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Mt. Ephraim School Board Prepares for The Worst

By Leigh Anne Hubbs

NEWS Correspondent

On Tuesday, March 16, Governor Chris Christie presented his first proposed state budget.

School aid figures in that budget will, in turn, dictate the 2010-11 school budget for Mount Ephraim.

During last week’s Board of Education (BOE) meeting, Superintendent Joseph Rafferty said the district has been advised to prepare a budget reflective of a 5 percent, 10 percent and 15 percent possible decrease in state aid.

School Board members said there has been a budget freeze in effect at Mary Bray and Kershaw schools since November 1 in order to prevent going further into debt.

Also, the pay rate for substitute classroom teachers has been reduced effective March 8, 2010, from $95 to $80 per day to help cut costs.

District Auditor Robert Stewart, of Inverso and Stewart, will work with the school board sharing strategies for the best way to develop the budget.

Board Administrator Melissa Raywood said that on Monday, March 22, the Board will approve a preliminary budget and on Monday, March 29, there will be a public hearing.

Both meetings are public and will be held at Kershaw Middle School at 7:30 p.m.

On February 24 Raywood and Maintenance Supervisor Chalie Blaylock attended a FEMA information meeting about the storm on December 19 and 20, which was declared a federal disaster.

Monetary aid is available for districts whose snow clean up costs exceeded $1,000.

Mount Ephraim’s costs did not meet the guidelines for December’s storm, but February’s storms may have cost enough for the district to be eligible.

Due to snow days the school calendar has been changed:

Monday, June 14, will be a full day; June 15-18 will be half days; and Friday, June 18, is the last day of school. It is also the Eighth Grade’s graduation date.

The last day for staff will be Monday, June 21.

Board members approved the following field trips:

The kindergarten is scheduled to visit the Philadelphia Zoo June 3 from 8:45 a.m. until 2 p.m.; and the 4th grade will take two walking field trips to the John D. West Center to play games with residents on March 17 and 24.

The following have been approved to be substitute classroom teachers for the remainder of the 2009-2010 school year at a rate of $80 per day: Jo Bradley, Christopher Ritter and, pending a background check, Shazia Haseeb.

February Student of the Month winners were: 1st grade Christopher Kennedy, 2nd grade Roxanne Kravinsky, 3rd grade James Danielwicz, 4th grade Hailey Reed, 5th and 6th grade Maryellen Crain, 7th and 8th grade Brandon Lanchang.

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