Brubaker walks away from board

MIFFLINTOWN – A seat is vacant on the Juniata County School Board after its membership failed to approve the purchase of new band uniforms for students at East Juniata High School.

Director Melvin Brubaker Jr. was the only member of the board to vote in favor of replacing 100 coats, bibbers, hats and boxes, plumnes, garment bags, 200 raincoats and hangers from DeMoulin Brothers and Company, at a cost of $48,543. Without the support of his peers, the motion failed during a Tuesday board meeting, and Brubaker immediately voiced his resignation.

Before the vote, Brubaker questioned members of the band’s booster club about how much money the organization provides to band functions throughout the year. Representatives estimated the boosters paid $2,500 for transportation to events, $5,000 in festival fees and associated costs and $800 for tuba repair during the past school year. Uniform adjustments are offered to the district by a local volunteer. Overall, representatives estimated that the boosters save the district $8,000 or more per year by supporting the music department.

“We didn’t sit down and talk about this,” said Director Glenda Leister, adding that board approval for band uniforms may open the door to requests by other organizations.

Brubaker urged the board to consider replacing the 16-year-old uniforms, noting that band is a graded part of the school’s curriculum and not considered a sport or extracurricular activity.

Leister said she is not opposed to purchasing the uniforms but wished to look further into other possibilities.

“I think, as a board, we really need to sit down and discuss it,” she said.

Director Amy Wagner backed Leister’s statements, suggesting that the board could look into purchasing a smaller number of traditional uniforms for students who advance to district and regional competitions. The rest of the band, she suggested, could wear more casual, less costly uniforms.

The motion for approval failed in a 7-1 vote with Leister, Wagner and directors John Noss, Ray Page, Larry Rothrock, Joseph Shearer and Danny Snyder voting in opposition. Director Christine Shadel was absent from the meeting.

“I resign, effective immediately,” Brubaker said after the vote, ripping his meeting agenda in two pieces and walking out of the gymnasium.

The rest of the board agreed to look further into potential designs and costs for new uniforms.

“I don’t want anyone to think we don’t want this, but we need to look at all options,” Leister said.

The request for new band uniforms wasn’t the only ongoing fiscal decision to remain unresolved after the board’s business meeting.

Discussion about the replacement of grandstands at Juniata High School’s Dietrick Field continued Tuesday night. The board ultimately decided to seek further recommendations from industry professionals before voting on the project. The total cost for replacement is estimated at $219,467.

In the midst of improvements to district infrastructure, the board on Tuesday approved the 2014-2015 school year budget in the amount of $33,247,888 and real estate tax rate of 58.829 mills. The motion passed 5-2 with Noss and Rothrock voting in opposition.

“I don’t see how we can increase taxes,” Rothrock said.

He attributed the district’s current financial burdens to poor management.

“The residents of Juniata County are not a bottomless pit,” he said.

Rothrock encouraged more proactive work in the future, rather than waiting “’til’ the floor rots to replace it.”

Business Manager Richard Meily said taxes must be raised to fund the district’s current debt, and the recommended increase was the minimum amount allowed by law.

The school board also accepted the resignation of Superintendent Richard J. Musselman, effective June 30. Musselman is leaving to become superintendent for the Midd-West School District.

Richard Daubert was named as the interim superintendent, effective July 1.

Also during the meeting, the board:

Approved an agreement with River Rock Academy for seven reserved slots at a per diem rate of $114.52, or an annual cost of $144,295.20, for the 2014-2015 school year.

Approved two agreements with NHS Pennsylvania for the provision of educational services to students with autism or emotional disturbances. The agreements remain in effect from Aug. 1, 2014, through July 31, 2015.

Approved a contract with Capital Area Intermediate Unit for the provision of special education programs and services for the next school year.

Approved a contract with Tuscarora Intermediate Unit 11 for IMS services for the year, at a cost of $11,257.

Approved the renewal of web-based MAP math, reading and language licensing and web-based MAP for primary grades licensing from Northwest Evaluation Association at a total cost of $35,637.50. The curriculum was implemented for the first time last school year.

Approved the expenditure of $40,000 for the purchase of additional reading materials, in preparation for the implementation of a district-wide guided reading program. The purchase will be funded by Fermanagh-Mifflintown Elementary School’s School Improvement Grant.

Approved the installation of two exterior doors at Thompsontown-Delaware Elementary School and one door at Monroe Elementary School, at a total cost of $5,877.

Approved awarding the bid for servicing of JCSD fire extinguishers to Peifer’s Fire Protection Inc., at a cost of $563.

Approved a contract for the removal and disposal of asbestos containing materials at JHS to R.L. Abatement Inc. at a cost of $3,980.

Approved contracting with David M. Maines and Associates for roof restoration at Lack-Tuscarora Elementary School ($152,047.42) and Mountain View Elementary School ($196,869.43).

Approved contracting with Richard S. Mills Inc. for the replacement of a boiler chimney stack at Lack-Tuscarora Elementary School, at a cost of $3,794.

Approved authorizing administration to solicit sealed bids for the sale of shop equipment, miscellaneous printers and other assorted items.

Approved financial reports for May and a listing of bills for payment.

Approved Boyer and Ritter to conduct the audit of the JCSD for the year ended June 30.

Approved the participation of Mountain View, Tuscarora Valley and Lack-Tuscarora elementary schools in the National Institute of Child Health and Development’s Preadolescent Stress and Coping study.

Approved the retirement of paraprofessionals Jill A. Baumgardner and Paula M. Crimmel.

Approved William D. Hiemer as a teacher for the 2014 Extended School Year program at an hourly rate of $25.

Approved Nicole E. Sheeler as a Level 1 paraprofessional at Thompsontown-Delaware Elementary School, at an hourly rate of $9.89, effective Aug. 21.

Authorized the issuance of a permanent profession employee contract to Leighette S. Sechrist, who has received a satisfactory evaluation after three years as a temporary professional employee.

Approved the following extracurricular positions for the next school year: Becca Zendt, Tuscarora Junior High School girls basketball coach; Becca Zendt and James Fosselman, JHS girls basketball co-assistant coach; Gary Klingensmith, JHS football coach; Kurt Condo and Robert Hart, JHS assistant football coaches; Marcus Brothers, TJHS assistant football coach; Steve McLaughlin, TJHS assistant football coach; Brian Strawser, JHS girls soccer coach; Christopher Alderfer, JHS assistant girls soccer coach; Curt Brackbill, JHS, and Cory Fronk, TJHS, boys soccer coaches; Angela Clark, JHS, and Lori Basom, TJHS, cheerleading coaches; Lori Goodling, EJHS girls soccer coach; Andy Goodling, EJHS assistant girls soccer coach; Donald Troutman, EJHS boys soccer coach; Scot Goodling, EJHS assistant boys soccer coach; Justin Erb, EJHS junior high boys soccer coach; Michael Zendt, EJHS golf coach; and Lori Bashore and Ashle Garman, EJHS cheerleading co-coaches.

Approved the following volunteer extracurricular positions for the next school year: Bruce Brumbaugh, TJHS and JHS, and Meghan Geedey, girls basketball assistant coaches; Dave Kellison, JHS, and Chris Foltz, Chase Kauffman and Scott Clark, TJHS, football coaches; and Lauren Garver and Sharon Storey, JHS cheerleading coaches.