Juniata County School Board continues discussion about preliminary budget

MIFFLINTOWN – Discussions continued regarding the preliminary budget for the 2014-15 school year during a special Tuesday workshop meeting of the Juniata County School Board of Directors.

Members of the board discussed the addition of three librarians at the elementary school level. Director Ray Page asked why those jobs could not be used at the high school. The response came from the elementary principals who said many of the key elements needed for the high schools and middle schools are not being taught at a young age so bad habits are sticking with the students. Board member Amy Wagner helped clarify the librarians’ role.

“These people would be more like media specialists,” Wagner said. “They would be helping the kids to learn how to properly type on a keyboard, help them to remember login credentials. This position at the elementary schools will help to save time that is being wasted in the other schools to help with these basic techniques.”

The elementary principals agreed and said they would need all three to help teach younger students with this new technology. Page said he was still concerned that the students would not be using their minds as much as they should, but the principals said they can help to combat this with other learning in the classroom and these new programs would be more like “specials” once a week, rather than a daily occurrence.

Vice President Glenda Leister asked how the board is budgeting for new curriculum such as books. The response was that money has been set aside and a committee has been formed to help to discover what may need to be updated in the

future, both in books and other teaching aides. Leister also asked business manager Richard Meily about the budgeting for cyber school. Meily said the numbers have started to go down in recent years.

“Anything like trying to budget for a cyber school program is tough,” Meily said. “We have been seeing a progress of more kids staying on the traditional school route, in the past two years, so that we have been looking at numbers to help budget that program.”

Also discussed at the meeting:

– Superintendent Richard Musselman gave an overview update on the East Juniata High School shop area project, Juniata High School well field location, EJHS well field location, and the Tuscarora Junior High School security vestibule.

– Wash stations installed at Walker Elementary are to be used until the well situation at the school can be fixed properly as it poses a safety concern to the students.

The Juniata County School Board of Directors next meets at 7 p.m. Feb. 13 at Fermanagh-Mifflintown Elementary School, where the preliminary budget is expected to be adopted.