Tamaqua Area School Board approves personnel moves
The Tamaqua Area School District Board of Education approved a number of personnel moves during Tuesday night's regular monthly meeting.
Roberta Hill, Tamaqua, was hired as a full-time custodian.
Amanda L. Woodring was hired as middle school yearbook advisor, at the rate of $350.
Dwayne E. Hacker, Tuscarora, was added to the security staff. Hacker is also a corporal with the Tamaqua Police Department.
Olga Williams, Tamaqua, was approved as a part-time cafeteria monitor.
Angela M. Hoppes, Port Carbon, was added to the substitute teacher list.
The following persons were approved as guest teachers: Abigail Knoblauch and Robert Pickett, both of Tamaqua; Ashley Guzinski and Bridget Gaughan, both of Shenandoah; Ashley Grube and Kristine Kelly, both of Orwigsburg; David Pogash, New Philadelphia; Kristin Prokop, Pottsville; John Andrews, New Ringgold; Tina Burns, Andreas; Frank Parano, Nesquehoning; and Amy Stetts, Frackville.
The resignations of Amanda Burdess, full-time paraprofessional and Pamela Rehrig, part-time paraprofessiona, were accepted. Mary Berk was added as a part-time paraprofessional.
Lauren D. Elston, middle school teacher, was granted a family and medical leave, starting on or about Dec. 11, to return on or about March 1, 2010.
The following retirements were accepted: Patricia A. Beaver, effective Nov. 30, and Diane Waak, effective Dec. 31.
In other business, the board followed the recommendation of its hearing committee and suspended a 12 year-old middle school student for one calendar year for a violation of the school district's disciplinary policy.
The district will accept the donation of $7,895 from the swim and dive booster club, which will be used for a six-lane yellow reflecting scoreboard, with two team lines.
Homebound instruction was approved for two students.
The board authorized Business Manager Connie Ligenza to participate in the Pennsylvania Education Joint Purchasing Council's bid process for the 2010-2011 fiscal year for general, paper, art, maintenance, custodial, computer, food service and athletic supplies.
Ligenza was also authorized to participate in the federal E-rate program for the 2010-11 funding year.
A proposal from Berkheimer Outsourcing, Bethlehem, was accepted to print and mail the 2010 Homestead/Farmstead applications, at the cost of $0.278.
The district will prepare a bid proposal for the repair of a chiller unit for Rush Elementary School, Hometown. Facilities Manager Arthur Oakes, Jr. estimated last week that repair costs for the unit are in the $55,000 range.
The board also approved a proposed settlement with respect to two tax parcels, 65-24-2 and 65-25.1.4,, between St. Luke's Hospital, Bethlehem, and the school district.
Tracy Ann Perry, West Penn Township, a candidate for the school board, questioned the potential refinancing of two bond issues, from 2001 and 2003. John B. Kelly of PNC Capital Markets, Philadelphia, discussed possible bond refunding with the board's finance committee last week, suggesting that interest rates were favorable for such a move.
The finance committee recommended a minimum threshold of $95,000 in savings before the district would move ahead on such a bond refinancing.
Board President Larry A. Wittig, however, said such a recommendation is now moot, since the market has since moved dramatically away from such a bond refunding, and any savings would be considerably less than the $95,000 threshold.
Superintendent Carol Makuta said the board has considered a parameters resolution, which would authorize administration to act quickly if interest rates would once again become favorable for refinancing the bond within the established savings threshold.
Perry also inquired why a drug testing policy for students in grades 7-12, which had been discussed at last week's committee meetings, wasn't on this week's agenda. Makuta said that Stephen Toth, assistant high school principal, is still gathering information on possible testing programs.
Proposed amendments to the Schuylkill Intermediate Unit 29 agreement were also put on hold, as Makuta said Schuylkill County's Superintendents weren't prepared to vote on the amendments this month.
Bus stop question
The meeting was adjourned, but Wittig allowed Jeff Moyer of New Ringgold to address the board regarding the busing of students during an emergency dismissal procedure.
Moyer noted that there is a minimum walk of seventh-tenths of a mile to a bus stop for Chain Circle in West Penn Township, and if roads aren't safe due to the weather, he questioned taking a student to that stop, leaving a student in a remote spot.
Makuta noted that transporation director Mary Ellen Francis worked to consolidate a number of bus runs this year, because some runs in remote and outlying areas of the district had students being returned home after dark, at 5 p.m.
In winter weather, Moyer said students shouldn't be penalized if they can't get to an outlying bus stop. He said there are two single mothers witrh children on Chain Circle who would need to go nearly a mile to a stop on Mush Dahl Road.
In the event a student couldn't make it to a bus stop under such conditions, Makuta said the student would not be charged with an illegal absence.
Moyer noted transportation can be rough in that area during the winter. ''If you call off school, West Penn calls off plowing,'' he said.
Makuta said the emergency guidelines were sent home with students so that they would know what was to be done in case there's a bad emergency. ''We will work with you on this,'' she said.