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Academy sees growth in 2019-20 enrollment

LEWISTOWN — Enrollment is up for the 2019-20 school year at the Mifflin Count Academy of Science and Technology.

Assistant Director John Bilich told the academy’s operating committee during its regular meeting Thursday night that they are projecting to have 442 students — up from last year’s 436 — enrolled and they are seeing a higher retention rate for second and third-year students than in the past.

“That’s a hats off to our students because one of the main reasons we lose students from first year to second year to third year is they failed one or more classes at their high school and they don’t have enough time in their schedule to make those classes up the following year,” said Bilich. “So they’re forced to choose to graduate with their friends and stay on track or keep coming to the academy. Most of the time, people want to graduate on time. So our students are really buckling down in their courses at the high school so they can pass those and continue over here.”

Bilich said the incoming class has 152 students, which could grow before the start of the school year.

One hundred and twenty of those students are from Mifflin County School District, while 23 are coming from Juniata High School. Nine students are coming from East Juniata, Bilich said.

The school’s assistant director also provided the operating committee with an update on National Occupational Competency Testing Institute and National Incident Management System testing scores for the 2018-19 school year.

“This is our version of the Keystones,” Bilich said. “Our goal has been to graduate 85 percent of our seniors and have them score competent or advanced on that test. This year, we hit exactly 85 percent — with 55 percent of our seniors graduating in advance and 30 percent scoring competent on the test.”

Bilich said while academy students are performing below state average on Keystone tests in literature and algebra, they are performing above state average on NOCTI and NIMS.

“A real kudos to our instructors and our students for working really hard at their craft,” said Bilich. We’re really proud of our testing scores over the last couple years because they’ve been top notch.”

The operating committee also:

¯Approved the 2019-20 calendar for employees contracted to work 260 days.

¯Approved to have Apollo Fence Company replace current swing gates with slide gates along with needed security and safety features for $13,141.

¯Approved to have Mid-State Contractors supply electric to the new slide gates and run a hard connection to the office for manual access at a cost of $1,640.

¯Approved the purchase of a 2011 International Prostar for CDL training program at a cost of $20,000.

¯Approved the purchase of a 2006 Great Dane dry van trailer for CDL training program at a cost of $7,000.

¯Approved the purchase of a 2004 Fontaine flatbed trailer for CDL training program at a cost of $7,500.

¯Approved the renewal of a lease with Samuel Kint for the CDL training lot at 1132 Industrial Park Road, Mifflintown, for one year at a monthly cost of $750, plus utilities.

¯Renewed the contract with Kozak Advertising for billboard-related services for one year at a cost of $2,500.

¯Approved authorization for Dan Potutschnig to electronically sign and submit the 2019-20 Carl Perkins Grant.

¯Retroactively approved Miles and Turner Construction to set a utility pole for a school sign at a cost of $750.

¯Approved to have Mid-State Commercial Contractors supply and install the needed meter base panel that will supply electricity to a new school sign at $1,130.

¯Approved an updated Safe Schools memorandum of understanding with the Mifflin County Regional Police.

¯Approved requesting bids on the engineered bathroom drawings, once received.

¯Authorized issuing permanent professional employee contracts to the following instructors after successfully completing three years as a temporary professional employee: Steve Hogle, Terry Wilt and Mindy Philips.

¯Approved resignations of Christine Matthews, cosmetology teacher, and Kailie Bell, part-time practical nursing instructor.

¯Hired Jeff Berger as full-time CDL instructor on step 1 of the salary schedule at an annual rate of $40,316.

¯Hired Nick Crownover as a custodial/maintenance intern with payroll and taxes to be covered by Central Susquehanna Opportunities.

¯Accepted Selena Breneman as an unpaid summer office intern.

¯Approved administration to advertise and hire or fill any job openings to be approved retroactively at the August meeting. This would not pertain to new job openings, but would allow the school to fill any current positions that have or may become open.

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