School Board Reviews Timeline for High School Renovation Referendum
Monday night, the State College School Board of Directors got a look at the final schedule of plans leading up to the final high school project referendum on May 20.
Director of Physical Plant for the School District Ed Poprik told board members they'll need to vote on a referendum question by February 10, because they have to send the question to the board of elections by April 4.
"That gives a number of months to have the referendum approved and available for public discussion and to have the board to explain and work with a communication plan to make sure this referendum question is very well understood before vote," Poprik said.
In the coming weeks, the school board will hold a joint work session with the State College Borough Council to discuss building plans. A meeting on October 28 will focus on parking at the high school.
Poprik also says the board should adopt educational specifications by October 14. The educational specifications refer to the design plan to be used in the school, such as how many students will be in a classroom at a time.
Board member Laurel Zydney says she's worried that people might start forgetting about the project if they begin voting on things like educational specifications in October and have the referendum in May. Zydney said the board must communicate with the public frequently over the next couple of months to make sure everyone's aware of all the changes being made.
Board member Ann McGlaughlin says she's also concerned with communication. McGlaughlin thinks there should be an easier way for community members to find answers to their questions about the project without having to sort through hundreds of pages of documents.
The board voted at its last meeting to use Concept D as the high school plan, ending months of deliberation. This plan includes major renovations to the south building so that core classes can all be held on the same side of the street. Portions of the north building will still be available for student and community use.
The board also heard about updates about the school's health policy from Jeanne Knouse, director of learning enrichment, gifted support and student services for the school district.
The new Coordinated School Health Policy and is an updated version of the present health policy which focuses on the quality of food in the school district as a way to maintain the general wellness of students. The new policy includes more information on fostering a strong environment of behavioral and mental health. This is directed not only toward the students but also faculty and staff.
Zydney said it is important the school district is recognizing this aspect of health.
"The best security we have is students and staff knowing they can get help when they need it," Zydney said. "When people talk about being safer and more secure this is what they are talking about."