CATAWISSA RR - Other changes have been occurring at the Southern Columbia Area School District, including pay-to-play.

The district's hope is to raise $20,000 in revenue with the fee, which charges parents $50 per student or $100 per family yearly to participate in sports or extracurricular activities.

Superintendent Paul Caputo said there have been no signs of the fee impacting student participation.

More than 260 student are already involved in activities that began in August, and fees received top $13,000.

Class AA

The high school varsity football team will be competing for the first time as a Class AA school.

The Tigers won 22 of the last 23 District 4 Class A championships and six PIAA Class A crowns.

New staff; positions open

Three new staff members - David Fegley, a middle school algebra instructor, Mary Beatty, a long term substitute middle school counselor, and Shawnee Robel, a health room technician - will be welcomed into the district today.

The district also has two openings in the administration. Middle school principal Angela Farronato and business manager Mike Sokoloski accepted positions elsewhere and resigned from their positions. Applications for both posts will be accepted until Friday.

Caputo said both roles will be filled temporarily, similarly to when the elementary principal exited last year. He said he might take on part or all of the role of middle school principal until the "right person to lead the building" is found.

Building updates

The high school/middle school auditorium stage was restored to its original design, and the maintenance staff constructed risers embedded into the stage. New stage curtains will arrive sometime during the year to complete the project.

The interior courtyard has been spruced up and converted into an outdoor classroom. Wellness and environmental and agricultural science lessons are planned for this space.

The elementary and high schools were brightened with new coats of fresh paint. A new flagpole donated by Elysburg Lodge No. 349 Free and Accepted Masons was erected at Tiger Stadium. McClure Company donated two LED lights that are used to illuminate the flag.

A nearly completed timbering project spearheaded by Kort Forestry yielded about 34,000 board feet of lumber and provided the district with more than $6,000 in revenue.

The Guaranteed Energy Savings Project authorized by the Board of Education in April is nearly complete. The project was expected to save the district more than $4 million over the next twenty years, allowing the district to redirect money toward necessary facility repairs.

Among the improvements are district wide lighting upgrades, "plug load" management, building envelope upgrades, HVAC upgrades and roofing upgrades.

A Safe Schools Grant was used to install cameras in the elementary school and card readers on playground doors. Active shooter drills were conducted in conjunction with the local police departments over the summer, and additional drills and safety exercises are planned.

Student meds

A new system has been implemented to store and distribute student medication. All medication received will now be kept in a locked medicine cabinet and monitored using video surveillance.

The change comes on the heels of a resignation by secondary school nurse Lisa Fleishauer, effective May 30.

Fleishauer was accused of tampering with student medication after medication she stored in her office appeared abnormal when she distributed it.

Parents or guardians are now required to hand their child's medication to the nurse along with a physician's order.