By Tod Kline, superintendent, Waynesboro Area School District
The Waynesboro community gets a lot of value for their buck compared to many school districts. We are pretty lucky in that respect.
Don’t get me wrong, education is really expensive, and we can always do better. Nevertheless, the Waynesboro Area School District (WASD) does a very good job for the dollars it spends. We could spend hours debating the issue of public-school value and the costs. I may actually agree with some of the points many might make, but the fact is that WASD gets a good bang for its buck.
WASD gets hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars in grant money each year. It pays for a great deal. However, the bang for your buck is coming from the people of the district. The community, the school board, the families, and the businesses do a great deal to add value to WASD. In addition, we have an excellent staff of teachers, custodians, classroom paraprofessionals, food service members, administrators and so many more. These people make things happen. They go the extra mile.
The district has an employee recognition program called “The Piece of the Puzzle”. Each week, a staff member is nominated by their fellow employees as someone who goes above and beyond to help our students. You would not believe what our folks do for kids. It might be from going to a student’s piano concert, a karate match, their college graduation, or even buying a coat or some other need for a student. That is caring about your customer, client, or, in this case, student. The staff member receives a gold metal puzzled-shaped pin. These are an honor to have. Some have two.
On the actual financial side, there are school districts in the state of Pennsylvania that receive more money per student from the state than Waynesboro spends per student total. Yes, that is correct. The state gives more money to some districts per student than Waynesboro spend in total. Pennsylvania’s (PA) school funding system is broken, but not likely to be fixed unless the case comes before US the Supreme Court. Over fifty percent of PA districts benefit from the system. Less than fifty percent of school districts get less. How can a change pass in the legislature? Representatives will not vote to lessen their school district constituents’ state funding.
Another reason why WASD schools are providing a great value is the relationships and partnerships with the local businesses, municipality governments, and community volunteers. The district has worked to develop stronger relationships with our government agencies by holding roundtables to discuss issues and projects, supporting local municipal projects, and share in the objective to make local communities a great place for its citizens.
Recently, WASD received a letter from the Waynesboro Community Concert Association (WCCA). The WCCA sent the district a letter thanking them for Mrs. Katie Geesaman’s high school students assisting with the November community concert program. WASD also holds sporting events, concerts, participates in parades, and have students work as interns in many businesses. Another value to our community. We can suggest the problems that may be caused by young people today, but most of our kids do the right thing, and are good people from good families. That is value in itself.
WASD wants to continue to strive to be the community’s First Choice in education for their children. We will continue adding value to the community. Please know, we are pretty lucky to have such dedication in our district. I’ve worked in at least four different school districts, and WASD stands above all of those in the level of dedication. Albert Einstein suggested: “strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” Everyday WASD is striving to become of more value to its community and its children.
Tod Kline is the superintendent of Waynesboro Area School District until his retirement in February.