Lease on for another month between Shamokin Area, Northwestern
COAL TOWNSHIP - Shamokin Area School District and Northwestern Human Services are currently operating on a month-to-month lease agreement at Northwestern Academy.
The district and the private firm entered a one-year lease agreement in August 2012 valued at $1.3 million. Negotiations continue over the terms of a new agreement.
In the meantime, the district school board approved an extension Tuesday of a one-month deal at a cost of $109,202.91 - the average monthly cost under the terms of the extended agreement.
Shamokin Area operates both the regular education and special education programs on site at the Academy. The district is able to charge a cadet's home school district 150 percent of the tuition rate for the regular education program and 100 percent for special education students.
The district collects lease rental fees on the Academy's behalf.
The school board voted 5-2-1 against covering $25,000 of an Academy secretary's salary.
Director Charles Shuey said the cost is more expensive than the entire salary of a full-time district secretary employed at the facility. If the district doesn't comply with the request, he said Northwestern Human Services has said it will not allow the Academy secretary to train the district secretary on a necessary computer software program.
Shuey called it "extortion" and said he hoped other director's "had the guts to stand up to a bully."
Director Bob Getchey said he would vote in favor on the advice of the district superintendent and business manager.
Voting in favor to deny the request were Shuey, Bernard Sosnoskie, Tracey Witmer, Ed Griffiths and Jeff Kashner. Getchey and Treina Mariano voted in favor. Brian Persing abstained.
The school board also voted to advertise to hire someone to work in a liaison position between the district and the Academy.
Shuey and Witmer together voted in opposition to paying the district's bills, citing costs of stipends paid to administrators for medical expenses. All other directors voted to pay the bills.
In 2012, the district and its administrators agreed to reduce medical stipends from $4,000 to $1,500 as part of the school board's efforts to cut costs. That agreement was in place for one year and has since expired.
Shuey and Witmer said the issue should be revisited.
In other business, the school board voted to approve:
- The first reading of a new maintenance job description for a HVAC technician;
- A $700,000 contract with CSIU to provide special education programs this school year. Shuey opposed;
- A shared service agreement of $10,000 with CSIU for shared curriculum services;
- Pay Berkheimer Associates $0.299 plus postage for each Act 1 mass mailing to district residents;
- A letter of agreement with The Meadows Psychiatric Center, Centre Hall, to provide services to any district student admitted to the rehabilitation center's programs at a cost of $30 hourly for educational services only;
- Substitute rates at $100 daily at Northwestern Academy and $90 daily at the district elementary and middle/high schools. It marked a $10 increase for elementary substitutes, the first increase in 12 years;
- An agreement of $8,150 with Industrial Appraisal Co. to appraise all district-owned properties. The cost will be reimbursed by the district's insurance company;
- The resignation of Sierra Miller, special education teacher, and Connie Boyer, swim coach. The district is seeking an immediate replacement to lead the swim team;
- Reappoint Susan Fletcher as a Project Success math tutor/coordinator and Marc Persing as a math tutor at $18.50 hourly at the high school. Director Persing abstained on the vote on his son;
- Hire Marlene Ashton and Richard Dapra as part-time custodians at $8.10 hourly;
- Name 25 faculty members as advisors for varied student activities and clubs at salaries between $150 and $325 per appointment;
- Appoint Evelyn Madrak and Abby Mangiaruga as student lifeguards for the Community Swim Program at $7.25 hourly;
- Add Jennifer Swartz and Rob Sopko as well as Rhonda Tomcavage, pending clearances, to the event security list;
- Appoint the following coaches: Courtney Schiccatano, junior varsity and varsity girls basketball assistant, $1,530; Ed Getchey, eighth-grade girls basketball coach, $1,275; Eric Heim, seventh-grade girls basketball coach, $1,020;
- Also appoint the following volunteer coaches: Joe Leader, football; Keith Bonshock, junior high football, Christi Cryder, Jordan Rickert, Dana Rutkowski, Jenessa Zack, Director Getchey, junior varsity and varsity girls basketball. Shuey opposed, saying he did not believe school board directors should be coaches;
- Name Ryan Shevitski as student technology specialist at $7.25 hourly no more than three hours daily during the school year;
- Yvonne McGrath, of Ashland, and Ginger Lahr, of Coal Township, as bus drivers for contractor Marvin E. Klinger Inc.;
- Add Rosa Brown to the custodian substitute list, pending receipt of clearances;
- Sherry Glosek to participate in a professional development program for special education, Special Education Leaders Program.