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March 7, 1997     Cape Gazette
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March 7, 1997
 

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14 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, March 7 - March 13, 1997 Cape Board approves new boundaries for election areas By Kerry Kester The Cape Henlopen Board of Education, which approved a plan for district-wide school board election area boundary changes, is submitting the proposal to the legislature, with hope that the legislation will be fast tracked in time for enactment prior to this year's school board election. The board voted unanimously at its Thursday, Feb. 27 meeting to redefine the election boundaries to make each of the four areas more equitable in population as well as more clearly defined. Frederick Schrank, an attorney who do- nated his time to the district, along with Andy Brandenberger, director of business operations, gathered data to develop the proposal. Boundaries in the proposal offer clearly defined land marks, which will make it easier for voters to determine the election area in which they reside. Of importance to those community mem- bers who supported the changes during a public hearing last month, is Area D, the seat held by Sue Shupard and that is up for re-election on May 10. That area, with the proposal, is expanded both by population and geographical size, through a line that now cuts into the former Area C. Parents from the Rehoboth Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) brought the issue to light several months ago, when they discovered there were only approximately 160 people in Area D from which to form a school board candidate pool. That situation, said Clare McDonald, PTO president, could have resulted in no candidate choosing to run, no competition if someone did opt to run, and effective ex- clusion from the candidate pool of the ma- jority of parents whose children attend Re- hoboth Elementary School. Schrank and Brandenberger set the fol- lowing guidelines before developing the election area boundary changes: use easily recognizable land marks; keep the commu- nity of interests together - for example, not divide a housing development; be reason- ably sure that the census data will support the population restrictions through 2003; and apply the acceptable deviation standard of plus or minus five percent to maintain population equity. The population range, they calculated, had to be between 5,146 and 5,688 for each area, based on a mean of 5,417. The popu- lation distribution in the new proposal, said Schrank, is as follows: A - 5,507; B - 5,546; C - 5,229; and D - 5,386. Prior to the pro- posal, the distribution was as follows: A - 4,526; B - 5,813; C - 8,529; and D - 2,800. "These districts are geographical logi- cal," said Schrank. Additionally, he said, the new lines account for the pending ur- banization of Milton. "The proposal ap- lars to meet any legal requirements." The state legislature is schedule to re, con-. vene Tuesday, March 18. Brandenberger said district officials will be meeting with some local legislators on Friday, March 7 to outline the boundary change proposal. On Thursday, March 13, the language for the description will be presented to the Cape Henlopen Board of Education for ap- proval. If the board adopts it, the legisla- tion should make it to the . legislative floor by March 18. Schrank said he believes there will be no problem getting the item on the consent agenda and rapidly passed. Filing deadline for the May 10 election is April 10. Should the bill not pass in time for the election, Schrank said there would be several options available to the district, but they would all require legislative action. Rough draft descriptions of the bound- aries are as follows: Area A starts on the Delaware Bay shore- line between Broadkill Beach and. Roo- sevelt Inlet, near where the Broadkill River runs. The line then runs west through the middle of the river to the mid-point of the confluence of Beaverdam Creek, where it turns south through the middle of the creek to the boundary of the school district. It then follows the district boundary line west to the shoreline of the bay near Fowler's Beach, then south to the beginning point. Area B begins on the shoreline of the bay and is intersected by a perpendicular line through the middle of Route 9 on Lewes Beach. From there it goes west through the middle of Route 9 to the intersection of Sussex 261 until it meets Sussex 285. South from the middle of Sussex 285 the line goes to Route 5, south on that road un- til it meets the intersection of the district's boundary. It follows that boundary west, then north, until it connects to Area A's boundary on Sussex 259 and Beaverdam Creek. It follows the Area A line to the bay, then goes south along the shoreline to the beginning point. Area C starts at the same bay shoreline point as Area B, following the same bound- ary of Area B west, then south until it meets the district boundary. From there the line goes east along the district line to the "grid" south of the Bald Eagle Point tip. It then goes northwest offshore through the center of Love Creek to the Route 24 intersection, where it runs northeast through the center of Route 24 until it meets Route 1. It then runs a short distance south until it meets Sussex 270, where it goes northeast through the center of Sussex 270 until the road stops at the sewerage treatment plant. Then the line goes to the "grid," east, to the shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean, where it moves north, then west along the shoreline to the beginning point of the bay. Area D begins where the Indian River In- let and ocean converge. It goes west, then north until it meets the intersection of Area C and the district boundary. From there it follows the Area C boundary north, then east, until it meets the ocean shoreline, where it then moves south to the beginning point. Schaefer retires from Cape School District dministration By Kerry Kester Ed Schaefer, Cape Henlopen School District supervisor of spe- cial programs, announced his re- tirement from the district on Thursday, Feb. 27. Schaefer, who has 30 years of experience in edu- cation, was employed in the Cape Henlopen School District for the past 18 years. Schaefer's retirement, effective Sept. 1, 1997, will not take him out of the field of education. His plans include working for an edu- cational consulting firm as well as working privately as a computer consultant. 