Spring nursing classes to go on

MIFFLINTOWN – While the future of the Mifflin-Juniata Career and Technology Center remains uncertain, practical nursing students at the school were offered some security at a Joint Operating Committee meeting held Tuesday in Mifflintown.

On the meeting agenda was a request to begin spring practical nursing classes on March 25 at the school. MJCTC Administrative Director Daniel Potutschnig said approval meant a one-year commitment to new students that their studies would not be interrupted by the pending termination of the partnership between Mifflin and Juniata counties.

“If we start students, we have to have a plan to finish them,” said Alicia Lentz, practical nursing coordinator.

Potutschnig said previous JOC meetings included casual discussion of the program’s future, but the decision for March classes “are now going to start to affect students one way or another.”

After discussion over the potential impact on current and future students, the committee voted to go forward with March classes.

In other business, Potutschnig opened discussion of financial reconciliation between Mifflin County and Juniata County school districts. Walter Harpster, chairman of the board, said budget inconsistencies were discovered after Mifflin County School District became the sole owner of agricultural education programs at the school.

Harpster said MCSD paid 100 percent of agricultural operating costs. However, records presented at the meeting showed that excess money in the budget was erroneously returned to both districts at the end of each school year. The report estimated that Juniata County owes approximately $838,000 to Mifflin County.

Before money is exchanged, JOC member Kirk Rager recommended that the committee seek the services of an independent firm to conduct an audit and forensic investigation of the reconciliation. The committee approved his motion to hire a third party auditor to review district records before further action is taken.

In other business, the committee:

Approved bills for January 2013 in the amount of $193,221.90.

Approved requests for the purchase of items as part of the 2012-2013 Perkins Grant at a cost of $183,246.00. Items will be purchased for administration, medical science, cosmetology, auto mechanics, child care, culinary arts and precision machining.

The next meeting of the Mifflin-Juniata Career and Technology Center Joint Operations Committee meeting is scheduled for 8 p.m. April 9 at MJCTC.