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Michael Bupp, The Sentinel 

Trinity's Sunshine McCrae looks for a shot as Lower Dauphin's McKenna Lennox defends in the Mid-Penn Championships semifinals Tuesday evening at CD East High School.

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Carlisle Schools
Carlisle School District plans to name Spielbauer as superintendent

Carlisle Area School District may name acting Superintendent Christina M. Spielbauer as its permanent superintendent at its school board meeting Thursday.

The board last year appointed Spielbauer to serve as the acting superintendent through the current school year, which ends June 30, following the retirement of John Friend. She was the assistant superintendent under Friend.

If approved, Spielbauer’s employment contract would start on March 1 and end on Feb. 28, 2022. The four-year contract would start with a salary of $153,500, and she would be eligible for an increase each year.

“The board has worked closely with Spielbauer as she has served as the acting superintendent during the past six months, and is confident that Spielbauer’s experience and expertise will enable CASD to continuing moving forward to meet its ambitious goals for all of its 5,100 students,” the board of directors wrote in a statement to The Sentinel.

In its statement, the board of directors wrote that it believed Spielbauer offers leadership in a number of areas including curriculum development, financial stewardship, engaging community and business leaders and advocating for the district’s student population.

The child of a military family, Spielbauer first came to Carlisle when her father was a student at the Army War College and continued on as a faculty member.

She earned a bachelor’s of science degree in elementary and special education before becoming a learning support teacher and a home-bound tutor for the district in 1998.

Spielbauer worked as a teacher for Carlisle for four and a half years before becoming assistant principal at Wilson Middle School for two and a half years. She worked as the assistant director for special education at Northeastern School District in York County for almost two years before returning to Carlisle as its director of special education for three years.

During that time, Spielbauer earned a master’s degree in educational leadership along with a superintendent’s letter of eligibility from Shippensburg University. She also participated in a doctoral study program at Widener University.

As assistant superintendent, Spielbauer has instituted school improvement planning teams in each building; managed the district workforce including the supervision of all building principals; and improved educational equity by implementing programming at the high school that engages underrepresented students in college planning.

Spielbauer serves as an adjunct professor at Shippensburg University and Wilson College. In addition, she is and/or has been active in a number of community organizations, including the United Way of Carlisle, Success by Six, the DREAM Partnership, Hope Station, and the Special Olympics.

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Wolf rejects GOP redistricting map as deadline looms Monday

HARRISBURG — Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf will not submit a new Republican-drawn map of Pennsylvania’s congressional districts to the state’s high court, saying Tuesday that it uses the same unconstitutionally partisan tactics as the 6-year-old boundaries struck down in a gerrymandering case.

Wolf’s move came six days before the deadline set by the Democratic-majority state Supreme Court to impose new boundaries for Pennsylvania’s 18 congressional districts, routinely labeled as among the nation’s most gerrymandered.

Wolf’s office, which has not released the governor’s proposal, said it remained possible that Wolf would submit one to the court. He also left open the possibility of working with the Legislature to submit a consensus map by Monday’s deadline.

Republican lawmakers threatened a federal lawsuit and accused Wolf of lacking constructive ideas when he rejected their proposal. Some of his criticisms were “absurd,” they said, and they challenged him to produce a fair map that can be put up for a vote.

Redrawing the map of Pennsylvania districts could boost Democrats nationally in their quest to take control of the U.S. House. Barely three months before May’s primary election, district boundaries remain up in the air.

The governor said his office’s analysis of the plan put forward Friday night by leaders of the GOP-controlled Legislature concluded that it was clearly designed to help Republican candidates.

“There is basically no chance it wasn’t drawn in a way to benefit Republicans,” said Wolf’s press secretary, J.J. Abbott.

Abbott also said that Wolf had given helpful criticism of the map, pointing to unnecessary splits in suburban Philadelphia’s heavily populated Montgomery County and the Wilkes-Barre area and packing densely populated areas into small districts.

Moon Duchin, a Tufts University mathematician who studies redistricting, reviewed the map for Wolf and called it “extremely, and unnecessarily, partisan” in a one-page summary released Tuesday.

An analysis conducted through — created by political scientists, legal scholars and digital mapmakers — concluded that the GOP’s redrawn map “is still seriously skewed in favor of Republican candidates and voters.”

But Republicans insisted that drawing more competitive districts is not a constitutional directive and is prohibitively difficult because Democratic voters live much more tightly packed together.

Republicans said their proposal adhered to the court’s line-drawing benchmarks, eliminating dozens of municipal and county divisions and creating more compact districts. It also kept nearly 70 percent of residents — and every congressman — in their old districts, although it shifted key Democratic challengers into new districts and Wolf criticized it as keeping “nearly 70 percent of residents in districts the court found unconstitutional.”

The state Senate’s Republican majority leader, Jake Corman, said that rejecting the GOP’s proposal allows the governor and “his friends on the Supreme Court” to get what they wanted, which is to draw their own map.

Corman also warned that the state Supreme Court will create a constitutional crisis if it imposes new district boundaries. The U.S. Constitution reserves boundary-drawing power for state lawmakers, Corman said, but there is no time under the court’s deadlines for the Legislature to draw and pass a new map.

“The governor should have accepted it. The only reason he didn’t is because he doesn’t think it elects enough Democrats,” Corman said. “As he’s plainly said, there’s too many Republican seats.”

