First Posted: 6/10/2014

Parents and teachers of Dallas School District’s Wycallis Elementary filled the school’s board meeting room on June 9, voicing concerns regarding the loss of their principal, Dr. Paul Reinert, who was recently reassigned to the position of Middle School principal.

The move was necessitated when Dr. Thomas Duffy left his position as middle school principal to become assistant to Superintendent Frank Galicki.

Tom Traver, principal at Dallas Elementary School, will now head both district elementary schools.

Reinert, who at a previous meeting encouraged attendees to support the board’s decision to reassign him, asked the board to reconsider its decision.

“I tried to find the words to support this decision, but I cannot,” said Reinert. “I am not ready to accept this move because I don’t think it is the best thing for our students.”

Board member Bruce Goeringer said he did not have a full understanding of the decision which was “made by a committee.”

A motion made by Goeringer to withdraw to executive session to further discuss Reinert’s transition failed.

Chris Baron, guidance counselor at Wycallis, said, “Educational success demands consistency. The removal of Dr. Reinert would be detrimental to our students. To many of them, it would mean three different principals in five years.”

Second-grade teacher Karent Heltzel said, “Dr. Reinert makes education look easy, but it is not.”

Heltzel requested the board allow Wycallis Elementary to remain the “unique place it now is.”

Board president Larry Schuler said decisions of the board are always made with the long-term interests of students in mind.

In another matter, the board approved its final budget for the 2014-2015 school year in the amount of $35.1 million, calling for tax millage of 12.34, per capita tax of $10, an earned income tax of 1% and an emergency municipal services tax of $52.

The board also approved a resolution opposing House Bill 76, which would shift the tax burden from property owners to wage earners.

Goeringer, in opposition to the resolution, said, “Although this bill is not perfect, it is markedly better than what we have now.”

Board member Jeff Thomas said the bill would not allow school districts access to additional funds in the event of an emergency.

Thomas also cited the unpredictable nature of revenue from sales and use tax for his opposition to the bill as it is now crafted.

Resident Thomas Dombroski said the present tax structure puts an inordinate share of the tax burden on homeowners and senior citizens.

Ronald L. Matusiak was sworn in as a board member by Magistrate James Tupper replacing Fred Parry, who recently passed away, swearing to “support, obey and defend the duties of the office with fidelity.”

The board also recognized several retirees, who together encompassed 141 years of service to the district.

Retiree Bill Wagner, science teacher, said, “This district on its worst day is better than many other districts on their best day and it has been a privilege.”

The board recognized Senior Michael Mihal, designer and builder of a national blue ribbon display case for use by the district.

Mihal, who will attend Penn State Wilkes-Barre and major in engineering/architecture, credited high school technology teacher Mark Golden with providing him with support and direction that made the project possible.

The Dallas High School girls softball team presented a check in the amount of $3,000, reflecting proceeds from a recent fund raiser for autism awareness. Students athletes present at the meeting called the experience, “humbling and inspiring.”

Nicole Darling and Juliana Borzell, of the district’s Career Awareness Program, updated the board and attendees on its recent activities, which emphasizes an understanding of the Career Pathways Program supporting successful transition from education into the workforce.

The next meeting of Dallas Elementary School Board will be held at 7 p.m. on July 14.

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