Superintendent’s Message January 26, 2016

Dear Parents/Guardians and Community Members,

I have several items of interest to share with our community.

In the wake of Winter Storm Jonas, I encourage community members to join us in thanking the men and women of our facilities, grounds and custodial personnel who labored for many hours throughout the weekend and beyond to prepare our school grounds and buildings for the return of students and faculty. Without their hard and dedicated work we would not have been able to reopen schools on Tuesday. A sincere thank you also to our students and parents for your flexibility as drop off lines moved more slowly than usual, access to several of our recess playgrounds was delayed, and parking spots disappeared under snow banks. Snow removal and ice treatment continues throughout the District.

Exciting news from our Technology Department! We are very pleased to announce the launch of our new District Website early in February. The new website features a clean and intuitive interface, a responsive mobile design, robust calendar, and digital space to celebrate student achievement. The new site also reflects financial efficiencies. We have relied for several years on a traditional school website hosting service at an annual cost of $18,000. The new and improved site, built by Director of Technology Philip Vinogradov, will be hosted in-house for an annual hosting cost of less than $300.

As we continue to enhance our use of technology as a management tool as well as an instructional tool, we are preparing to become more interactive with students and parents through our District Home Access Center (HAC). This expansion of our capability will include making bus routes available only to parents and others authorized to access the HAC, thereby increasing security for our students. Additionally, parents will have the ability to update their children’s demographic data, allowing us to eliminate most paper forms that parents and building secretaries have had to manage in the past. Watch for upcoming information, including virtual tutorials, about the enhanced HAC.

The Board of Directors received positive financial news in regard to the results of the negotiated pricing for our Bond Refunding on January 20, 2016. Refinancing a portion of the 2008 bonds with the $9.8M Bond Series of 2016 will save the District $1,081,288 which far exceeds our anticipated savings of $600,000. Combined with the $700,000 savings realized through refinancing additional 2008 bonds with the $8.74M Bond Series of 2015 in December, the Board will realize total savings of $1.7 million over the next 11 years. These results will be discussed during the Legislative meeting on February 8, 2016. The Bond Sale Document for General Obligation Bonds Series of 2016 may be accessed on the District website, click on the Business Services page.

Additionally, during the Finance Committee meeting on January 21, 2016, the Board recommended a motion to not renew the District’s contract with Aramark. The currently out-sourced positions provided through this contract, including Facilities Director and network specialists, will become District positions. With restructuring several of these positions we anticipate realizing efficiencies in service with no increase in costs. The Board will receive and act on this motion during the Legislative meeting on February 8, 2016.

Development of the proposed budget for the 2016-2017 school year continues, and updates are being presented during Board Legislative and committee meetings. Agendas and exhibits are posted on the District website.

Signs on District property: we are collaborating with the Township to ensure that the Township ordinance governing required permits for signs is followed for signs placed on District property. Briefly, every agency that wishes to place signs on District property must apply for a permit at the Code Enforcement Department at the UD Township Building. We support community activities, but must abide by the Township ordinance and Board policies, therefore we will remove any signs on District property that have not been granted a permit from the Township. Thank you in advance for helping us comply with this requirement.

Please “like” the School District of Upper Dublin Facebook page where we feature updated highlights of student and alumni achievement, posted with Cardinal Pride!!

The Board of Directors will hold their next Legislative meeting on February 8, 2016 at 7:00 P.M.in the Cardinal Room at UDHS. All members of the community are encouraged to attend. Approved minutes from Board meetings may be accessed on the District website.

As always, I invite interested members of the Upper Dublin community to contact me with any questions or concerns you might have. I can be reached at 215 643-8802 or throughdwheeler@udsd.org . Follow me on Twitter @UDSDSupt.

 

Sincerely,

Deborah S. Wheeler, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools