Board votes to transfer contract for bus route

MIFFLINTOWN – Glen Swartz, bus owner, and Homer Rowles, busing representative, opened a monthly meeting of the Juniata County School District Board of Directors with public comment in support of bus driver Charles J. Swarner.

An item on the agenda for the Thursday evening meeting recommended the board’s termination of the district’s 2012-2013 transportation contract with Swarner.

Swartz and Rowles said a busing accident that occurred on Dec. 19 should not be cause for termination of the contract. A report from the Pennsylvania State Police Lewistown said a bus operated by Swarner drifted off the roadway at 7:40 a.m. Dec. 19 and traveled down an embankment east of the roadway before rolling on its side. At the time of the crash, Swarner was distracted by a fallen bag and looked down, the report stated.

Rowles, who has been a bus driver for 34 years, said he has been involved in minor accidents himself and asked why the contract would be taken away and who makes that decision.

Juniata County School District Superintendent Richard Musselman said the status of the contract would be the decision of the board. There was no further discussion by the board of directors about the reason for the termination before voting.

In a roll call vote, John Noss and William Book voted against the termination of the contract, with Joseph Shearer abstaining and the remainder of the board voting to terminate the contract. The motion passed, and the contract for Bus Route 28 will be transferred to Liberty Valley Transportation.

Also during the meeting, the school board:

Approved a revised shelter agreement with the American Red Cross.

Approved the purchase and installation of a rear close-off stage drapery from Lawrence Interiors for Juniata High School at a cost of $3,279.

Failed a motion to approve a contract with Real Estate Appraisal and Marketing Associates to appraise the real estate associated with the Mifflin-Juniata Career and Technical Center at a cost of $3,500, and to be completed in 45 days.

Authorized the superintendent to enter into an agreement with a firm to acquire an appraisal of the content property of the CTC, to be completed no later than March 31.

Approved M and J Paving Services to sealcoat designated blacktop areas at Mountain View Elementary School, Tuscarora Junior High School and East Juniata High School at an estimated cost of $6,830.

Approved M and J Paving Services to repair the blacktop in the playground and circular drive areas at Mountain View Elementary School at an estimated cost of $11,993.

Approved the construction of a dividing wall in the East Juniata High School wrestling room. The labor will be completed by the EJHS building trades students at a cost not to exceed $2,000.

Approved the EJHS boys and girls soccer boosters’ installation of a new scoreboard and new shingles on the concession stand roof, along with roof flange, drip edge and fascia. Shingles will be installed by the building trades students and expenses covered by the boosters.

Approved financial reports for December 2012.

Approved a list of bills for payment.

Authorized the 2011-2012 reconciliation payment for the CTC.

Approved a list of taxpayers exonerated from paying 2011-2012 per capita taxes.

Approved awarding low bids for the purchase of cafeteria equipment for EJHS and Juniata High School in order to establish new entree lines.

Approved the retirement of JHS special education teacher Cathy M. Bashore, effective Feb. 15.

Approved the employment of Rebecca S. Ehrenzeller and Kimberly R. Marshall as 5.5-hour paraprofessionals at Mountain View Elementary School, effective Jan. 18.

Authorized the issuance of a permanent professional employee contract to Lynette B. Miller, who has received a satisfactory evaluation after three years as a a temporary professional employee.

Approved the request of Richard A. Meilly II to attend the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials annual conference from March 20 to 22 in Pittsburgh.

Approved that Dr. Teresa Kay Shehan Hughes be advised that it is no longer the intent of the board to renew the assistant superintendent’s contract for a further term. The board will declare the position vacant beginning Aug. 6. The board said this action was not a reflection on Hughes’ performance, but fulfills a legal requirement, enabling the board to explore the possibility of restructuring the district’s administrative staff.