Hamburg Area High School piloting cell phone proposal for students

Hamburg Area High School will be piloting a cell phone proposal that will allow students to text during specific times of the school day.

High school assistant principal Andrew Netznik asked school directors for approval on March 10 to begin the pilot at the start of the fourth quarter of the current school year.

Cell phone usage is one of our biggest discipline issues, Netznik said. Our problems are with (students) texting, not talking. Sometimes its parents texting them.

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Students will be allowed to text in the cafeteria and during privilege study hall, according to Netznik.

Administrators hope that by allowing students to text during specific times it will keep students from texting at inappropriate times.

We looked at it and asked when do we teach whats right, high school principal Chris Spohn said.

In other news, although a final vote on the 2014-15 budget is not expected until June, school directors learned that a minimum cost increase may not be enough to balance the food service budget.

The future does not look friendly, food services coordinator David Shefter said. The cost of labor is significant, the population is dwindling and a minimum increase will not cover the cost.

Continued increases in nutritional standards results in costlier meals, according to Shefter.

We have a considerable fund balance which might right the ship, Shefter said.

Hamburg areas rates for breakfast and lunch for the 2013-14 school year places it in the bottom five of the 18 school districts in Berks County.

Administrators are working on a plan to increase the number of meals served.

Currently 130 students who attend the Berks Career and Technical Center eat lunch at the BCTC.

Spohn hopes to develop a plan which would provide lunch to those students before leaving the high school.

In other news, school directors voted, 5-2, to approve the 2014-15 athletic handbook. Brian Riegel and Natalie Snow cast dissenting votes.

Saying that time was a factor in getting the handbook published for physicals in May, school directors agreed to take a longer look at meshing the athletic and academic handbook regarding disciplinary issues for the 2015-16 school year.

The next meeting of school directors in Monday, April 14 at 6:30 p.m. in the James A. Gilmartin Community Room.