The map being replaced was drawn by Republicans who controlled the Legislature and governor’s office after the 2010 census. They broke decades of precedent, producing contorted districts that split cities or shifted them into new districts to help maintain a Republican advantage in Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation.

They succeeded, securing 13 of 18 seats in three straight elections in an often-closely divided state where registered Democratic voters outnumber Republicans and Democrats hold a large majority of statewide offices.

Only Texas, California and Florida send more Republicans to the U.S. House.

The court struck down the district boundaries Jan. 22, siding with registered Democratic voters who sued last June. The boundaries “clearly, plainly and palpably” violated the state constitution, the justices wrote in a 5-2 decision that broke along partisan lines.

The court said Republicans put partisan interests above other line-drawing criteria, giving GOP candidates an unfair edge. Republicans counter that the court had no power to invalidate the congressional boundaries.

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a Republican appeal to halt the state court’s order.

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South Middleton Schools
South Middleton School Board urged to address fourth-grade bubble issues in budget

Two teachers have asked the South Middleton School Board not to burst the support for an enrollment bubble moving through the district’s elementary schools.

Joetta Sunday and Tracy Lyons, both teachers at the Iron Forge building, spoke Monday on behalf of the current fourth-grade class of 193 students.

They timed their comments to the early stages of a budget review process where the board is facing the prospect of a $1.4 million deficit for 2018-19.

Current fourth-grade students are spread out over eight sections or classrooms. Next school year, they will replace the current fifth-grade class of 160 students in seven sections.

Sunday and Lyons asked the school board to maintain the current threshold of eight sections when the fourth-graders enter the fifth-grade. They said eight sections are needed to keep an optimal student-teacher ratio to address the needs of this group of students.

“As always we want to do the best that we can,” said Lyons, a fifth-grade teacher and grade-level team leader.

Periodically a larger class or “bubble” of students can move through the enrollment of local school district causing a rippling effect that influences staffing and building capacity decisions.

Prior to this year, the majority of the current fourth-grade students were in nine classrooms for both the second and third grades, Lyons said. She said the concern is a further step down from eight to seven sections would cause class sizes to approach 28 to 29 students without even accounting for additional students should new families move into the district.

Sunday, who is a fourth-grade teacher and a grade-level team leader, surveyed the fourth-grade faculty to obtain demographic information on the needs of those students heading to the fifth-grade.

According to Sunday, 98 of the current 193 students have one or more significant needs that go beyond typical classroom demands on teacher time and resources. Her presentation included the following statistics:

  • 22 students are in learning support.
  • 10 students are in autistic or social support.
  • Nine receive Title I reading support.
  • Seven could use remedial math support.
  • Six have severe health issues.
  • Three are English Language Learners.
  • 12 have home-life issues that impact learning.
  • 12 receive speech remediation services.
  • Two are medicated for severe anxiety.
  • Three are undergoing testing for attention issues.
  • Two have severe ADD issues and are not receiving medication.

The statistics did not include the number of students in the fourth-grade who receive gifted support services.

“As a result of increased class sizes, these services will be stretched extremely thin,” said Lyons, adding it would be very difficult to meet student needs. “We have been in this situation before in my 23 years here.”

Prior school boards and administrations have taken one of two approaches to accommodating enrollment bubbles, Lyons said. One approach was to do nothing about the temporary increases in class sizes. The other is to hire more classroom aides to help the full-time teacher.

Neither approach has been successful, Lyons said. The district needs to address the need with full-time staff, she said.

School board president Randy Varner thanked the teachers for bringing up the issue early in the budget review process. He said that as the review moves forward and the budget nears finalization, it can be harder for the board to address the kind of need the teachers had outlined.


Police: Carlisle man shook 4-month-old infant to death

On July 6, Carlisle Police said a 4-month-old Carlisle boy died from traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

The boy’s father has now been charged with criminal homicide for allegedly causing those injuries.

Brian Leroy Wagner, 30, of Carlisle, was charged Tuesday with felony criminal homicide, aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of children.

Around 9 a.m. July 6, Carlisle Police responded to Wagner’s home in the 700 block of Hamilton Court in Carlisle for a report of an unresponsive infant, police said.

The child was flown to Hershey Medical Center where he was pronounced dead, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed by Carlisle Police.

A review of the coroner’s autopsy by a doctor at Hershey Medical Center, turned in Jan. 25, confirmed the child had suffered traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries consistent with violent shaking, which likely caused the child to become unconscious and stop breathing, the affidavit said.

When questioned, Wagner said he had been at home with the child and a 15-month-old child while the children’s mother worked that day, police said. He said the child had been sick, but he was able get him to go back to sleep around 7:30 a.m., the affidavit said.

He said he checked on the boy around 8:15 a.m. and said he could see he was breathing, but when he checked in again at 9 a.m., the boy was no longer breathing and Wagner called 911, police said.

The boy was suffering from E. coli sepsis, but it was determined the traumatic injuries and not the illness caused his death, according to the affidavit.

Wagner is being held in Cumberland County Prison without bail, according to court records.

Bail cannot be set in Pennsylvania in cases where the defendant is charged with a capital offense or an offense where the maximum penalty is life in prison, like criminal homicide.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled 8 a.m. Feb. 21 in front of Magisterial District Judge Jonathan Birbeck.