Upper St. Clair School District’s budget passes
School directors in Upper St. Clair approved the district’s proposed 2014-15 budget at the May 12 meeting. Expenditures stand at $69,145,201 and the proposed millage rate is 22.1957 mills, an increase over 2013’s 21.4130 mills. The proposed budget passed 8-1, with board member Louis Oliverio voting against it.
Frosina Cordisco, district director of finance, presented updated numbers at the meeting, which also included $4,263,960 in the district’s fund balance.
Further discussion on the budget will take place at the regular board meeting May 27 and at a special meeting scheduled for 5 p.m. June 9.
Student driving policy
Student board representatives Christian Meyer and Brinda Doshi presented to the board recommendations regarding changes to the district’s policy on student drivers.
Meyer, a junior at Upper St. Clair, said that the policy needs to change because of the growing needs for families, students who work and those who participate in after-school sports and activities.
Right now, the district’s policy states that students are not permitted to drive to school unless the student has an “approved off-campus job, learning experiences, handicapping conditions and exceptional family circumstances.”
It goes on to state that the student driving to school is not permitted to arrive to school in the same vehicle as his/her siblings.
“We know not all of these students go to work right after school,” Meyer said. He said currently about 177 students drive to school each day.
Doshi, a senior, added that the policy on students driving to school dates to 1979, with the last revision in 2004.
Meyer said they are proposing two updates to the policy – one would be to permit siblings to drive to and from school in the same vehicle, and the other to permit students to drive to school if they have before or after-school activities.
“It would be an extra convenience for my parents and my brother,” said Meyer, who will be a senior next year and has a brother who will be a freshman. He said with both of his parents working, it would be easier for him to drive his brother to school instead of him waiting for the bus.
Doshi said it would also be convenient for parents of students on the swim team. Swimmers often have to be at school at 5 a.m. for practice and it would be more convenient for the student to be able to drive themselves, she said.
Meyer said the proposed way students would receive a pass would be based on a weighted lottery system. The amount of times a student’s name is placed in the lottery would depend on different factors, such as the number of activities they are participating in or their grades.
Both Doshi and Meyer pointed out that other area school districts like Canon-McMillan, Chartiers Valley and Mt. Lebanon do not have any restrictions on student parking.
Doshi said they are proposing a $50 per semester parking fee. The parking lot has a capacity for about 250 vehicles.
“We’ve needed to have a change for some time,” said board member Buffy Hasco, who called the current policy “draconian.” She said it “didn’t seem to make a lot of sense” to her when her child was a senior in high school and her other child was a freshman and they could not ride to school together.
Board member Harry Kunselman said, “I can envision a lot of complaints,” from students who have sports that don’s start at the beginning of the semester. He said there could be a situation where the school would end up with doing multiple lotteries throughout the year for parking permits.
“I’m definitely in favor of making some changes,” said board member Rebecca Stern.
Superintendent Dr. Patrick O’Toole said that the administration would take the students’ presentation and comments from the board into consideration while working on policy revisions. He said the first reading of the student driving policy is set for the May 27 meeting.