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SFASD to Look at Dress Code, Facilities Policies

The school board is recommending some evaluations and possible changes to dress code and use-of-facilities policies in the near future.

The Spring-Ford Area School District board of education met for a regular meeting on Monday night and discussed two potential changes in policy within the district.

One of those policies had to do with student dress code, which, according to board member Julie Mullin, was a hot topic that "many are afraid to bring to the table."

"I think any parent who has chaperoned a trip lately has been approached about it," Mullin said. "I have had support staff from custodians to cafeteria workers approach me about it. Now that Joe [Ciresi] opened the door, you might be surprised at how many people are willing to discuss."

Despite overall enthusiasm for the review, board member Bernard Pettit and vice president Tom DiBello were cautious. DiBello encouraged a review of the current policy before moving forward with any changes, but saw no harm in an ad-hoc committee being created for discussions. Pettit, on the other hand, wanted the administration to head it up.

"I suggest respectfully that this is something the administration should be driving rather than the board," said Pettit. "I feel that if Dr. [David] Goodin and the team can give us feedback on what they feel... They’re here every day with the kids and have a much better idea with the dress code. The administration would be much better served to present it to the board."

Goodin saw the opportunity as one to get everyone involved.

"Whenever you look at student dress issues, this is just a hot topic waiting to explode," Goodin said. "The more folks you can bring to the table and the more opinions you can get from the stakeholders, the better you’re going to get it across the board. If I was given the task, I would want to bring on as many people as I can, including students, parents, administrators, teachers, faculty to draw together, because it is one of those potential hot issues. We would want to vent it out very well."

Goodin's wish was granted and Ciresi granted him the task of pulling together a meeting of the minds and coming back in September with a game plan. Board members that are slated to participate in the committee are David Shafer, DiBello and Mullin.

Another policy item in the works of a discussion is the use of school facilities. Lately, there have been talks about the growing amounts of dog litter on school grounds, as well as the use of school tracks by local walking/running groups during school hours.

According to the board, the current policy clearly states that the school grounds are to be unoccupied by members of the community while school is in session. However, DiBello proposed a change to that, saying he would like to see a "screening process" where potential walkers or tennis players can get a badge and permission to use the grounds during school hours.

The policy committee has been asked to discuss this and come back with more information.

"I want to make it clear, because I know how rumors fly around here," Ciresi said. "There has been nothing said at this table, if I'm not mistaken, that our buildings are not usable or not open to the public. We're looking for more ways to make it safe for people to be on our grounds. When there's not an activity, like it's always been, the grounds can be used like they've always been. We are not changing that."

Goodin also gave his superintendent's report, which indicated a few new goals he wants to employ in his daily dealings, including the .

There will now be a "liaison meeting" between the administration and teaching staff to build bridges via a "suggestion box" situation. That goes in addition to Goodin meeting with the association president on a regular basis.

Another new program is Goodin's participation in student council and drawing together leadership from all student councils once per quarter to meet with him and members of the board.

"We want to bring our students and teachers into the equation to try to get that input from various stakeholders," said Goodin.

Goodin is also meeting with the support staff representatives, including custodians, classroom aids, cafeteria workers and clerical staff to talk about issues occurring in their areas.

"We want to bring as many people as we possibly can to the table and look at what can drive this district," Goodin said. "Those are just a couple of things we're going to be focusing on in the beginning of the school year to get it up and running as we go forward."

The board wanted to make the public aware of two information items in this week's agenda, including the IRS's mileage rate increasing from 51-cents per mile to 55-cents per mile, as well as the retirement of Spring City Borough tax collector Shirley W. Shaffer, which is effective Dec. 31, 2011.

"Ms. Shaffer has collected the real estate and per capita taxes for the school district for the past 22 years," the agenda said. "In her letter of resignation, Ms. Shaffer indicated that she will be available to help transition the next appointed tax collector."

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