MIFFLINTOWN - Transportation arrangements for two Juniata County students remained in limbo throughout a meeting of the school board of directors held Thursday night in Mifflintown.
Transportation coordinator Philip Adam said a van route was left vacant by a former driver who relinquished the route. In previous years, two routes were run separately for two special needs students in need of transportation to and from learning support services. The routes were recently consolidated into one longer, but more efficient, run that required a 6 to 8 hour layover for local drivers.
Adam said local drivers did not express interest in the route, which would be paid by mileage and driving time, but not idle layover time.
Instead, Adam said it made sense to assign a subcontractor to the route who was local to the students' destination area, therefore eliminating the need to travel back to Juniata County between routes or spend unpaid time waiting for students' dismissal.
School board members expressed concern about an agenda item recommending approval of drivers designated by company (Gilson Transportation, Hart's Charters and Rohrer Bus Services) to cover this and other routes.
"We contracted Rohrer to look over our busing, not take over our busing," said board member Randy Dressler.
He and Ray Page urged Adam to work more with Juniata County drivers.
A member of the public rose from her seat and asked board members to consider the circumstances of the relinquished route in their decision. The person who has been driving the van route for years requested, but was not granted, more compensation for running the longer route, she said. The conflict influenced his decision to step down, she said.
Adam said drivers are paid for the route, not down time. For that reason, he said, subcontracting a driver from the area of the destination made more sense for the district.
The original recommendation to approve the following individuals failed with no second: Cheryl Seddon, Gilson Transportation van driver; Eugene Wyland, shared substitute van driver; Kayla Mitchell, shared substitute van driver; Mary Adam, Gilson Transportation special education school bus driver; Darlene Mease, Hart's Charters spare driver; Timothy Black, Rohrer Bus Service substitute bus driver; Robert Clouser, Rohrer Bus Service substitute bus driver and Martha Sutherlen, Rohrer Bus Service van driver.
Adam and school district administration urged the board to reconsider their lack of action on the agenda item. Without approval, they said, two students would be without transportation to school the next morning.
Dressler put another motion on the table, suggesting to approve the original recommendation except for those listed as Rohrer Bus Service substitutes.
Before Board President Danny Snyder called for a vote, board member Glenda Leister amended the motion. Her amendment recommended approving the full list of substitute drivers, but removing the company affiliation from paperwork.
The amended motion passed with opposition from Dressler and John Noss.
Also during the meeting, Superintendent Richard Musselman recognized Dressler on the Honor Roll of School Board Service. He said school board directors today have a difficult job and are recognized every eight, 12, 16, 20 years for their service to the district.
During a public comment period, Angela Laub, mother of four, stood in support of her two children who attend Tuscarora Valley Elementary School. She said parents received no notice from the district when the school was placed on lockdown Monday.
"I am glad we had principals and a superintendent who put the school on lockdown," she said, but she was concerned that parents were not notified of the incident until the next day.
After the meeting, Musselman said Tuscarora Valley was placed on lockdown Monday as a precautionary measure. The school received a call from state police that they were searching for a person of interest who they had reason to believe was in the area.
Musselman said there was no threat on the school. Administration kept students in from recess as a precautionary measure, he said.
"We missed the mark by not sending something home," he said.
However, the district has taken steps to correct the miscommunication. He said the objective of the district is to keep students safe.
In other new business, the board:
Approved the sale of land and building known as the former Susquehanna Elementary School to Susquehanna Township, Juniata County, for $114,100.98.
Approved a contract with Tuscarora Intermediate Unit 11 to provide special education services July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014.
Approved contractors for snow removal services for 2013-2014.
Approved Hostler's Custom Woodworks to install a wheelchair access ramp at Mountain View Elementary School at a cost of $17,750.
Approved a request from the Juniata softball boosters to place a 10-foot-by-18-foot concession stand at the Juniata High School softball field. The concession stand is being given to the softball boosters by the Juniata girls soccer boosters.
Approved financial reports for September 2013 and a listing of bills for payment.
Approved Nutrikids to provide food service management products and support to the district, at an estimated cost of $30,970.
