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PlanCon Reimbursements Approved for UPSD Middle School
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            Administrators for the Upper Perkiomen School District will soon begin receiving financial reimbursements from the Pennsylvania Department of Education for the construction of the new middle school in Upper Hanover. Last week, the school board voted to acknowledge receipt of PlanCon Part H and to enter approval of this document and appended materials from the state agency into the meeting minutes.

            According to Business Manager Sandra Kassel, the document marks the fourth and final document received from the DOE. She said the initial reimbursement payment will come in the next few months.

            The district is expected to receive $6.7 million over the next 25 years which covers the life of the bonds, according to Kassel. She explained, following the Jan. 11 regular meeting at Hereford Elementary, that the district will receive a monthly reimbursement worth approximately eight percent of each loan payment.

            School officials approved four bonds totaling $55.290 million between 2016 and 2019, according to an attachment to the meeting agenda posted on the district's website. During the meeting, Kassel told the members she expected to provide a final cost total for construction of the new school on Montgomery Avenue in March.

            Stephen Cunningham announced that he has accepted a one-year term as president of the Western Montgomery Career & Technical Center. His main responsibility will be to serve as a liaison between the three districts that feed the technical center and the school's solicitor.

            Though Cunningham – nominated for the position by a Pottsgrove school board member – described the job as a caretaker role, he said he would like to see more ninth graders from Upper Perkiomen attending the school at 77 Graterford Road in Royersford.

            Upper Perkiomen has more than doubled its application for ninth graders, according to Cunningham. He said the center will continue to increase its outreach. It has already split its manufacturing curriculum into separate machining and welding programs.

            "We'd like to see more kids attend technical colleges," Cunningham said.

            The board approved separate motions appointing Kerry Drake and Keith McCarrick to the center's joint operating committee. Drake's term expires at the end of 2020. McCarrick will represent the district through 2022.

            Near the end of the meeting, Peg Pennepacker informed her fellow members that she has been invited to serve on the publications committee of a magazine that is mailed to every superintendent, school board president, principal and athletic director in every high school in the United States. She described her one-year appointment to High School Today, a publication of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), as prestigious and an honor.

            The committee, which meets in February and August in Indianapolis, drives editorial content for the magazine, which focuses on high school sports and activity programs. Pennepacker will use her networking background to assist in identifying potential authors.

            The 12-person committee consists of a superintendent, principal, athletic director, activities director and school board member, as well as members of state associations, media, athletic trainers, performing arts, coaches, officials and legal counsel. Pennepacker, a longtime athletic director and a Title IX expert who has written many articles on the subject for the magazine since 2007, will provide additional perspective as a school board member.

            "In addition to being a resource person within my area of expertise, I will also help identify articles of national interest in high school sports and activity programs," she wrote in an email message received Tuesday. "The use of my networking background will assist in identifying potential authors, as well as continuing to write articles for HST."

            Superintendent Allyn Roche announced that 624 people have signed up for the district's new bus app, known as Bus Status. He said the district has used it three times since the start of the new year.

            "Let's make sure we get it up over 1,000," Roche said.

            In November, the board voted unanimously to approve a $4,000 contract with Box Clever to utilize the app for mobile devices and computers that tracks student drop-off and pickup. The app is free from Google Play and the App Store.





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