Mifflin County School Board announces Easter Monday as snow make-up day

LEWISTOWN – In an effort to end the current school year as soon as possible with the junior high school renovation project looming, the Mifflin County School District Board of Directors on Thursday voted to revise the 2013-14 school calendar using April 21 – Easter Monday – as a snow make-up day.

During a workshop meeting on Feb. 20, Superintendent James Estep recommended the change to the calendar as a way to make up at least one of the many days the district has lost due to the amount of school closings to date as a result of harsh winter weather.

“We’d like to utilize that date (as a make-up day) that was originally scheduled as part of Easter vacation,” Estep said Thursday. “This will, at least until Sunday’s storm rolls around, put the last day of school at June 4. This will still help us stay in the first week of June.”

Administrators said they want to get school over as early as they can so workers can begin the renovation project at the Mifflin County Junior High School as soon as possible, with a busy schedule centered around having a great deal of work done while students are not in the building.

In other business Thursday, the board gave its approval to add junior high girls volleyball as a PIAA sport by the district beginning in the 2014-15 school year. During last week’s workshop, Athletic Director Matt Shoemaker presented a proposal that recommended the addition as a way to get the school closer to Title IX levels and to introduce girls to the sport at a younger age. He estimated the cost of the program for its first year would be in the $8,000 range.

Also approved on Thursday was a proposal to hire a graduate assistant trainer through the Sports Medicine Services Agreement with University Orthopedics Center as an addendum to the current contract beginning next school year. During the Feb. 20 workshop, Shoemaker said the graduate assistant trainer would come from Lock Haven University and cost $15,000, which would represent an $8,000 to $10,000 savings over hiring a full-time trainer.

In other business, the board approved 13 change orders for various work completed at the Indian Valley Elementary Center renovation project. Three change orders, $614.65 for painting GFT walls in the basement faculty room, $2,594.55 to add an aluminum angle in front of storage cubbies in the cafeteria, and $2,499.97 to add linoleum flooring to the custodial office, were not approved for lack of a motion. Those projects, according to Dallas Stahlman, director of buildings and grounds, have not yet been completed and can be taken care of in-house.

Stahlman also gave an update on the ongoing roof problem being experienced at the high school. With the season’s heavy snow and ice conditions, Stahlman said several areas of the roof have been damaged to the point that portions of the sidewalk in front of the building have been cordoned off for safety reasons. He said he is awaiting a meeting with the manufacturer of snow guards that were failing, as well as representatives of the roof manufacturer. He added that the district’s insurance adjuster has already been on scene to begin the process of assessing the damage.

“We need to talk to these people so they can give us some direction as to which way to go with this,” Stahlman noted. “As of right now, we’re still waiting on some information. Until this is remedied, we may have to continue to close portions of the sidewalk in front of the school.”

In other business Thursday, the board:

Approved the hiring of Mariann Filler as a full time custodian at the high school effective Feb. 28.

Approved hiring of Michelle Jones for a 3-hour cafeteria position at Lewistown Intermediate School effective Feb. 28.

Approved a recommendation to change Sue Fluke from a part-time custodian to substitute effective Feb. 28.

Approved a request for the $500 fee to be waived for use of the middle school auditorium by the Friends of the Mifflin County Library and the Lewistown Community Band to hold a benefit concert for the library on April 24. The group would still be responsible for a $120 custodian and event staff fee.

Approved a request to waive the $388.13 usage fee for use of the high school by the Indian Valley Elementary/Intermediate Home & School Association for a student variety show April 25 and 26. Vance Varner, director of secondary education, said the association is not being charged the normal building fee because the event involves students. However, the fee being asked to be waived is for the use of janitors at the facility and the fact that the event is taking place on a weekend.

Approved a recommendation to remove Kirk Berrier from the approved bus driver list.

Approved a recommendation that Kimberly Corson be transferred (by bid) from her 5.5 hour cafeteria position at East Derry Elementary to the 6.75 hour full time position at the middle school, effective Feb. 10.

Approved the addition of Amy Banks to the cafeteria substitute list effective Feb. 10.

Approved the resignation of Shannon Fye, part time cafeteria worker at Lewistown Intermediate School, due to other employment.

Approved of Johanna Schuett of Germany as a foreign exchange student at the high school for the 2014-15 school year.

Approved the following retirements at the end of the current school year: Sarah Jean Strunk, school nurse at Lewistown Intermediate, Strodes Mills Elementary and Sacred Heart Schools; Darlene Maple, school psychologist at Indian Valley Elementary and Lewistown Intermediate School; Mary Henry, K-5 emotional support teacher at Indian Valley Elementary; Jack Anderson, gifted support teacher district-wide; Mark Baylor, music teacher at the middle school and Lewistown Intermediate School; Jan Gilbert, kindergarten teacher at Indian Valley Elementary School; and Vicki Shepherd, sixth grade teacher at the middle school.

Approved the resignation of Kaitlin Mamett, school psychologist at East Derry Elementary and the middle school, due to relocation.

Approved the following deletions from the substitute teacher list: Jessica Butler, Virginia Swigart, Carli Hammond, Lisa Kellas, Betty Longfield, Richard Yearick Jr., Patricia Czerniakowski, Carol Love and Debra Warntz.

Approved the following additions to the substitute teacher list: Melissa Zilch, special education; Wendy Bonson, elementary K-6 special education; Sarah Stiver, early childhood special education; and Ian Kenney, music K-12.

Approved a request from the Mifflin County High School Marching Band for its spring trip to visit New York City on April 5 and 6.

Approved a request from the high school and junior high school Technology Student Association to attend the TSA State Competition at Seven Springs Resort April 9-12.

Approved a request from the indoor drumline, indoor guard and indoor majorettes to attend the Tournament of Bands Indoor Association Chapter 4 Championships at Bald Eagle Area High School on Sunday, April 27.

Approved a recommendation to grant tenure to Maddie Kauffman.

Approved the hiring of the following coaches for the fall season: Collette Bender, head fall cheerleading; Gregory Loht, head boys cross country; Jennifer Freed, head girls cross country; Natisha MaClay, head girls field hockey; George Miskinis, head football; Ryan Kanaski, golf; Robert Lepley, head boys soccer; Trevor Eckley, head girls soccer; L. Glenn Kyle, head girls tennis; Jill Zegar, head volleyball; and Reavor Eckley, head girls soccer.

Approved the following volunteer coaches for the 2014 season: Rachael Ziegler, track; Craig Johnson, softball; Alexander Haines, baseball; Raymond Klimnger, baseball; and Phillip McKnight, track.

Approved a request by the Mifflin County Computer Club to attend the First Robotics Competition at California University of Pennsylvania from March 26 to March 29. If approved, eight students will attend and all expenses will be paid for by the computer club.