MIFFLINTOWN - The Juniata County School Board of Directors voted to approve extracurricular pay-to-play procedures for the 2012-2013 school year at a meeting Thursday.
During public comment, Jill Swartz voiced strong opposition to the recommendation that would require booster clubs to determine cost per athlete, previously set by the school board.
"The proposal that you're going to vote on tonight is a death sentence," she said. "We have got to have a set fee from the school board. If you don't set a fee for them. ... I honestly feel, in a couple years, the sports program is gonna fall apart."
Swartz expressed concern about accountability between parents and urged the board to reconsider placing that responsibility on booster clubs.
The board, with opposition from board members Randy Dressler and Glenda Leister, voted to approve the proposal. In the upcoming school year, the district will pay for athletic trainers, athletic directors and 45 percent of the coaches' salaries and benefits. Individual booster clubs will set pay-to-participate fees based on donations and fundraisers against anticipated costs for the program.
Also during public comment period, Steve Casner, a representative of local transportation providers, asked the board to give busing companies advanced notification of contract changes at the beginning of each school year.
District Superintendent Richard Musselman said the 2011-2012 contract was reviewed and updated for the 2012-2013 school year, including an amendment to change the pay period of transportation providers from every two weeks to once per month.
Casner stated that he was not refusing the contract, but asking the board to revert to the old contract until changes could be discussed further in the future.
The board voted to approve the proposed transportation contracts for the 2012-2013 school year with opposition from board members, Melvin Brubaker and Ray Page.
Also at the meeting, Musselman addressed the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program established by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. On July 25, PDE published a list of low-achieving schools in Pennsylvania, including Tuscarora Valley Elementary School. Musselman said the ranking was based on combined math and reading scored on the previous school year's PSSA tests.
According to the PDE website, students who live within the school's boundaries may be eligible for a scholarship to attend a participating public or nonpublic school. Musselman said the school must be outside the district of the low-achieving school.
Parents of Tuscarora Valley school students will receive letters from the school district notifying them of the school's ranking. For more information, visit the Department of Education's website at www.education.state.pa.us and click on the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program icon.
Also at the meeting, the school board:
Approved the Tuscarora Junior High School Improvement Plan.
Approved a contract with Tuscarora Intermediate Unit 11 for the provision of instructional material services at a cost of $3.85 per student.
Approved the following school meal prices for the 2012-2013 school year; $1.25 for full-paying student breakfast, $2 for full-paying elementary student lunch, $2.25 for full-paying secondary student lunch, $2.25 for adult breakfast, $3.25 for adult lunch and 50 cents for extra milk.
Approved an agreement with NHS Pennsylvania for the provision of educational services to students with autism or emotional disturbances.
Approved a contract with Tuscarora Intermediate Unit 11 to provide special education services, including occupational therapy, speech therapy and physical therapy, July 1 through June 30.
Approved Christie L. Holderman as principal of Fermanagh-Mifflintown and Walker elementary schools.
Approved reinstatement of the following furloughed employees as Level II paraprofessionals; Cheri L. Peck, Stacey J. Hower and Debra J. Henry.
Reinstated the employment of elementary teacher Harry F. Pearce to provide Title I services to Juniata Mennonite School 2.5 hours per day, at a prorated hourly rate based on the current salary step schedule, paid from Title I funds.
Approved the purchase of football/student accident insurance for the 2012-2013 school year from Bollinger Insurance at a cost of $7,500.