Staying ahead of weather

Altoona’s Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School and the Shade-Central City School District in Somerset County merit notice for actions taken in recent weeks, BG deserving a thumbs-up and Shade, a thumbs-down.

Starting with next school year, BG will implement “virtual education days” to replace snow days. That means BG will be able to maintain the number of education days required by law without having to add class days in June stemming from weather cancellations.

The new setup will be possible because each BG student has an iPad, funded through the school’s donors.

On virtual education days, students will sign in on their iPad for each of their classes. Their teachers will take attendance, then proceed with the schoolwork of the day.

It is an interesting effort that can be successful if all involved work to make it so.

As for Shade, the news is pessimistic.

According to the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat, Shade’s school board voted about a month ago to drop the district’s music program to save approximately $200,000.

Unfortunately, the savings is a pittance when stacked up against the value of students being exposed to music as part of their overall educational experience.

A board member said the difference next year from making music entirely extracurricular will be smaller than local residents and students think. That’s hard to fathom, thus the thumbs-down.

Music isn’t as intensive as science or mathematics, but students’ educational experience is enhanced by it. It shouldn’t be banned from the classroom.

Meanwhile, the state gets a thumbs-down for its decision not to compensate counties for expenses they incurred because of a late change to last week’s Republican ballot.

Some counties will lose thousands of dollars in connection with the state Supreme Court’s ordering the removal of GOP gubernatorial challenger Bob Guzzardi from that party’s ballots. Guzzardi also merits a thumbs-down for failing to file a necessary document on time, which prompted the high court’s decision.

Antis Township residents are on the verge of getting computer access to their municipality’s laws. The township supervisors merit a thumbs-up, not only for making electronic access possible, but also for the review and updating of township ordinances that’s currently underway.

When the two projects are completed, people wondering about what a law on the books stipulates will have easy access to it from the comfort of their homes.

Some people might accuse the Mirror of acting in its own self-interest by giving a thumbs-down to Altoona’s Government Study Commission for its proposal to write a charter that doesn’t include the requirement to advertise ordinances.

It’s true that the Mirror earns revenue from what are termed legal advertisements. However, Altoona residents need convenient access to ongoing municipal information affecting their lives, especially changes taking place in their government. It’s the Mirror’s duty to make space available for such advertisements.

Making the information available both in the Mirror and online is preferable, and that has nothing to do with the Mirror’s bottom line.