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Five Bradford teachers receive tenure

By Crystal Burns

The Bradford Special School District board approved tenure for five teachers at its July 22 meeting.

Brenda Siddell, social worker and guidance counselor for grades 1-6; Emily Waddell, elementary Special Education teacher; Merideth Jacobs, high school wellness/PE teacher; Phillip Tyler, high school and junior high history teacher; and Kyle Gehring, agriculture teacher all received tenure. Jacobs and Tyler also coach girls’ basketball and baseball, respectively.

In order to receive tenure, teachers must have at least four years of experience with the school district and be rated Level 4 or 5 based on state tests or evaluations. All of the newly tenured teachers have taught for at least five years.

“We appreciate your hard work for five-plus years,” said Dr. Kelvin Moore, chairman of the board. “We certainly hope you continue with us.”

Budget – The board also approved a $5.6M budget for the 2019-20 Fiscal Year. Rich Cunningham, chair of the board finance committee, briefly highlighted the $5,646,391 budget, which includes a pay raise for all employees and an increase of about $140,000 in state BEP money. BEP is the state’s Basic Education Program funding formula for K-12 public schools.

Henson welcomed – The board welcomed Mike Henson as the district’s new supervisor of Transportation and Maintenance. He will also serve as an assistant principal to Kelly Knott at the elementary school and Shane Paschall at the high school. Henson succeeds Larry McCartney who retired recently.

“It’s been a whirlwind,” Henson said of his first three weeks on the job. “I’m excited to be here and appreciate the opportunity.”

Henson has been in education for 35 years, the last 27 in Huntingdon. He has taught, coached and served in administration. His wife Pam is a Bradford native and graduate of Bradford High School.

“Mike knows a lot of folks here,” said Bradford Director of Schools Dan Black. “I think that will be helpful for him.”

State SRO grant – The board gave Black the green light to apply for a state grant allotting $35,000 for a School Resource Officer (SRO). Only districts that have never had a SRO are eligible to receiving the funding.

Black told the board that a SRO salary would probably cost between $50,000 and $60,000 per year. He spoke with Bradford Police Chief David Andrews about the department providing an officer and making up the difference in salary from the grant. Black said he is scheduled to meet with the city mayor and board this week.

Paschall said if the city isn’t able to help, the Sheriff’s Department might. He said he has spoken to Sheriff Paul Thomas who said he has three deputies on staff that would be good SROs.

“I think it would be an asset,” Paschall said. “A good [SRO] puts out fires before they even start.”

Black agreed that the right SRO could make a big difference in students’ lives.

“For this program to really be successful, it’s got to be the right person,” he said.

Board members discussed the district’s ability to continue with the program after the grant money runs out, and Cunningham said he didn’t see any problem if the district is able to split the salary with a community partner.

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