By Leigh Anne
There was a larger than average turnout for the Mount Ephraim Board of Education meeting March 9, the eve of Governor Corzine's budget address.
Superintendent Joseph Rafferty and Board Secretary Melissa Raywood presented a general overview of the district's budget, but stated that the exact figures will not be known until after the budget address.
Raywood said Mount Ephraim has been rated an efficient school district, and continues to maximize their dollars spent through sharing services with other communities such as using Bellmawr's Public Works for the development of the Mary Bray playground.
Another example of when a shared service saves the district money is their involvement in School Pool for Excess Liability Limits (SPELLJIF), an excess liability joint insurance program with many New Jersey districts that has caused Mount Ephraim's premiums to drop over the past five years.
The State Police Internet Safety Presentation February 23rd was a great opportunity for residents to learn about the dangers children face while online.
Board Members discussed planning two more programs, relating to Internet safety, one for grades 5 and 6 and the other for grades 7 and 8.
Rafferty suggested involving the Camden County Prosecutor's Office due to their expertise in this matter.
The Annual School Election will be April 21, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., in Kershaw School's Media Center.
Ballot petitions have been received from Michael Gaglianone and Nicholas J. Salamone Jr., as well as from current board members Kathryn E. Cain, Dominick Cipolone and Tina DeVita-Meeser.
Principal Michael Hunter received a thank you note from an employee in administration at the John D. West Senior Housing Center, commenting on how creative the fourth graders of Mary Bray School have been with their various gifts they have made for the residents ranging from napkin holders at Thanksgiving, to nutcrackers at Christmas, to Valentine's Day treats.
Mr. Hunter also said the fourth grade has a game day planned at the center, in which students will spend the morning playing games with residents and then return back to school for afternoon classes.
The fourth grade class will soon be participating in fifth grade orientation to prepare them for their move from Mary Bray to Kershaw School.
Read Across America activities took place at Mary Bray School, and the students really enjoyed the event which included guest readers such as the Cat in the Hat.
Rafferty proudly announced that six Kershaw students out of 54,000 were selected for the third round of the “Letters About Literature” contest.
Three new substitute classroom teacher have been approved by the board for the remainder of the 2008-2009 school year at a rate of $95 per day: Kristy Bruce, William Greener and Monica Mallon.
Mount Ephraim is currently interviewing substitute nurses for the district and has approved Lynn Brophy and Statcy Mead for the remainder of the 2008-2009 school year at a rate of $125 per day.
Jeanne McNamee will be coming to Mary Bray School to collect a sound byte of the students shouting “Time For Bed” for a radio program.
No photographs will be taken of the students, and anyone who does not wish to participate will be excused from the project.
Rafferty reviewed the school attendance as of February 27, showing enrollment for Mary Bray at 279, Kershaw at 191 and Audubon High School at 186 students.
Mary Bray and Kershaw schools both had fire drills on February 9 and 11. Each school shaved at least 15 seconds off of their evacuation time from the 9th to the 11th.
As part of the Battle of the Books program the 5th and 6th grades will be going to the Volz School in Runnemede May 27 from 8:45 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the 7th and 8th grades will be going to the Yellin School in Stratford May 28, also from 8:45 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The board approved field trips for the Kindergarten and Pre-school classes to go to the Philadelphia Zoo June 5 from 8:45 a.m. to 2 p.m., and approved the 7th grade Environmental Field Trip to Haddon Lake May 5 from noon to 2:45 p.m.