Class size spurs new positions in district

Class size issues and student need have spurred the need for two new staff positions in the Warren County School District.

Proposals for the new positions were approved by the school board’s Personnel/Athletics and Co-Curricular Activities Committee on Monday night.

One position is for an itinerant reading specialist at Warren Area Elementary Center and the other is for a western attendance area aide to be assigned to Youngsville High School.

Regarding the reading specialist, Director of Administrative Support Services Amy Stewart said, “We believe we have a grant” that could fund that position. “The idea there is that we push into the regular classrooms that are already operating.”

The grant the district hopes to utilize to fund the position is the Rural and Low Income Schools Program, a federal grant through the U.S. Department of Education and apportioned by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Matt Jones, coordinator of grants and foundation development for the school district, said this is the “first year since I’ve been here that we’ve qualified for this grant.” He said that the funding could be utilized for a variety of purposes.

“This would be for your reading specialist and technology and professional development,” he added, noting that this is a formula grant so “if we jump through the appropriate hoops we get the funding.”

“Even with a looming shutdown, all of the appropriations have been made for this money to come now,” he added.

The grant totals $87,351.

The new position application posted at esbpub.wcsdpa.org states that the position is needed because of “first grade class sizes at WAEC.”

Board Vice President Donna Zariczny said that “since we’re not pulling from contingency, (this is) a one-time deal.”

“That is how we look at it,” Stewart said.

The aide at Youngsville is needed, according to the new position request, because the “number of students in the AS/ES (Autistic Support/Emotional Support) program have increased with a need for staff in the refocus room.”

“(We’re) really feeling the need for that staff person,” Interim Director Ruth Nelson said.

That position will be paid through available ACCESS dollars.