Meadville Tribune

Local News

June 26, 2013

Admin pushing for tax hike at Crawford Central

(Continued)

MEADVILLE — The coming school year

Class size in Crawford Central will be maintained at the current 18 to 20 students per kindergarten classroom; 20 to 25 students in grades one through three and 25 to 30 in grades four, five and six.

“We’re within the guidelines — and have been, for the most part,” Superintendent Charlie Heller said Monday. “They are guidelines. We’d like to have smaller class sizes, but, realistically, we need to be able to accept what we have at this time.

“When it comes to personnel, we’re pretty status quo for the 2013-14 school year,” Heller said. The district was forced to make significant cuts in the number of classroom teachers and administrative staff — primarily during the 2010-11 school year, according to Heller, who noted that the district withstood funding pressures in 2011-12 and then made significant cuts in support staff in 2012-13. “That should enable us to move into 2013-14 without any reductions in staff,” Heller said. As a result, education in the district should look pretty much like last year — with “no reductions in programs and no increases in class size,” he said.

From a programming perspective, “Everything is in place — even athletics,” Heller said. “Our goal was to maintain and not compromise any programs.” In fact, he added, it looks as if administrators are going to be able to restore some areas where downsizing previously took place, such as instrumental music lessons. “I think we’ll be able to do more with instrumental lessons than we were able to do before,” Heller said.

Heller says the contracting out of the district’s technical services should result in a positive change.

“We’ll be able to operate at a more efficient cost,” he said. “The integration of technology in the classrooms and school buildings should grow.” The technology outsourcing, he added, “will free up some time to focus on things we should focus on: Students and instruction.”

Looking toward the future, with a new technology team guiding the district, administrators are looking at installing wireless service in the secondary buildings. “That will provide many more opportunities,” Heller explained, noting that at some point, the district may be looking at a “bring your own device” program.

“First, the wireless has to be in place — then a new policy adopted,” Heller said. “But we also have to make sure there’s security within our system to keep people off what they’re not supposed to be in. Once we’ve moved to that point, we’ll be able to advance at a much faster pace with regard to technology in the classroom.”

What to watch for next

Crawford Central School Board meets Friday at noon in the district’s Instructional Support Center, 11280 Mercer Pike, in Vernon Township, to approve the district’s 2013-14 budget. The meeting is open to the public.

Mary Spicer can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at mspicer@meadvilletribune.com.

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