 school year, BOE Members were able to reinstate several positions and programs cut in the past, such as a full-time art teacher, social worker, custodian and two paraprofessionals.
The part time music/technology teacher has been restored to full time. Also, kindergarten will be full day and Battle of the Books will return.
Board President Dominick Cipolone said during the recent School Board meeting that School Choice is the main reason the district was able to restore these positions and programs.
School Choice allows parents to send their children to districts other than their own, and this results in revenue for the receiving district from tuition paid by the sending district.
During public comment, the spouse of a board member spoke about the recent picketing by teachers in front of school board members’ homes.
She said this act is upsetting their children, is an invasion of privacy, and that it is bullying.
Other parents of board member children commented that their children have asked why teachers are at their home and that they are worried about getting in trouble at school.
A teacher stood up and stated that the picketing was legal, and that she was upset with the legal fees the district has spent on contract negotiations.
The teachers, who are working without a contract, wore red shirts and many cars in the parking lot had a sign in the window which read “Mt. Ephraim Teachers Working Without Contract.”
Mount Ephraim Education Association President and Physical Education Teacher Marin Ware was not present at the meeting.
In other news, Board Members heard a presentation from EIRC (Educational Information Resource Center) regarding their personnel services which would provide a superintendent in the interim while a permanent replacement for Mr. Joseph Rafferty is found.
Business Administrator Melissa Raywood said the Board will meet with the County Superintendent sometime in May to discuss a search for a permanent Superintendent.
Audubon High School senior Kaitlyn Alibrando, who works for Cabana Water Ice, wrote a letter to her former Language Arts teacher Ms. Susan Mosebrook, thanking her for inspiring her love of reading which has carried over into making her an excellent writer.
The owner of Cabana Water Ice Daniel Bradford and Kaitlyn created a contest to encourage students to read more. For the month of March students earned SRC (Scholastic Reading Counts) points for each book that they read.
Fifth grader Alison McHugh was the winner, and not only earned a free weekly water ice for the season but a water ice party for her homeroom 5A.
March Student of the Month Winners are as follows: first grade Brian Thompson, second grade Thomas Garbacz, third grade Cherylin Pizzillo, fourth grade Jordan Smashey, fifth grade Alison McHugh, sixth grade Gregory Veach, seventh grade Alyssa Marszalek, and eighth grade Alyssa Fitzpatrick.