HASB members hear positive reports | Local

There was a lot of praise and positivity within the Huntingdon Area School District during the school board’s monthly workshop session on Monday.

One area that has seen positive improvements is food service.

During a presentation to discuss a proposed 2022-23 budget, Nutrition Group Regional Director Jennifer Weaver said the district would see a return of $85,000.

“When we were estimating the budget, we had to take the school year as if there was no pandemic and that was normal times,” she said. “Because a waiver was placed on breakfast and school lunches again, it really saved a lot of money.”

Because of the waiver, she said there has also been better student participation in food. There were 310 more breakfasts and 309 more lunches served this year. Pay-per-view purchases increased by $82.

Reviewing the proposed rates for breakfast and lunch next year, Weaver said prices would remain the same as in 2021-22; $1.30 for breakfast, $2.85 for elementary school lunch, and $2.90 for middle and high school lunches.

Food Services Manager Karlee VanBuskirk said she was excited about the news.

“When I joined seven months ago, I saw our negative status and was aiming to change things,” she said. “I’m proud that I was able to accomplish this.”

She and Weaver said they hope there will be another breakfast and lunch waiver next year, but even if there isn’t, the district will still be in a better position than the previous years.

There was also enthusiasm from college principal Nick Payne in his report on Monday.

He reported that data from the school’s PSSAs showed students were “well above average in math”.

“This is great growth for a school that was in the bottom 15 percent in the state,” he said.

The English Language Arts (ELA) portion of the PSSAs also saw above-average growth for all but Grade 7. Grades in science have remained stable.

Part of this growth and development is due to the multi-level support implemented by the school. District Superintendent Jennifer Mitchell said it helped provide students with what they needed to succeed.

Southside Elementary principal Dawn Lynn said her students have also seen growth, especially with the math cohort, thanks to SpringMath.

“From fall to winter, there was a 16% growth,” she said. “Next year, we want to use the Step Up to Writing program in elementary schools, which will be another great help for students.”

Lynn and Standing Stone principal Amy Mykut reminded the board about enrolling in kindergarten.

Although registration was over, the district was still open to welcoming children. Mitchell said it was better to do it now than to wait.

“There’s going to be a kindergarten camp for them to get used to a school environment, so we don’t want anyone to miss that,” she said.

The camp will take place from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. from Monday, June 8 to Wednesday, June 10, with transportation available.

“It will serve as a way for them to make friends and get to know the class,” Mitchell said.

In another presentation during the session, a clean audit was presented by David Scott and Wes Elder of Young, Oakes, Brown & Co.

“We are focused on one program and this year we focused on the education stabilization fund,” Elder said.

This fund covers COVID and pandemic relief and amounted to $1.28 million. He said it was one-third of federal spending, or $3.6 million.

PSSA testing for primary students will begin ELA exams from April 26-28. The math and science tests will take place May 3-5. The retake exams will take place from May 9 to 13.

Keystone exams will begin with Algebra I on Tuesday May 17, followed by Literature on Wednesday May 18 and Biology on Thursday May 19.

The school board will hold its monthly voting meeting at the secondary library at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 18.