School Board discusses Warwick High School’s Vietnam Veterans program

By on June 5, 2019

The Warwick School Board learned about the recent Vietnam Veterans program that was held at Warwick High School on May 14.

Social studies teacher Sherry Ruggiero attended the school board meeting to talk about the program, which has been held for the past six years. Eleven Vietnam War veterans served on a panel at the high school. The veterans were members of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1008. They offered students a first-hand opportunity to learn about the two-decade-long Vietnam War, which lasted from 1955 to 1975.

“Some of the veterans had tears in their eyes as the students presented them with flowers and welcomed them home,” said Ruggiero, adding that back during the Vietnam War era, veterans did not receive the welcome they deserved for their service due to protests against the U.S.’s involvement in the war.

She presented the Warwick School District with two plaques on June 4.

One honors the two Warwick High School students who were among those who died in Vietnam. The names of Gerald Lloyd Habecker and Jay Dennis Webster Jr., are on the Vietnam Veterans

Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. Ruggiero asked that the school district consider awarding a posthumous diploma to the young men who went to serve in Vietnam before graduating from Warwick High School.

The other gift was a framed photograph of the late Command Master Chief Bobby Ruble, U.S. Navy, who died unexpectedly late last year. Ruble had been a panelist at previous Warwick High School presentations and was very involved in the program. The photograph showed Ruble at the Vietnam Memorial Wall.

“It was very touching when the students gave Bobby Ruble a traditional military farewell shouting out the words “Welcome Home, Bobby” in unison,” said Ruggiero.

• The Warwick School District is on target to not have a tax increase for the 2019-20 budget.

At the June 4 Committee of the Whole meeting, Chief Financial Officer Nathan Wertsch provided the school board with the final update to the budget, which is set to be up for approval at the June 18 Warwick School Board meeting.

Wertsch’s balanced budget listed total revenues and expenses at $75,633,147. There is a capital reserve transfer of $629,000 in 2018-19 and $665,000 in 2019-20. Wertsch reported that there have been several favorable budget drivers that put the 2019-20 budget in a good position. They include a positive outcome on assessed property values, earned income, interest income, subsidies, and reimbursements. In regard to expenses, he said savings due to health insurance costs and retirements will be beneficial to the school district budget.

Wertsch discussed other factors that were helping to align the budget positively. He indicated that the district is currently analyzing personnel needs with retirements and anticipated enrollments. Special education placements are forecasted to be favorable, with the district looking at possibly bringing another class back.

Social studies teacher, Sherry Ruggiero, who presented the Warwick School District with two plaques, asked that the school board consider awarding posthumous diplomas to the young men who went to serve in Vietnam before graduating from Warwick High School. Photo by Laura Knowles.

Last year, in 2018-19, there was a 0.05% millage increase, putting millage at 16.3711. That made Warwick School District ninth among the 16 school districts in Lancaster County.
With no tax increase needed for the proposed final 2019-20 budget, the millage rate is expected to remain at 16.3711.

In other business, Dr. Ryan Axe updated the school board on the School Safety and Security Practices Report that is being done with Warwick School District Police Chief John Schofield. Working with Warwick SRO Officer Ken Wolfe, the administration, staff and students, safety guidelines are constantly being updated.

Among the procedures that are underway are advanced ID systems that regulate those entering or leaving the school buildings. The district is hiring more security personnel, and a new system of labeling and monitoring all entrances and exits at the schools are being planned.

“We also have dogged determination to have our Paws for Warwick facility dog program in place,” said Axe, noting that the district expects to have three facility dogs by fall, with three more dogs by the following school year. They hope to eventually have seven facility dogs in all six schools in the district.

The school board also reviewed five policy updates relating to Title I ­ Comparability of Services, Student Expression/Distribution and Posting of Material, Family and Medical Leaves, Crowdfunding, and Non-school Organizations/Groups/Individuals.

Laura Knowles is a freelance feature writer and regular contributor to the pages of the Record Express. She welcomes feedback and story tips at lknowles21@gmail.com. 

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