The Haddonfield school district board of education met twice last week: once to approve an amendment to the Kingsway Learning Center acquisition and once for its regular session on May 11 on technology updates and shared enrollment trends.
At a special meeting on May 9, the board heard comments from two residents concerned with the Kingsway acquisition, which was purchased with the intent of converting it into an early childhood education center. It also approved an amendment to the sales agreement for the property.
The board noted that the full-site maps, drawings, budgeting plans and administrative plans for Kingsway would be revealed at the meeting on Wednesday, May 17, but the board rescheduled the meeting until Thursday, May 25.
More information about a proposed early-childhood center is in the bond referendum on the district website, which lays out three main options for creating the center. The first involves purchasing and remodeling the property at 144 Kings HIghway West to “create improved versions of some kindergarten and preschool classrooms that exist in current Haddonfield elementary schools.”
The district has already purchased the property, but the amendment to the contract extended the amount of time the district has to withdraw from the purchase from May 10 to July 21 to allow for more time for inspections and approvals by the Borough.
The other two options would involve using the Hopkins parcel to construct either a new 18-classroom center or a new classroom structure for an early childhood center. But the district would not receive the significant amount of state aid it would see if it renovated an existing building.
More information can be found at https://bit.ly/44Wj4oI.
Superintendent Chuck Klaus announced the continuation of the 1:1 Chromebook assignments for grades three through 12 at the May 11 board meeting. Future rotation plans include having touchscreen Chromebooks for those entering grades three and six that will last through fifth and eighth grade.
Ninth graders will get a new fine-point touch screen that is a flip tablet-style of Chromebook different from the model used in the elementary and middle schools. The new model will include a stylus.
“We had one cracked screen this year, and we had 50 plus last year,” Klaus noted. “Even in the maintenance fees, and the things we were worried about, like the styluses, which we thought would go away and are not cheap, that has not been the case … There’s been a very low number of styluses (being lost).”
Klaus also explained that the reason for upgrading Chromebooks at the high school had to do with math and science classes for which students would use them. Board member Dr. Rachel Brown suggested giving seniors the opportunity to purchase their Chromebooks at the end of four years rather than repurposing them for kindergarteners through second graders.
“There’s something about (being) confident with your technology when you’re starting college that’s appealing,” Brown said.
No decision was made but Klaus said the idea would be considered.
Regarding enrollment numbers, the 2023-’24 freshman class of 242 students is expected to be the biggest in more than a decade. Though the elementary-school numbers are still under capacity, Klaus noted the importance of having options if more students are added closer to September.
“Over the next several weeks, (Assistant Superintendent) Dr. (Gino) Priolo and the elementary-school principals and myself, we’re going to look (at solutions),” Klaus said.
The next board of education meeting will be on Thursday, May 25 at 7 p.m.