2022 School Year is in the Books

2022 School Year is in the Books
Posted on 06/14/2022

Good evening!

Congratulations to all!  We made it. It’s a wonderful time of year!  From the 3rd Annual Graduation Car Parade and the Class of 2022 Commencement Ceremony last Wednesday night, to grade level promotion and transition ceremonies between schools, it has definitely been a very positive and exciting couple of weeks.  

My own personal graduation tradition is to shake every graduate’s hand and ask what they are going to do next - immediately off to job and career, college or university, or going off into the military.  What I heard was truly impressive.  Destinations for post secondary schooling range from the Universities of Maine and Vermont to Universities of Central Florida, Georgia and South Carolina to Azusa Pacific University in California to dozens attending Penn State University and Bucks County Community College. The majors our graduates are going into are wide ranging - the majority are going into math, science, medical, and engineering fields.  Many of our graduates who attended Upper Bucks County Technical School are immediately going off to well paying jobs in areas like welding and auto collision repair.  We also have graduates going into all branches of military service.

At last Thursday night’s Board Meeting, the Board approved several items.  They approved the ‘22-‘23 QCSD Budget that includes a 2% tax increase, the ‘21-‘22 Superintendent Goals Completion Report, and the Superintendent Goals for the next academic year.  The end of fiscal year tax revenue received in property and Earned Income Tax presented the Board with the opportunity to raise taxes at only half of Act 1.  

Throughout the annual budget process, the Admin team provides counsel to the Board regarding individual and collective Board member priorities and strategic thinking.  This was especially important this year as four Board members were new to the process.  They are sensitive to various stakeholder groups, while focusing on QCSD’s mission - “to prepare all students with the knowledge, habits, and skills they need to graduate ready for college and career and for engaged citizenship, at all the best value to our community.”  Long term they are thinking about maximizing staff and building utilization, and being prepared for the impact of inflation on energy costs and on our next QCEA contract negotiations.

After the re-scheduled Finance and Board meetings on May 31st, when the Finance Committee reported out a 2% tax increase, the Administration was able to provide guidance to principals in teacher and student scheduling.  We knew what resources the Board was providing to run our school district next year.  Reducing class size was a Board priority during this spring’s discussion.  Class sizes will be the best ever at Strayer and all of our elementary schools.  With declining enrollment over the next few years and with very few anticipated professional staff retirements, student teacher ratios are expected to improve even more.  This also allows greater sharing of staff between schools.  To save on administrative costs and to develop stronger continuity for our middle school students, the 6th Grade Center will come under the leadership of Strayer Principal Dr. Jennifer Bubser where she, or one of her assistant principals, Zach Garger and Adam Smith will be.  

To save on transportation costs and assist with Strayer MS and 6th Grade Center collaboration and sharing of resourcing, 6th graders will return to the middle school schedule.  This change will save the cost of two to five, or even more buses - and will help Levy Bus, Inc with its bus driver shortage.  Why?  The elementary tier of bussing requires the largest amount of buses and the most time to conduct.  Moving 6th graders to the MS schedule is the least amount of students to transport and the least amount of time needed to do it.  Next year’s middle school busing tier will be the quickest.

Also, the start times for the high school and middle school are flipped back to the way they were between 2009 and 2014 - but with a later start.  While several different configurations can work, the benefit of the change is to maximize our tech student’s instructional time and achieve later start times for high school students.  I know that flipping start times has troubled a few of you.  I apologize.  I would like to explain.  

During my first winter in Quakertown in ‘14, I closed schools seven times due to snow storms.  The first pickup time for middle school students back then was at 6:10 am.  With the snow not melting for months, I saw it as a safety hazard.  Another concern was how high school athletes were missing valuable class time towards the end of the school day for daytime competitions.  With QNB Field, an additional sports field with lights, most of our home athletic competitions can now be under the lights, and better scheduled for family attendance.  The new start time schedule for middle school students next year allows most middle school students to be picked up at 7:00 a.m. or later, with a few exceptions for outlying areas of the district.

As I close out my twenty-fourth year in public education, I will admit this year was the most challenging for me, but it was also the most rewarding.  Student achievement flourished throughout the district because of great teaching and learning.  Our team of professional educators, support staff, and administrators did an excellent job.  Thank you for your support.

Bill Harner


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