Slippery Rock Area School Board approved a motion to discontinue the distribution of fluoride tablets by teachers to students during their Jan. 22 meeting.

The board also asked superintendent Lee Beaton to discuss alternative methods of distribution of the pills with district dentist David Duryea and district nurses.

Over the past three meetings, school board members have discussed the legalities of teachers dispensing fluoride tablets, which are a prescription medication, to students.

District solicitor Thomas King told board members that teachers had no authority to dispense the medication to students. But one of the concerns of board members was how parents would be able to get the fluoride tablets for their kids if the district halted distributing them to students.

“Is there away to get fluoride to those in need of it?” board member Tammy Orloski questioned.

“(Students) are getting it free for now, so who is going to pay (if we stop distributing?)” board member Thomas Reiber added.

But the main problem in distributing the pills, according to King, was that teachers are not authorized to distribute prescription medication to students.

“There is simply is no authority for them to do that,” King said. He said only qualified personnel such as Duryea and school nurses could dispense the pills, except in emergency situations.

In the end, the board voted unanimously to stop teachers from dispensing the fluoride tablets to students and asked Beaton to discuss alternative methods of distribution.

In other school news, assistant superintendent Kathy Nogay informed board members that the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) scores of current seniors were a concern.

According to Nogay, out of the 199 current seniors who took the PSSA as juniors last year, 105 had to re-take the test this year as seniors.

“More than half are not proficient in one or more sections,” Nogay said.

The PSSA is divided into a reading section and a math section. A writing section is also included, but is not counted in the final score of the student.

Currently, Slippery Rock Area School District does not require students to pass the PSSA in order to graduate, but Nogay said the school board has the option to change that policy in order to help boost PSSA proficiency.

“We have a policy we can develop and approve to say that we, as a district, reserve the right to determine that students have met proficiency by guaranteeing they have met the standards of the state of Pennsylvania,” Nogay said.

According to Nogay, out of 50 students who retook the reading test, nine more achieved proficiency. Out of 83 students who took the math section over, eight more reached proficiency, and out of 28 students who took the writing test, eight more reached proficiency.

Nogay was quick to note that the school district has always made the required annual yearly progress (AYP) each year.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Web site, “the (PSSA) is a standards based criterion-referenced assessment used to measure a student's attainment of the academic standards while also determining the degree to which school programs enable students to attain proficiency of the standards.”

Slippery Rock Area School Board also discussed the Act 1 earned income tax resolution, which they will need to come to a consensus on by March 13.

The board had discussed imposing an earned income tax increase of .6 percent in the district in order to lower property tax of qualified homestead and farmstead owners, based on the recommendation of the district’s Local Tax Study Commission.

Voters will have the option to reduce the property taxes by shifting to local income taxes in the spring 2007 primary election in May.

A public hearing will be held on the matter at 7 p.m. Feb. 26, right before the school board’s regularly scheduled meeting.

In other school news, Beaton reported that Slippery Rock Area High School assistant principal Jim DeGenova has turned in his resignation, effective May 1, 2007. No reason was given.

In other school news, the board:

ä Approved hiring Barbara Wiles as the kindergarten aide at Moraine Elementary School at a rate of $8.40 an hour.

ä Approved hiring Julie Nicklas as the long term substitute teacher at Slippery Rock Area Elementary School for the remainder of the school year at a salary of $24,500.

ä Approved a resolution that there will be no increase in the rate of any tax for the support of Slippery Rock Area School District for the 2007-08 fiscal year by more than the “index” established by the Department of Education.

The next school board meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 12 at Har-Mer Elementary School.

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