SHIPPENSBURG – The Shippensburg Area School District board of directors will discuss realignment of elementary classes at its next board meeting, which will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 9, in the middle school cafeteria.

Superintendent Beth Bender spoke briefly about realignment of James Burd and Nancy Grayson elementary schools at the board’s Monday night meeting last week.

Realignment would put students in kindergarten and first grade in one elementary school, and second- and third-grade students in the other. Bender said the district is considering the move because of growing class sizes at James Burd, along with budget concerns regarding the hiring of additional teachers.

A committee has been formed to gather information, but Bender said no decisions have yet been made.

She said she wrote a letter, which is posted on the district’s Facebook page, to clarify public miscommunication about realignment.

Also at its Feb. 9 meeting, the board will review the district’s 2015-16 school calendar, which sets Aug. 19 as the first day of school. The board is expected to vote at its Monday, Feb. 23, meeting.

In other business Monday, the board approved a resolution to not exceed the Act 1 index, which limits the tax increase to 2.5 percent for Shippensburg, and Bender discussed new Act 168 requirements.

Act 168 mandates new employment requirements for background checks for employees and volunteers.

According to Nicole Weber, assistant business administrator, the district must do more extensive background checks with previous employers when hiring new employees, and volunteers must receive training on recognizing child abuse.

The board also heard a presentation from Paula Vercammen, director of business development from Source4Teachers.

According to Business Administrator Deborah Westover, Source4Teachers is an organization that provides substitute teachers to school districts. Many are retired teachers.

She said school districts cannot routinely use retirees because they are receiving pensions from the Pennsylvania School Employees Retirement System. Source4Teachers, however, employs retired teachers and is able to assign them as substitutes.

The board is expected to vote on the matter in February.

Email Debbie Chestnut at


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