Superintendent's Office

Dear Friends of our Schuylkill Haven Area School Community,

Fiscal Responsibility:

As much as I hate to begin a message with financial talk, these conversations have dominated state legislation lately and too often the burden falls back on the taxpayers. Despite struggles across the commonwealth, we as a school district have so much to be thankful for. Behind the scenes we recently closed out our financial audit from last school year and worked extremely hard to erase and overcome a projected deficit of more than one million dollars. We continue to take steps at the state level to increase funding for public schools. We recognize that we are stewards of your tax-payer dollars, so rather than focus on our deficits, we’ve identified several ways to increase revenue in an effort to balance our budget, yielding positive results!

Revenue through Grants, Marketing, In-House Alternative Learning, and Rentals:

We’ve embraced revenue ideas specific to selling marketing packages, generating six figures to offset renovations this past year. You may have noticed the increased signage in our sports venues. We are also renting out our facilities more than ever. We continue to grow our Schuylkill Haven Alternative Learning Environment (SHALE) program and embraced the idea of sending fewer and fewer students to “out-of-district” placements. In-house learning often provides a net savings in excess of $1000 per day, all while providing a far better learning experience for these students. More and more out-of-district families have reached out to us to seek assistance with special education services, noting the quality of our staff and programming. We anticipate revenue in excess of $225,000 in paid tuition this year and have had to turn away some out-of-district students. We have written and received more than $100,000 in grant funds and have channeled that money into staffing, programming, and safety purchases. Through hard work and community partnerships, we eliminated our anticipated 1.2 million dollar deficit for this past school year!

Quality Endures by Investing in the Right Things:

So how are we spending our funding? In last year’s budget presentation, I emphasized how proud I was that a majority of our budget is spent on staffing costs and not administrative overhead and building maintenance. The percentages spent in each category reflect our investment in people to provide our students with best possible learning experiences. One of our top priorities is academic growth, evidenced by our significant investment in professional development and programs such as Step by Step Learning, Orton Gillingham Dyslexia Training, ST Math Software, Imagine Learning Language Arts Programing, and several others. We continue to make major technology investments such as Schoology, Virtual Learning Network, and numerous hardware upgrades. Some staff recently participated in a safety training called Stop the Bleed, in addition to supplemental purchases to increase STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) opportunities at all three levels. We couldn’t be more excited for the academic future of this school district!

Keeping the Campus Safe and Modern:

Having said all that, we hope to close out some major campus projects in the next few years. We made major electrical upgrades this past summer and changed over the Rotary Field Team Utility Building to natural gas. While security upgrades are on-going with additional cameras, vinyl window/entrance coverings, and card readers, other projects are nearing completion. We closed out the gymnasium renovation for the start of the winter season, but will explore upgrades this summer to the bleachers to provide more floor space for daily use. We will also begin exploring the replacement turf for Rotary Field, which has exceeded its warranty by almost 6 years. We are in the middle of a major restoration project in the pool area. The School District will likely invest more than $100,000 repairing the filtration system and replacing the HVAC ductwork. Once inside, crews found conditions to be worse than expected, but we anticipate a fix that will last for decades to come. Long-term major projects include campus furniture upgrades, parking lot repaving, replacement of HVAC systems, and continuous upgrades specific to security.

#HavenPride:

Schuylkill Haven Area School District is proud to be a part of the community that we serve. We’ve begun sharing the pride we take in our school district by sharing our happenings on several social media platforms. We use the hashtag: #HavenPride, as voted on by our students and staff. We cherish our partnership with you, so when you see great things happening in our community, share them and use the hashtag #HavenPride!

Sincerely,

Dr. Shawn T. Fitzpatrick

Superintendent of Schools

Schuylkill Haven Area School District