Juniata County administrator under police investigation

MIFFLINTOWN — Juniata County School District’s former director of secondary education is under investigation by the Pennsylvania State Police, Shawn Kovac, the district’s interim superintendent said publicly Thursday night.

Kovac told members of the public that longtime employee Edward Apple is on paid administrative leave during the board of director’s regular meeting.

Kovac did not comment further during the meeting on why Apple was under investigation.

Additionally, the interim superintendent announced that the new superintendent search is well underway, adding that two finalists for the position will be interviewed next week.

Regarding the district’s recent administrative realignment, the board approved Amy Sherman as assistant principal of Juniata Elementary School, effective today, at an annual salary of $79,751.

Sherman, who previously served as a teacher at Juniata Elementary School, will fall under all other provisions of the Act 93 agreement for administrators.

The assistant principal position was created last month in an effort to better meet the needs of the district.

In related news, the board also approved revised job descriptions for the positions of assistant superintendent, secondary principal, elementary principal, elementary assistant principal, Juniata County Virtual Academy principal, dean of students/athletic director and dean of students/instructional coach.

Some members of the public discussed concerns with the school board.

Keith Kint addressed the board regarding bringing the school board meeting room into compliance with ADA standards.

Several months ago, Kint asked the board to take steps to those who are hard of hearing be able to sit in on the meetings, but said he has since heard of no action taken on the matter and requested again that they pursue the matter.

“I would love to come to come to school board meetings…but I can’t hear what’s going on,” he said.

Kint also addressed a number of occurrences over the last several months, including the sudden resignation of the district’s superintendent and issues surrounding Apple.

Kint said he is concerned that the district has paid two employees who are not assigned to any duties.

“I believe this whole board will be replaced within the next two election cycles just because of what has happened.”

Kint said he was against Yarger’s amended contract, which gave him a raise, among other perks.

“I thought he was holding this board hostage over the consolidation, and the board let him do it as far as I’m concerned,” he said. “… I believe a new superintendent, a new board and a new solicitor is what it’s going to take, along with a lot of time and intelligent decisions by all three to eventually allow the residents to gain trust in the school system again.”

Solicitor Scott Etter addressed an issue that arose from a concerned citizen who believes not enough information is divulged regarding what is discussed during executive session. The citizen, he said, cited a case involving the Reading Eagle.

Etter said he believes the board should amend its procedure to give more specific details on what is discussed during executive session.

Among items discussed during Thursday’s session, Etter said, were the superintendent search and status, a change order with a subcontractor at Juniata Elementary School and a water issue with a neighbor of the Juniata Elementary School property.