'Tll be working primarily with administrators but also with teach- ers," said Schaefer. The fLrm he'll be working with addresses such educational programs as direct in- struction pro- gramming, effective schools prac- tices and computer technology. Most of the sites are in the southeast, said Schaefer, SCHAEFER but he will provide services to school sites throughout the nation. "I want to continue my involvement with technology, either with the school district [Cape Henlopen] or on a private basis," said Schaefer. 'rhe thing I look forward to is I can continue to use the knowledge base I've developed over the years and continue to have an impact on public education," he said. "That's exciting. 'TI1 miss seeing the people on a daily basis, though. I've been here 18 years, and I've worked with really great people. The po- tential in this district is phenome- nal. Those I worked with are not just my colleagues - they're my friends. "What I'll miss most is the kids, because I won't get to see them - hardly at all," said Schaefer. Schaefer began his career in the district in 1979 as a supervisor of special programs. From 1981 un- til 1982, he served as the acting director of curriculum and instruc- tion. The following year he served as the principal at Shields Elemen- tary School. Beginning in 1984, he worked as the director of elementary and special education, moving into the position of supervisor of special programs and staff development in 1986, where he stayed until tak- ing the job of principal at Shields Elementary School, where he re- mained until 1995. Schaefer holds a bachelor's de- gree of science in political science from St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia, where he graduated in 1969 with honors." He earned his master of science degree in special education from the Uni- versity of Delaware in 1976, where he also graduated with hon- ors. Prior to beginning his career in education, Schaefer held the title of U.S. Navy Petty Officer Third Class, while serving as communi- cations technician in Okinawa, Japan and Turkey. He was honor- ably discharged in 1965. Schaefer, 52, said his new posi- tion will not require moving from the Lewes area. He has two children, Jordan, 14, and Adam, I0, who are students at Cape Henlopen High School and Lewes Middle School, respective- ly. Feichtl Continued from page 1 comments may be related to the recent controversy surrounding Superintendent Suellen Skeen's current contract, which the school board recently learned did not re- fleet board action taken in 1994 when it rolled over administrative contracts. During the 1994 board meeting, minutes reflect the board rolled over all administrators' contracts for one year. That action extend- ed each administrator's contract expiration date by one year. Skeen's name was amongst all other administrators whose con- tracts were roiled over. However, the new contract for that year not only reflected that she had two more years of em- ployment, it also stated that she now had a five, rather than a four year contract, which was the term of her initial contract dated March 11, 1993. Although the initial contract had an addendum SKEEN that read, "Will be eligible for consideration for contract to be extended to a fifth year during December of 1994," nothing in the December 1994 board minutes reflect the board took action on the matter. Discrepancy a mystery One of the superintendent's roles in the Cape Henlopen School District is executive secre- tary to the board. In that capacity, Skeen is responsible for preparing the board minutes. Former Supervisor of Personnel and Information Services Karen Cannon would neither confirm nor deny that Skeen knew in 1994 that there was a discrepancy with her contract. "All administrative contracts that were written by the personnel office were written exactly as di- rected by the superintendent," said Cannon. "My office typed them up at the direction of the superin- tendent." Neither Board President Becki Millman nor Skeen have provided a clear reason for the discrepancy between the contract terms and dates and the board's action. However, the board attempted to rectify the problem with official action during its Thursday, Feb. 27 meeting. After telling the public that the board's attor- ney, Dave Williams of Wilmington, had complet- ed an investi- gation into the issues, board mem- ber Barry Porter moved FEICHTL to confirm Skeen's five-year contract. "While there is some confusion as to the sequence of events, it ap- pears the board intended to extend the term of the superintendent's contract from four years to five years," said Porter. 'he minutes of the board's meetings, however, fail to reflect this intent. The su- perintendent's contract was pre- pared in good faith consistent with the board's intent to provide the superintendent with a five-year contract." Board supports Skeen Porter's motion, seconded by Sue Shupard and approved with a unanimous vote, was followed by Shupard proposing a resolution that was also unanimously accept- ed by the board. The resolution reads as follows: "Whereas the Cape I-Ienlopen Board of Education wishes to ac- knowledge and recognize the edu- cational accomplishments of the school district and the leadership of its superintendent, Dr. Suellen Skeen; And whereas the Cape Hen- lopen Board of Education accepts Continued on page 18