District’s law firm under scrutiny

LEWISTOWN – The law firm that represents the Mifflin County School District is currently under investigation for a number of possible infractions, it was reported Thursday during the business meeting of the Mifflin County School District Board of Directors.

Prior to entering into the agenda items, Superintendent James Estep confirmed the that law firm the district hired last year, Rhoads and Sinon, headquartered in Harrisburg, “is currently under investigation by the district attorney of Chester County over concerns of billing irregularities and possible overbilling.”

Estep said the investigation involves one member of the law firm.

“It involves one member who represented the Coatsville School District,” Estep said. “The attorney in question does not represent us. Having just heard about this and recognizing its importance, I’ll ask that (Chief Financial Officer) Sean (Daubert) assist me to double-check any bills we’ve paid to the firm to date. Quite honestly, from what I’ve seen so far, I see no reason for alarm per se. However, when something like this comes out, it behooves us to look carefully into it. While the investigation is going on it is possible that we won’t be able to receive a lot of information.”

Estep said in the dealings he’s had with the firm to date, he has been satisfied.

“As far as my working with them, I’ve been very impressed with the advisement they’ve been giving us,” he said. “It’s very easy for those with concerns to jump all over us on this. Right now, it’s still an investigation. As of yet, there has been no evidence of any wrongdoing.”

In other business Thursday, the board:

Approved the use of the Mifflin County Middle School gym lobby as a polling place for the Nov. 5 election.

Added Daisy Yetter to the custodian substitute list.

Approved a resolution of the proposed subdivision for the deed of dedication to Oliver Township regarding the subdivision of the former Strodes Mills Middle School property.

Approved the low bid from Bushman Landscaping for snow removal at East Derry, Indian Valley and Strodes Mills Elementary Schools.

Approved the low bid from Mike’s Landscaping for snow removal at the former Strodes Mills Middle School. Estep said that, even though the school is not currently in use, the district must clear the roads and lots at the school in the event of an emergency.

Took no action due to a lack of a motion on a request from the Mifflin County Christmas Musical Group to waive the fee for use of Mifflin County High School for its annual pageant on Dec. 22.

Approved the following change orders for the Indian Valley Elementary School project: $213.49 to remove existing plaster and CSC ceilings to allow access to roof drains; $708.49 for removal of existing plaster ceilings to allow duct work to be installed; $292.63 for work required to patch a hole in an HVAC shaft; $533.75 to repair brick and install a temporary wood panel to provide access to the second floor; $585.62 for removal of an existing tack board in the administration area; $2,966.52 for removal of blown insulation above CSC ceilings; and $263.93 to install a chase wall in the basement.

Took no action due to a lack of a motion on a change order for the same project in the amount of $15,788.58 to add 23 cabinets in the administration area of the Indian Valley Elementary School.

Approved the following lead custodians: Anthony Conner, Lewistown Elementary School; James Rosenberry, Indian Valley Elementary School; Malcolm Maham, Mifflin County High School; and Michael Loudenslager, Mifflin County Junior High School.

Added Kathryn Bubb to the cafeteria substitute list.

Accepted the following part-time cafeteria worker resignations: Michele McKinney, Indian Valley Elementary School; Kimbra Miriello, Mifflin County Middle School; Lori Liddick, Career & Technology Center; and Bobby Walters, Lewistown Intermediate School; and Sheri Snook, Lewistown Elementary School.

Approved the following bus drivers: Michael Fultz, KV Bus Line; Beth Rearick, Fisher Brothers; and Patricia McVicker, J&D’s.

Accepted the resignation of Machelle Kodish, second grade teacher at Lewistown Elementary School, effective Nov. 19 due to personal reasons.

Accepted the resignation of Nancy Aurand, third grade teacher at Lewistown Elementary School, effective at the end of the current school year due to retirement.

Approved the following to be added to the substitute paraprofessional list: Brittany Briar, Jennifer Bubb, Kathryn Bubb, Elizabeth Faulkner, Amanda Hertzler and Justine Laub.

Accepted with regret the resignation of Carolyn Wray, confidential secretary to the superintendent, effective June 30, due to retirement.

Approved the following additions to the substitute teacher list: Carly (Smith) Mattern, all subject areas; Kate Coddington, social studies, English and mid-level math; Heather Fultz, all subject areas; Sadie Shoemaker, all subject areas; and Jann Sherman, elementary.

Approved the following deletions from the substitute teacher list: Mary Ford, Jessica Houtz, William Lundvall, Amber Owen, Ryan Musser, Staci Brittain, Hannah Yoder, and Andrew Davidson.

Hired Megan Harper as a math teacher at Mifflin County Middle School, effective Dec. 4 or sooner.

Approved a recommendation that Heather Singley-Schimpf be removed from the furlough list and considered terminated due to not being available for recall.

Hired Raymond Klinger Jr. as the junior varsity baseball coach for the 2014 season.

Accepted the resignation of swimming coach Connie Welch.

Approved the hiring of Amy Houtz as swimming coach.

Approved the following volunteer coaches: Kevin Stuck, bowling; Melissa Kline, swimming; Francy Becker, swimming; John M. Hilton, boys basketball; Connie Welch, swimming; and Douglas Bohn, softball.

Added Douglas Cramer to the event staff list.