Approved a revised agreement with River Rock Academy Services, Inc. for the provision of transportation for identified Juniata County School District students to the West Perry campus at a daily rate of $30.
Approved the Juniata County School District Professional Growth Plan.
Approved the resignation of East Juniata High School paraprofessional Tricia J. Erhard, effective Oct. 10.
Approved Matthew S. Patrick as a Level I paraprofessional at East Juniata High School at an hourly rate of $9.74, effective Oct. 21. Patrick replaces Tricia Erhard.
Denied a recommendation for a petition for a salary schedule adjustment submitted by Rodney L. Shoop.
Approved Melissa A. Shepps as a home and school visitor, replacing an elementary guidance counselor position, upon her release from her current school of employment.
Approved Randy C. Leister as a five-hour custodian at Juniata High School, at an hourly rate of $10.58, effective Oct. 18, 2013. Leister replaces Brett Wagner, who has resigned.
Approved Lonnie L. Williamson as a five-hour custodian at Tuscarora Junior High School, at an hourly rate of $10.58, effective Oct. 25. Williamson replaces Glenn Dressler, who is retiring.
Approved the reinstatement of Catherine E. Durst as a substitute teacher and substitute paraprofessional.
Approved Sarah E.M. Brubaker, Andrew Ciecierski, Diane K. Dressler, Heather M. Fultz, Crystal D. Marshall, Susan S. Matsui and Stacy L. Overcash as substitute teachers, and Brenda M. Jones, Nicole E. Sheeler, Jennifer S. Waltzer and Paula A. Wray as substitute paraprofessionals.
Approved the following mentor teachers for the 2013-2014 school year: Mentors Bonnie Seigler, Jan Klinger, Jessica Morgan, Jennifer Hund, Nancy Cipriani, Renee Elsasser, Sara Dodson and Kurt Condo; and teacher inductees Elyse Patrick, Erin Robinson, Cortney Wright, Arlen Saner, Carissa Bowersox, Jessica Berkheimer, Angela Wagner and Laura Sheets.
Approved the following conference requests in accordance with the Juniata County School District Conference Policy: Carissa Bowersox and Nancy Cipriani, Association of School Psychologists Conference, State College, Oct. 23; Jennifer Hart and Tanya Williams, Book Sale, Ithaca, N.Y., Oct. 28.
Approved Reisinger Family Practice to provide sports physicals at East Juniata High School for the 2013-2014 school year.
Approved 2013-2014 activity advisors and officers.
Approved the following extracurricular positions for the 2013-2014 school year: Justin Erb, junior high boys' soccer co-coach; Dennis Sankey, junior high boys' soccer co-coach; Jarred Dressler, assistant wrestling coach; Laura Sheets, junior class advisor; Travis Quichi, girls basketball coach; Denis Leister, girls basketball assistant coach; Brock Anders, boys basketball coach; Brian Dressler, boys basketball assistant coach; and Tyler Dressler, junior high boys basketball coach. Game personnel Tammy Brackbill, Kasi Coder, Linda Dreibelbis, Michelle Hart, Ann Hart, Bryan Hart, Rodney Hart, Dawn Kauffman, Chris Kuhn, Kim Leister, Lynn Mingle, Matt Snyder, Bonnie Strawser, Lexi Troutman, James Tusing and Ed Weaver also were approved.
Approved the following Juniata High School volunteer wrestling coaches for the 2013-2014 school year: Robert Hart, Adam Dimm, James Whitesel, Mark Feltman, Robert Rowles, Tyler Gilson, Adam Barrick, Ray Barrick, Kurt Condo, Garry Price Sr., Garry Price Jr., Michael Robinson Jr., Phillip Bomberger, Randy Treaster, Zach Bomberger, Adam Smith, Jared Price, Tim Dowling, James Fitzgerald, Shane Clinger, Dave Kellison, Rusty Beitz, Seth Beitz, Zack Beitz and Matthew Patrick.
Approved the purchase of a new high jump ($5,695) and pole vault pit ($13,495), mats and standards, to include shipping, for the Juniata High School track and field program. These items are on sale until the end of October, which saves the district $2,300.