Five Hampton school board members sworn in during reorganization meeting

Monday, December 9, 2019 | 12:01 AM

Three new and two re-elected school board members were sworn in at the Hampton Township reorganization meeting on Dec. 2, held at the Dr. Harold Sarver Memorial Middle School Library.

Those joining HTSD School board for the first time include Joy Midgley, Matthew Jarrell and Trisha Webb. Robert Shages and Bryant Wesley, II, were elected again to the board. Terms are four years.

Five seats were open for this year’s election, including Wesley and Shages seats. Two school board members, Mary Alice Hennessey and Pam Lamagna, did not run for re-election. Former School Board Member Lawrence Vasko ran for another term but lost by a narrow margin to Webb, according to the Allegheny County Unofficial Election final results posted on Nov. 6.

Wesley was re-elected as president to the board, and Hamlin will once again act as vice president per unanimous vote.

The board also voted to keep the meeting schedules the same for the coming year. The first Monday of the month work meetings will be held at 7 p.m. and the second Monday of the month voting meetings will begin at 7:30 p.m. July traditionally has no meetings scheduled. Special Board meetings will be reserved for the fourth Monday of the month if there is a need for one.

School Board Member Gail Litwiler commented that being on the board may have its easy or difficult moments, but is “Important for the education of our children.”

The next school board work session meeting is tentatively set for Jan. 6 at 7 p.m.

The HTSD website updates information regarding meetings and times.

At the meeting, Dr. Michael Loughead, superintendent for the school district, also shared that Hampton was approved for flexible instruction days by the state department of education for the next three years.

The district did an in-depth study of the newly PDE approved flexible instructional days that could reduce the number of snow make-up days required under the new law. So, students could make up a day at home.

Flexible instruction days will allow teachers to provide online instruction to students at home so it would count as a school day.

The district would utilize its snow make-up days already worked into the school district calendar, said Loughead. But if the number of days Hampton had to cancel due to inclement weather, or other reasons, exceeds the number of make-up days already provided, then the district could utilize the flexible instruction days.

Loughead said they don’t have to decide if they’d even go this route, but the option is there.

“We don’t have to use it, but it’s nice to have the approval if we have to,” said Loughead.

Last year’s cancellations exceeded the number of days worked into the calendar so there was an issue with ensuring graduating students had achieved the required amount of instruction days. This issue could result in moving the last day of school or rescheduling graduation, both of which Loughead said they would like to try to avoid, especially for seniors.

“We want to make sure we have them graduate on time,” said Loughead.