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Mount Ephraim Board of Education Has Applied to State for School Choice Program

By Leigh Anne Hubbs

Gloucester City News

  6a00d8341bf7d953ef011571941ca1970b-pi Superintendent Joe Rafferty said Mount Ephraim has submitted its application for School Choice (Interdistrict Public School Choice Program Act) during last week’s Board of Education meeting.

  This program gives parents the option of sending their children to participating schools outside of their home district.

  Even if a school district does not participate, it still must choose between allowing up to 10 percent per grade level or 15 percent of total population to enroll in School Choice districts.

  School Board members voted to limit the number to 10 percent per grade.

  Rafferty said that if Mt. Ephraim participates, tuition from districts sending their students to this district could be an alternative revenue source, and that he would love to see programs brought back and more specials in the curriculum.

  Residents at the meeting expressed concerns that Mt. Ephraim could lose up to 10 percent per grade level and wondered about the quality of students coming from other districts.

  Rafferty said the Brooklawn School District has been very successful with its participation in School Choice; prior to the 2011-2012 school year only one district per county was permitted to participate in School Choice.

  Board Member James Pacetti said there will be a standard set for who Mt. Ephraim will accept.

  Board President Dominick Cipolone said that if the district does decide to participate, there will be a public meeting on this specific issue to address any other concerns residents may have.

  In other news, parent conferences will be held November 19, 22 and 23.

  During the public forum, a parent asked the Board if anything can be done about students causing property damage on their way home from school, especially al-ong the railroad on Gloucester Avenue.

  Rafferty advised that residents witnessing crimes should call the police.

  Delores Ward has resigned her position from the Board of Education (BOE) for personal reasons.

  She was the Finance Committee chairperson and the district's representative to the Camden County School Board Association.

  Board Member David Mc-Donough said Audubon High School's most recent SAT average scores were: reading, Audubon 486, State 495; math, Audubon 511, State 514; writing, Audubon 476, State 497.

  Mt. Ephraim will not adjust the dates set for Spring Break to match the Audubon School District.

  Rafferty said Audubon changed their Spring Break to the week before Easter in hopes of having their budget pass in the school board election, which is the Tuesday after Easter.

  Some parents fear that because the election is during Mt. Ephraim's Spring Break, the voter turnout will not be as great.

  Board members granted the request of George Gies of Mt. Ephraim Basketball to lower the fee for use of facilities from $2,212 down to $1,500 for the season.

  This will help the league, as it has been affected by the recession.

  Enrollment has dropped by 23 students from October of 2009 until now.

  Currently, there are 472 students enrolled in grades Pre-K through 8.

  Steven Cox has been hired as a one-on-one paraprofessional for a tuition student in Kershaw's PDD (pervasive developmental disorder) program. He will earn $10.30 per hour.

  Amy Phillips and Oscar Capps have been approved as substitute teachers and substitute paraprofessionals at a rate of $80 and $60 per day, respectively.

  The cafeteria is gaining a new substitute lunch aide, as Shannon Bell will earn $7.25 per hour.

  The eighth grade will visit Washington DC May 31 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

  October's Student of the Month winners are as follows; 1st grade Vincent Minyon, 2nd Brady Small, 3rd Chelsea Bocchicchio, 4th John Myers, 5th Kyle Evans, 6th Georgana Stewart, 7th Bill DiLolle and 8th .Jade Carson

 The next BOE meeting will be Monday, December 13, at 7:30 p.m. in Kershaw School's Media Center.