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Easton school officials reach consensus on more vigorous graduation requirements

By Kevin Lechiski, WFMZ.com Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 10 2012 11:10:17 PM CST
Easton Area High School
EASTON, Pa. -

The Easton Area Board of Education is ready to move ahead on implementing more vigorous graduation requirements.

Starting with this year’s freshman class, Easton Area High School students will be required to complete four years of math and science courses to graduate. Currently, students are required to complete a three-year minimum of math and science.

School officials said the more vigorous requirements are being set in place to make students better prepared for today’s ever-changing technical world.

The board on Monday night agreed to have the matter placed on its January meeting agenda for formal approval.

At that time, Superintendent Susan McGinley said she would provide a detailed presentation on how the new requirements will be implemented.

Setting the new graduation requirements plan in motion now for current freshmen will give the administration enough time to work out logistics such as scheduling, said Board Member William Rider.

McGinley said the expanded graduation requirements will be subject to approval by the state Department of Education. McGinley said she expects the state to approve any new requirements that establish “more vigor.”

The process to revise graduation requirements began about a year ago, said Board President Robert Fehnel.
Spending approvals scrutinized
In other business during Monday night’s meeting, several board members questioned the approval of two spending resolutions.

One approval authorized a pro-rated salary of $72,436 for a long-term substitute to fill in for a permanent teacher.

While voting favor of the measure due to the salary amount being contractually obligated, Board Member Robert Moskaitis said he believed the salary to be excessive and “not being an efficient use of taxpayer dollars.”

The other approval was for a maximum of $1,800 for district Chief Operating Officer Michael Simonetta to attend the 2013 Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials conference in Pittsburgh from March 19-22.

Moskaitis asked why it is important to attend. Simonetta replied by saying the conference provides the latest information on school regulations and laws, and will be especially helpful to him as a new school administrator in Pennsylvania, coming last year from the Hackettstown School District in Warren County, New Jersey.

Moskaitis requested Simonetta submit a report to the board upon his return of the benefits derived from the conference.
Superintendent search continues
The board is seeking input from the public regarding the search for a new superintendent.

The board is currently seeking a replacement for current Superintendent Susan McGinley, whose $170,000-per-year contract is set to expire the end of the school year after not being renewed by the board of education.

Community members can participate in the search in one of two ways.

One way is to serve on a search committee that will include eight to 10 community members. Information on how to submit your name for consideration on the committee can be found on the school district web site, www.eastonsd.org.

The other way to participate in the search is to fill out a confidential community survey that can be accessed through the school district web site.