Board votes on proposed CTC settlement

LEWISTOWN – The ongoing legal dispute between the Mifflin County and Juniata County school districts over control of the Mifflin-Juniata Career and Technology Center may be coming to an end sooner rather than later.

Following a lengthy executive session on Thursday night, the Mifflin County School District Board of Directors voted unanimously to accept a proposed settlement between the two sides that had been hammered out by a panel of board members from both counties.

“We’ve been in a suit with Juniata County to dissolve the article of agreement with the CTC,” panel member Travis Parkes said. “We met with a panel from Juniata County to come up with a settlement. We want to move forward in our efforts to teach kids in Mifflin County and we would like to teach Juniata County kids at the same time. The agreement that we will vote on tonight reflects what we believe both committees agreed to.”

Superintendent James Estep said details of the settlement would not be released Thursday because the Juniata County School District Board of Directors is expected to take action on it during a special meeting on Tuesday.

“We’re trying to settle kind of whereby Mifflin County assumes ownership of the CTC,” Estep said after the meeting. “It (the settlement) also guarantees continued provisions for Career and Technology education for any Juniata County student that wants it.”

Estep said the settlement does include the “nuts and bolts” on how to do that but those details will remain under wraps until the Juniata County School Board has a chance to discuss and vote on the matter.

“The vote tonight was our board members’ best understanding on what the two committees came up with together. There were no superintendents there. There were no administrators there. It was just two groups of people trying to work out an issue.”

Board President Walter Harpster thanked the Mifflin County School Board members who participated in the negotiations.

“This was a very difficult situation,” he said. “I hope we now have it resolved.”

In other business, the board accepted with regret the resignation of long-time Lewistown and Mifflin County High School girls basketball coach Kevin Kodish, which was a last-minute add-on to the meeting’s agenda.

Vance Varner, director of secondary education, read the surprise announcement to board members.

“After considerable thought, I have decided to resign my position as head girls basketball coach at Mifflin County High School,” Kodish wrote in his resignation letter. “I was hired by the district as head coach in the summer of 1984, and I have loved working with our students through the years. I am very grateful to the Mifflin County School District Board of Directors for their support throughout my 29-year coaching career. I just need to step back now for personal reasons.”

Varner said Kodish’s teams ran up an impressive 597-194 record during his tenure, including two state championships with the Lewistown Area High School in the 1990s.

“I guarantee he’ll be headed to the coaching Hall of Fame,” Varner remarked.

In other business Thursday, the board:

Approved a request by the Lewistown Rotary Club to use the Indian Valley Elementary Center grounds for the 40th Annual Big Valley Invitational Cross Country Meet and to have the fee waived. The event is scheduled for Aug. 31 from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Approved Algebra 1, Algebra 1A and Algebra 1B as planned courses for the 2013-14 school year.

Approved the hiring of Joann Carolus as a custodian at Mifflin County Middle School.

Approved the addition of Dana Shank to the cafeteria substitute list.

Awarded a temporary full-time cook’s helper position at Indian Valley Elementary Center to Carol Gantz.

Accepted the resignation of Joann Carolus, part-time cafeteria worker at the Career and Technology Center, due to accepting a full-time custodian position at Mifflin County Middle School.

Approved Jacqueline Walk as a van driver for Fisher Brothers Inc.

Approved John Hopple Jr. and Jared Lightfoot as drivers for J&D’s Inc.

Approved the following additions to the 2012-13 substitute teacher list: Hannah Wagner, health and phys ed; David Stine, all subject areas; and Sara Taylor, all subject areas.

Accepted the resignation of Starla Fogleman, first grade teacher at Union Elementary School, due to other employment effective at the end of the current school year.

Accepted the resignation of Cynthia Shoemaker, hearing impaired teacher, effective April 9.

Accepted the resignation of Toie Lewis, Title I math teacher at Strodes Mills Elementary School, effective April 15.

Hired Alynda Lewis as a paraprofessional at Lewistown Elementary School for 4.5 hours per day.