Following the failure of a motion by two of his fellow school board members at last month's regular meeting, Panther Valley School Board Director R. Mickey Angst sent a letter to the board requesting a public hearing on the matter of his attending executive sessions.
"It is important that I attend executive sessions," said Angst in his letter.
According to Angst, the Pennsylvania School Board Association recommended the public hearing request as his next step. After the meeting, board President Jeff Markovich and Superintendent Rosemary Porembo said that they are exploring the board's options in the matter. Angst was removed from the executive sessions after allegedly revealing sensitive material discussed in the sessions to the public.
The board also received correspondence from Attorney Joseph Velitsky regarding delinquent taxes owed by Ms. Gail Card of Coaldale, particularly questioning the billing practices of Portnoff, the district's collection service. Velitsky wrote that the additional fees, including court costs, attorney fees, and interest, were "outrageous" and hoped to increase people's awareness of the costs involved. Velitsky also added that he will be looking into the legality of the matter and also comparing Portnoff's costs to those that would have been levied by the County collection service if they had been utilized instead.
The board also approved a one year extension of the contract with the Nutrition Group. The Group has been providing cafeteria services to the district for the 2009-2010 school year. The new contract contains a guarantee of a gain of no less than $2,507.03 for the district. Angst questioned the current rate of delinquent lunch bills, which business manager Kenneth Marx, Jr. said are running at approximately half of the rate of the previous year, which was between $15,000-16,000.
Director Anthony DeMarco advised the board that he had recently attended the Nesquehoning borough meeting and the council had unanimously voted not to participate in funding a crossing arm at the railroad crossing near the elementary school. "I am disappointed," said DeMarco. "I thought it was a no-brainer." Markovich added, "They're really not worried about the safety of our kids." DeMarco said that it was suggested that all four of the boroughs in the District help pay for the crossing modifications.
The board approved the 2010-2011 facilities plan committee report for the CLIU. Several of the directors added that they hope to see some presentations and explanations of what they are being asked to approve in the future.
The board also rejected a bid made to the Carbon County Tax Claim Bureau on the Verta Property at 401 West Bertsch Street in Lansford. District solicitor Robert Yurchak advised that the amount offered is insufficient.
In other business, the board approved a revised job description for the high school guidance counselor. Homebound instruction was approved for a 6th grade student, a 7th grade student, a 9th grade student, and a 10th grade student. The board accepted the resignation for retirement of Evelyn Babish, as an elementary school one on one instructional aide, effective August 16, 2010. Brian Veglia was approved as a short term substitute to the middle school retroactive to March 15 and continuing until April 22. Ashley Stanek was approved as a short term substitute at the middle school retroactive to March 17th and to continue to April 30. The board also added Kathleen O'Donnell and Lori Dacey to the list of substitutes for the 2009-2010 school year.