RUSSELL, Pa. – While Warren County School District science teachers might be inclined to include the total solar eclipse as part of their lesson plan next year, they won’t be doing so during the eclipse itself.
During a special meeting Wednesday, the WCSD Board of Directors approved a change to the 2023-24 school calendar that will keep students at home during the Great American Eclipse set to occur on April 8. Warren County is predicted to be in the path of the eclipse, but the timing could lead to student safety issues, thus the change.
“This is a conversation I never in 30 years of education thought I would need to say but I will be,” Superintendent Amy Stewart said. “April 8 of 2024 is slated to be a solar eclipse. And that wouldn’t normally be something that we would be talking about. We are directly in the path, and it goes through the county on a diagonal and it is set to pass here at 3:18 in the afternoon, which is during dismissal. There are dangers to watching the eclipse. And seeing it there’s the special glasses that everybody needs to do it and that sort of thing. So we don’t want kids to be walking home or being on the bus and not being supervised.”
In an 8-0 vote (board member Arthur Stewart was absent from the meeting), the board approved changing the Professional Development Day originally scheduled for April 15 to April 8.
“Everybody’s in agreement on that so that kids can be at home just to the timing of the event,” Stewart said. “We don’t want anybody to ruin their eyesight because of the eclipse without being supervised. So I know that’s a strange explanation. But that is the truth.”
Two revisions were made for January 2024 as well. The Professional Development Day scheduled for Jan. 22 was moved to Jan. 16, and the start of the second semester was moved from Jan. 23 to Jan. 18.
The revised 2023-24 school calendar can be found here.
TENTATIVE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT REACHED WITH WCEA
The district and the Warren County Education Association have reached a tentative collective bargaining agreement that is set to run through June 30, 2027.
The school board voted 8-0 to approve the agreement. Stewart said the WCEA was meeting at the same time as the school board and that a public statement would be issued following the WCEA vote.
LETTERS OF ENGAGEMENT
The district approved four letters of engagement:
- Felix & Gloekler for the district annual financial audit. Felix & Gloekler estimate the total cost “will not exceed $27,900.”
- Knox Law Firm in the amount of $220 per hour for special education law services.
- Stapleford & Byham to remain as the district solicitor at a rate of $145 per hour.
- Fanelli & Willett Law Offices for labor relations services at a rate of $165 per hour.