Soccer generates funds for WSD Board addresses concern from cyber student

By on November 28, 2012

By: MICHAEL C. UPTON Record Express Correspondent, Staff Writer

A summer soccer tournament that attracted thousands of visitors to the community is benefiting the school district as it continues to grow.

Bob Kelly, president of the Lititz Youth Soccer Club, presented a $5,000 check to the Warwick School District during last week’s school board meeting. He thanked the board for its continued support of the Lititz Summer Showcase and presented some facts about the event.

According to Kelly, the tournament consisted of 311 matches with teams or players from eight states. More than 6,000 participants and observers attended the event, and 100 college coaches appeared in order to assess high school talent.

"We would like to thank the Warwick School District for its continued collaboration and support," said Kelly. "Our collective effort not only brought people to the showcase, but to area restaurants, shops (and) hotels."

In what was otherwise a light agenda during the Nov. 20 meeting, a cyber school student and his family did address the board about participation in public school activities. While the board listened to testimony from the family, there was little they could do, as they are bound by state law and district policy.

The situation involves Liam Blevins, a sixth grade cyber school student who wants to be in Kissel Hill Elementary’s spring musical.

The boy read a short statement to the board:

"I have a deep passion for acting," he said. "I was told I could not participate in the musical because I did not meet the curriculum requirements. I met the requirements last year and was able to participate in the musical … It appears that the administration is trying to be right instead of doing the right thing."

Blevins is a student with 21st Century Cyber Charter School and has expressed interest in eventually attending a Warwick-run cyber school.

Dr. April Hershey, school district superintendent, also read a statement in an attempt to explain the public school policy:

"Warwick School District is committed to providing educational opportunities including academics, the arts and athletics to all eligible Warwick School District students. District residents, students and families who have chosen alternative school options have limited access to programs and services based on Pennsylvania law and district policy."

"I will just add," Hershey continued, "that at the secondary level there are many more opportunities for students to participate. The policy is clear and additional information has been provided, explaining the specifics of this situation to the parties involved. Warwick School District strives to administer the laws and policies with fidelity and consistency across the school district, but with any large organization inconsistencies can occur with staffing changes or a lack of understanding of policy. When inconsistencies are found, immediate action is taken to correct (them)."

Blevins’ father, Owen Blevins, also took the opportunity to address the board.

"Our son obviously wants to be given the chance to participate in something he is passionate about," he said. "Liam is a Warwick community member that has a need to be accepted and belong to this community."

He then asked the board to reconsider the decision to not allow his son to participate in the show. The board did not act on the request during the meeting, but the district is continuing to help to the best of its ability.

"Prior to and following the meeting, the district had communication with the family and provided some alternatives," Hershey later explained.

In personnel matters, the board approved four resignations from non-instructional and extra-duty positions; elected nine non-instructional and extra-duty personnel; and approved 10 substitutes and assistants. The board also accepted a change of status for several teachers and approved seven leave of absence requests.

From the Finance and Legal Committee, the board unanimously approved a clean audit report provided by Brown, Shultz, Sheridan & Fitz; approved standard operating budget transfers in the amount of $105,390; and approved the disposal of obsolete audio and visual equipment. The AV equipment consists of inoperable overhead projectors, cassette decks and compact disk players. More SCHOOL BOARD, page A17

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