First day of school goes smoothly for Mifflin County

LEWISTOWN – All things considered, the first day of the 2018-19 school year on Thursday was a success.

During Thursday’s business meeting of the Mifflin County School District Board of Directors, Superintendent James Estep said that opening day went pretty well even though the Charles Street bridge project is still ongoing and following several major renovation projects that were undertook over the summer months.

“Given the obstacles we had to overcome, the bridge project, a power outage at Indian Valley Elementary and being on the tail end of the ESCO (Energy Savings) project, it was a very good first day,” Estep said. He noted he visited several of the district’s school buildings throughout the day and was pleased with what he saw. “Generally speaking, everybody seemed to be off to a decent start,” he added.

One of the main concerns was the massive energy savings renovation projects undertaken at several buildings, most notably, Lewistown Intermediate School during a short window of time this summer.

Joe Gagliardo, director of buildings and grounds, noted the work at Lewistown Intermediate was especially challenging, with adding two new boilers and installing air conditioning units, nine of them in all, for the comfort of students and teachers. A lot of other activities also took place at several other buildings, including window replacements, installation of new fire alarm devices, over 10,000 outdoor and indoor light fixtures, new auditorium ceilings and lights and paving at IV Elementary, several new gymnasium floor rehabs, roof work, and the construction of three secure vestibules, among others.

“At the peak of the project, we had over 20 contractors and 153 workers across the district,” Gagliardo reported. “The custodial staff did a bang up job, particularly at LIS. They got everything complete and cleaned up big time for orientation. It was a fun project to be a part of. We got a whole lot of stuff done in a short amount of time.”

Estep also commended the presence of officers from Mifflin County Regional and Lewistown Police departments on the first day of school. “They did some walk throughs in some of the buildings and we really appreciate that,” he commented.

Also on Thursday, board member Mary Lou Sigler, as well as Estep, commented on the recent passing of Dr. Ruth Armstrong, who was member of the board for several years.

“Ruth Armstrong was quite a board member and quite the educator her entire life,” Sigler said.

Estep added, “I would also like to acknowledge Ruth’s many years of service to the board of education of the Mifflin County School District. She had 40-plus years of educational experience. She was a very good lady to work with and very much cared about the kids of this community.”

In other business Thursday, the board:

¯Approved a recommendation that the high school physics I curriculum map be approved as draft implementation for corrections and revisions during the 2018-19 school year.

¯Approved a service contract between the district and Cynthia Heister, occupational therapist, for the 2018-19 school year.

¯Approved Donna McCracken as a bus driver for Fisher’s.

¯Accepted the resignation of Pamela Hunter, paraprofessional at Lewistown Intermediate School, effective Nov. 3, due to retirement.

¯Approved a recommendation to appoint Norma O’Brien as district-wide suicide prevention coordinator for the 2018-19 school year at an annual stipend of $1,500.

¯Approved the following coordinators for the 2018-19 school year: Clint Aurand, mathematics ($2,000 stipend); Nathan King, science ($2,000 stipend); Craig Betts, English as a second language ($2,000 stipend); and Randy Fluke, co-op ($2,000 stipend).

¯ Approved Cathy Yohn as a van driver for J&D’s.

¯ Added Steven Himes to the event staff.

¯ Approved Christopher Faulkner as a volunteer cross country coach.

¯ Hired Christopher Lehman as ninth grade boys basketball coach.

¯ Accepted the resignation of Bonnie Deamer, cafeteria worker, due to personal reasons.

¯ Hired Jerold Schnell as a videographer.

¯ Accepted the resignation of Lori Treaster, cafeteria worker.

¯ Accepted the resignation of Brenda Hutchinson, cafeteria worker, due to new employment.

¯ Hired Alicia Glick and Lori Williams as cafeteria workers.

¯ Removed Tamela Cunningham from the cafeteria sub list.

¯ Accepted the resignation of Melinda Parson, cafeteria worker, due to new employment.

¯ Approved the following paraprofessional transfers: Kathy Krepps from the high school to Indian Valley Elementary; Sherry Roush, from the junior high school to the high school; Nicole Kehler, from Lewistown Elementary to the high school; and Victoria Beasom, from Lewistown Elementary to the junior high school.

¯ Hired Nurudeen Kaffo as a math teacher at the junior high school at a salary of $45,109.

¯ Hired Conner Muir as a learning support teacher at the junior high school at a salary of $41,952.

¯ Accepted the resignation of Brianne McDaniel, kindergarten teacher at Indian Valley Elementary.