CLEARFIELD – Clearfield High School students will visit historic landmarks in Gettysburg and Washington, D.C. before their graduation.
On Monday night, the Clearfield school board voted, 8-1, to approve a sophomore class field trip to Gettysburg and a senior class field trip to Washington, D.C. The cost of both trips will not exceed $10,000.
Board members Mary Anne Jackson, Phil Carr, Larry Putt, Jennifer Wallace, Tim Morgan, Rick Schickling, Dr. Michael Spencer and Susan Mikesell voted in favor of the class field trips. Board member Gail Ralston cast the only opposing vote.
Last week, Principal Tim Janocko proposed the class field trips, saying he felt it was important for the students to see these historic sites first-hand and to help them to become better citizens. Class lessons, he said, would be tied into the trips, and he and the faculty would develop an itinerary for a future board presentation.
As the board’s vote was being cast, Ralston sought further information about the proposed class field trips. Janocko said since last week, he and Putt had met with two service organizations, and their members were very interested in organizing fundraisers to help defray the transportation costs for the class field trips.
Putt and Janocko announced the service organizations planned to host a community spaghetti dinner this winter. “They were very receptive to the idea and want to work on other ideas. But they’re going to tackle this one first,” added Putt.
When asked, Janocko said the spaghetti dinner would require volunteers from the student body, members of the service organizations and the high school administration, including himself and Assistant Principal Heather Prestash.
Ralston then asked about the district’s policy for field trips. She pointed out the Clearfield High School Marching Band held its own fundraisers for trips and the elementary schools had their Parent Teacher Organizations.
“I’m not against field trips. I’ve been on many myself,” she said. “. . . I just don’t want to establish policy that the district will pick up the difference. The band doesn’t get that. I’m just concerned over the inconsistencies in our policy.”
Putt pointed out the high school band holds many fundraisers throughout the year. Morgan then asked if the district provides some level of funding to other student field trips to which Superintendent Terry Struble indicated it contributes toward the costs of things, such as substitute teachers and transportation.
Ralston told the board she felt the class field trips should have been proposed in September rather than October. She didn’t feel there had been adequate time to gather information and to plan the class field trips.
Spencer said if they waited, it would get tough to reserve transportation for a trip in March, April or May. He told Ralston that in the past, he’s been forced to find transportation outside of the area, and it’s important to arrange it sooner rather than later.
Schickling asked Janocko if the sophomore or senior classes planned to hold any fundraisers of their own. Janocko said he hadn’t gone to the students, as he didn’t want to burden them when they’re already planning other activities, such as the prom.
Schickling said he wanted the students to have a hand in raising funds for their class trips and not just the benefits of going on them. Janocko agreed with Schickling.
Ralston said she wasn’t looking to spoil the district’s plans and only considering how it would want to handle the class field trips down the road.