The Panther Valley school district is preparing to vote on a student drug and alcohol testing policy at their July meeting.

Superintendent Rosemary Porembo explained that the policy committee is in the final stages of drafting the policy. Porembo stressed that the purpose of the policy is not to be punitive, but rather to help students who may be turning to drugs or alcohol and to keep other students safe. The proposal includes voluntary drug testing for all students and a mandatory, random testing program for students participating in extracurricular/co-curricular activities or with parking privileges.

The policy states, "The board wants to provide a legitimate reason for students to refuse to consume or use drugs, and to provide assistance to students who have problems with such substances." It continues, "No student shall be suspended from school, expelled, or otherwise penalized academically as a result of a confirmed positive result under this policy."

The board also approved the final budget for the 2010-2011 school year with proposed expenditures totaling $23,901,607. The budget includes no tax increase for Carbon County and a 1.19 mill reduction for Schuylkill County. The board passed a final budget for the cafeteria of $811,910. This includes a profit of $2,507, by Nutrition, Inc., the company that the district has contracted with to provide cafeteria services. Director Mickey Angst noted that previously, the district lost over $17,000 when they were operating their own cafeteria. The final athletic budget was also approved with expenditures totaling $222,009.

In other business, the board discussed plans for the property at 401 West Bertsch St., adjacent to the football stadium. District Solicitor Robert Yurchak said that the district has acquired the deed to the property and can begin determining what to do with it. Director Dave Hiles said that he and board president Jeff Markovich and George "Smokey" Krajnak, the maintenance supervisor, had completed a preliminary walk through of the building. "There's a lot of stuff in there," said Hiles. "Some of it's junk, some of it's usable."

Hiles said the immediate concern is the amount of chemicals that are stored in the building. According to Hiles, chemicals have been stored in the building in everything from small jars to 55 gallon drums. They will need to be disposed of properly. Markovich and Hiles recommended that the company that already handles the district's chemical waste be contacted about removing and treating the items. Hiles also recommended that the district attempt to recoup some of its expenditures on the building by selling scrap metal and items that may still be functional. Although the district ultimately plans to demolish the building, it is becoming apparent that the process will not be as quick as some had hoped. "It's not going to happen by the first football game," said Hiles. The directors also advised that the property is posted and anyone stepping foot on it will be cited for trespassing.

The following appointments and transfers will take place at the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year: Hollie Carsia from grade 6 learning support teacher to grade 8 learning support teacher, Selene Polaha, grade 6 learning support teacher, Marta McGeeghan from grade 1 learning support teacher to 5th grade learning support teacher, Rebecca Chuma from high school life skills to middle school life skills, and Barbara Boyd from cafeteria floater to high school server. Mary Louise Gauronsky was also approved as permanent part-time transportation clerk, effective July 1, 2010.

Herff Jones was approved as the district's yearbook company for the 2010-2011 school year.

The board approved the pay rate schedule for members of the Act 93 staff and the confidential administrative staff for the 2010-2011 school year. The board also approved the salary of $104,000 for superintendent Rosemary Porembo. It was noted that this increase is in her contract.

The board also met in executive session prior to the regular meeting.

The board will hold only one meeting next month, on July 22, at 7pm.