JCSD Board adopts 2014-15 budget

MIFFLINTOWN – The Juniata County School District on Thursday adopted a budget proposal for 2014-2015.

Next year’s budget is balanced with total estimated revenue and expenditures of $33,247,888. Revenue includes a tax rate increase, from 57.459 to 58.829 mills, or 2.38 percent.

An ongoing list of district maintenance and repairs is the source of continued discussion between district administrators and directors. In November, the board approved a $16,320,817 energy savings project that includes improvements to heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems at East Juniata High School, Juniata High School and Tuscarora Junior High School. This spring, the board also approved proposed plans for an industrial arts addition at EJHS.

Moving forward, Superintendent Richard Musselman has encouraged discussion at recent meetings about improvements to the Dietrick Field athletic complex, district-wide roof repairs and replacement of EJHS band uniforms.

A preliminary estimate for replacement of the grandstands at Dietrick Field totaled $219,467. Musselman said the bleachers are beyond reasonable repair and pose a safety hazard to spectators at sporting events. He said the cost of the project may be lower if some district employees are willing to assist with the installation of new grandstands.

Director Glenda Leister said the current bleachers are not wheelchair-accessible. She also encouraged the board to consider the project cost compared to risk of injury. Leister explained that the estimated cost is a “mere drop in the bucket” compared to the financial burden the district would bear if an individual was injured at the field.

Musselman’s recommendation to approve the replacement was tabled.

The board also discussed the replacement of traditional band uniforms at EJHS. Band director Kevin Milliken said traditional uniforms – rather than non-traditional options – are requested because full uniforms are expected as students advance through Pennsylvania Music Educators’ Association events. The current band uniforms were purchased in the fall of 1997 and arrived in spring 1998, he said. Numerous area residents have visited recent board meetings to ask for assistance and describe the poor condition of the uniforms, which are said to be missing pieces and held together by safety pins.

Milliken requested 100 full uniforms, which would cost an estimated $48,543. He said the band is looking to supplement the purchase by funding summer jackets to be worn with the pants at warm-weather events.

There currently are 35 junior high and 35 senior high marching band students, he said, and purchasing less than 100 uniforms would be “risky.” Milliken said it can be difficult to fit students with fewer options.

Action was not taken Thursday night regarding new uniforms, but board President Danny Snyder said the information was one of many items the board has to consider moving forward.

Also during the meeting, the board:

Approved a contract for services with Geisinger Orthopedic Institute for athletic training services, team physician coverage, mandated school physicals, PIAA sports physicals and school physician services for oversight of school nurses.

Approved an agreement with River Rock Academy for seven reserve slots at a per diem rate of $114.52, or an annual cost of $148,303.40, for the 2014-2015 school year.

Approved the purchase of 100 Dell Optiplex 3020SFF desktop computers with 19-inch monitors and 45 Dell Latitude 15 5000 Series laptop computers. The technology is being purchased from Higher Information Group at a cost of $93,739.68.

Approved the purchase of MSDSonline software to convert material safety data sheets to safety data sheets to be in compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirements. The cost for the first year is $2,529, and the annual cost for the next eight years is $2,299. The fee includes access for all district employees.

Approved a print services agreement with Higher Information Group.

Awarded the general construction contract for EJHS industrial arts addition in the amount of $1,367,000 to eciConstruction, subject to solicitor review.

Accepted a proposed amendment to the Guaranteed Energy Savings Agreement with Reynolds Energy Savings for the inclusion of the mechanical, electrical and plumbing scope of work on the EJHS industrial arts addition project. The cost is $1,170,560, subject to solicitor review.

Accepted the revised contract for architectural services from J.P.D. Architects LLC in the reduce amount of $168,000. This includes civil/site-related services for the EJHS addition, based on the proposal dated March 20.

Accepted the revised contract for construction management services from Reynolds in the reduced amount of $98,000 for the addition project.

Awarded the EJHS asbestos abatement contract in the amount of $31,000 to Plymouth Environmental Company.

Approved Kristy Price, Rosa Ryan, Lori Shelley and Thomas Thompson as contracted school bus drivers.

Approved the establishment of an occupational therapist position for the JCSD.

Approved Marihelen Hower and Ellen M. Shearer as substitute teachers.

Approved attendance of six TJHS faculty members at Reading Apprenticeship trainings through June 2015. All costs, except lodging (estimated at $2,400) will be paid by a Supporting Effective Educator Development grant. Training will improve instruction in reading and writing at the school.

Approved the formation of a Ducks Unlimited varsity chapter at Juniata High School, at no expense to the district.

Approved Richard A. Meily II as treasurer of the board of school directors for a one-year term.