The Panther Valley High School will have a year book this year. At this month's earlier school board meeting, several parents questioned the lack of a contract for the book and an advisor for the program. According to a memorandum provided to the school board by Superintendent Rosemary Porembo, following the 2008-2009 school year, the yearbook committee was over $5,000 in debt and had a printing agreement that exceeded $11,000.
"With that scenario, you could see why it would be difficult to continue to do business as usual," she wrote.
High School principal George Gillespie explained that he and Rick Morgans, a former advisor for the yearbook, had met with representatives from Herff Jones, the printing company, and had been able to negotiate a better deal for the district. "We laid our cards on the table. We let them know our concerns," said Gillespie. The Board approved a contract with Herff Jones to produce the 2009-2010 book which will include a hard cover and 100 color pages. The book should cost about $30 per student, which is down from last year's charge of $50. In the past, books have cost as much as $70. "Hopefully, this will get an interest back into buying the book," said Gillespie.
Education Committee chair Donna Trimmel also questioned the quality of the book. Showing her son's book from last year, Trimmel pointed out as many as 50 errors in the book. "There are really big spacing issues. The pictures are blurry. Nowhere in the book are team records. The homecoming king and queen look possessed because they never took the redeye out. It's not quality," she said.
Gillespie noted several circumstances which will hopefully help produce a better book, including the appointment of Morgans as the advisor, which the board also approved. "He has put out quality books in the past," said Gillespie of Morgans. Gillespie also noted the student activity period, which will be held several times during the quarter, which will hopefully draw students into participating more. "In the past, it was more of an afterschool program, and it really did fall on the advisor to meet the deadlines," he said.
Several board members added that they were pleased with the resolution. "We got an excellent solution to a difficult problem," said Director Mickey Angst. Morgans was hired at a stipend of $3,250, per the PVEA contract.
During the public comment session, resident Irene Genther questioned whether or not the board was conducting meetings as a committee of the whole. Genther asked why the board needed to meet for a full hour of executive session prior to each meeting and if, in fact, Angst was barred from those sessions. Genther suggested that the board is reviewing the agenda during the executive session.
"That's how they're able to whiz through it so fast," she noted later. "You have to determine to the state that you operate through committees," she said, "However, if you had a through financial committee meeting, a thorough athletic committee meeting, it wouldn't take an hour to discuss it," she said. Angst agreed with Genther's statement. "I think you're still reviewing too much of the agenda that should not be reviewed in executive session," he said. "I have no desire to be back in executive session," he added.
The Board accepted the resignation for retirement of middle school special education teacher Tom Balliet, effective December 31. Terrance Cavenas was added to the substitute teachers list. Todd Leslie, Cyril Leonard, and Christopher Brugman were added to the list of substitute custodians.