LEWISTOWN - With the opening day of school now less than a week away, Mifflin County School District officials want to assure the public that, despite rumors to the contrary, Indian Valley Elementary School will be ready to accept students for the first day of classes on Aug. 22.
During a workshop meeting of the Mifflin County School District Board of Directors Thursday, Superintendent James Estep, along with two representatives of Reynolds Construction Management, reported that work continues on the school's renovation project, but the building will be open on time.
"The myth that is the Mifflin County rumor mill for a week or two now has been running strong," Estep said prior to the Reynolds update. "The word out there is that the building will not be ready to be open and we're going to bus kids to alternate schools. Those are complete rumors and are not the truth."
Estep said the renovation project will continue into the school year, however, classes will not be disrupted.
"When you do a project with multiple plans, things can look sloppy and then very quickly be cleaned up in just a few days," Estep said. "We're not seeking perfection where perfection can't be found. With a multi-phase plan, kids may have to walk on concrete floors instead of tile or some of the ceiling may still be exposed but I can tell you it will not be unsafe. It's a work in progress. You make do and you modify. The bottom line is the building will be ready, it will be functional, and it will be safe."
Reynolds representative Jerry Myers echoed Estep's sentiments.
"We're confident we're going to get it done," he said. "The kitchen is still a little iffy. We're waiting for the kitchen to be inspected, which we expect to be either Tuesday or Wednesday. The cafeteria is being painted (today). There will still be a concrete floor and the old tables will be in use. For the most part, we're confident the building will be ready to open up."
In the event of a delay with the inspection, Estep said administration is consulting with the district's director of food service, Melanie Hill, about possibly providing bag lunches for the first two days of school.
Also representing Reynolds was Mike Kline, who has been on the site for the duration of the project. Kline said the new cafeteria tables will not be delivered until after school starts, however, he said he has arranged to have the old tables returned in time for the opening.
"Regardless of how the food gets there, the kids need and will have a safe place to eat," Kline added.
Following that presentation, the board discussed the following items scheduled for consideration at the board's Aug. 22 voting meeting:
Approval of bus/van drivers for the 2013-14 school year.
A request to provide transportation services to the following parochial and private schools: Belleville Mennonite School, Mifflin County Christian Academy, Beth-El Christian Day School, Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic School, Valley View Christian School and Coffee Run School.
Approval of bus stops for the 2013-14 school year.
The resignation of Sarah Watson, literacy coach/reading specialist at Lewistown Elementary School, due to personal reasons.
The resignation of Cynthia Pierce, school nurse at several schools, due to personal reasons.
The hiring of Casey Drake and Lara Young as a permanent first grade teachers at Strodes Mills Elementary School effective at the start of the 2013-14 school year.
A recommendation to hire Kierstin Walker as a temporary second grade teacher at East Derry Elementary from approximately Sept. 7 through the end of the 2013-14 school year or less.
The hiring of Crystal Fabina as a permanent second grade teacher at Lewistown Elementary School effective at the start of the 2013-14 school year.
The hiring of Becca Zook as a temporary learning support teacher at the junior high school effective for the 2013-14 school year or less.
The hiring of Sara O'Neal as a Title I language arts K-3 literacy coach districtwide effective at the start of the 2013-14 school year.
The hiring of Emily Walker as a temporary third grade teacher at Lewistown Elementary School effective for the 2013-14 school year or less.
The resignation of Brooke Kodish, itinerant emotional support teacher at the middle and junior high schools, due to relocation.
The resignation of Nanette Anslinger, elementary computer teacher at Lewistown Elementary and East Derry Elementary, due to relocation.
The hiring of Joshua Manning as a permanent learning support teacher at the middle school effective at the start of the 2013-14 school year.
The hiring of Nicholas Wilson as a permanent learning support teacher at Lewistown Elementary School effective at the start of the 2013-14 school year.
The hiring of Sylvia Franklin as a permanent Title I reading specialist at Strodes Mills Elementary School effective at the start of the 2013-14 school year.
Approval of the following teachers to serve as mentors for the 2013-14 school year: Abigail Goss, Catherine Borger, Kimbra Eckley and Mandy Maxwell.
The following deletions from the 2013-14 substitute teacher list: Shannon Amici-Snook, Carol Booher, Kari Cullen, Michelle Edmison, Seth Kilmer, Chelsey Markel, Steven McLaughlin, Violet Metzler, Richard Yingling, Casey Drake, Brooke Kodish, Ronald Lynch, Emily Mater, Nicholas Wilson and Dennis Young.
The following additions to the substitute teacher list: Jean Aungst, elementary; Anthony Berich, elementary; Karen Gehrett, English & reading; Paula Getz, elementary; Debra Hayes, elementary; David Howe, biology & general science; Cheryl Kauffman, elementary; Robison Lauver, math; W. Catherine Lechien, socially and emotionally disturbed and library science; David McCachren, physics and math; Georgia Olson, health and phys ed; Charles Patterson, general science, earth and space, chemistry; Robert Schwartz, biology and general science; James Searfoss, communications, secondary principal; Megan Shipe, early childhood; Karen Soccio, early childhood; Angela Wagner, elementary; Shawn Wagner, social studies; Joanne Williams, elementary; Sharon Wilson, Spanish; Stephanie Yetter, elementary; Alesia Baumgardner, elementary; Jaime Hess, art; Kelsey Price, elementary; Marvin Reinke, emergency; Kelsey Rhodes, early childhood; Angela Wagner, elementary; Katlyn Weaver, early childhood; and Margaret Zook, mentally retarded, elementary school guidance.
The hiring of Sabrina DeVecchis as a paraprofessional at the high school for seven hours per day effective at the start of the 2013-14 school year.
Recommended approval of a memorandum of understanding between the district and the Association of Mifflin County Educators regarding the interpretation and implementation of the MC Online education program, a partnership to reduce cyber school costs and provide opportunities to educate kids who otherwise might go to a charter school.
The resignation of Ashley Suydam, first assistant field hockey coach.
The hiring of Chelsea Zook as first assistant field hockey coach.
The hiring of the following coaches for the 2013-14 school year: Travis Eckley, assistant junior high softball; and Mark Shilling, assistant junior high boys basketball.
Approval of the following volunteer coaches: Jerold Schnell, football and junior high softball; Ashley Suydam, field hockey; and Adam Stout, wrestling.
-Recommend approval for the Mifflin County Marching Band to attend the Tournament of Bands Atlantic Coast Championship Series Show on Oct. 27 at Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey.