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Preliminary approval given to new drug testing policy for employees

Published May 28. 2010 05:00PM

The Panther Valley School Board approved the first reading of a new policy that will require pre-employment drug testing for superintendents, assistant superintendents, administrators, professional employees and support employees. According to the chair of the policy committee, the type of testing done will be up to the district's discretion. The policy will only apply to new hires, not those currently employed by the District.

The District will see several changes in personnel during the upcoming school year. The Board accepted the resignations of Krista Dunbar, elementary grade 3 teacher, ed Kusko, middle school disciplinarian, and Christine McCarroll, elementary special education teacher. They also appointed Heather Wagner as a full time permanent elementary grade 3 teacher, effective at the start of the 2010-2011 school year, at a salary of $34,685.

The board approved the following transfers for the 2010-2011 school year, as well: Kevin Dillon, from Title I to grade 5, Barb Hadnagy, from grade 5 to Title 1, Johnna Yurko, from grade 5 to grade 3, Ann Michele Houser, from grade 3 to grade 5, Tara Yuricheck, from grade 1 to grade 5, and Theresa Williams from grade 5 to grade 1. Kerry Jones was also placed in the Masters Degree colunn of the PVEA pay scale, effective immediately.

The board voted to post for the full time positions of high school and middle school disciplinarians, at a salary of $110.00 per day for 182 days. The board also approved the posting for a full time school psychologist for the 2010-2011 school term. The position is an Act 93 member, and the starting salary has been set at $60,000.

The board reviewed 40 motions recommended by the education committee, regarding additional positions, including, but not limited to: extended school year teachers, instructional aides, substitutes, team leaders, class and extracurricular advisors. Three of the motions, related to detention monitors were tabled pending further review. Director Dave Hiles questioned the rate of $26/hour for the position; however, that rate is part of the contract.

In other business, the Board approved a 19 month contract with Exelon Energy for retail electricity purchasing from December 2011 to June 2013. According to business manager Kenneth Marx, the contract will save the District approximately $20,000 annually. The Board approved refunds of overpayment of 2009 real estate taxes to Ms. Shirley French, of Summit Hill, and Broadway Properties LLC, of Jim Thorpe, based on assessment appeals.

The board also approved a letter of agreement between Carbon-Monroe-Pike Drug and Alcohol Commission and the Districts for drug & alcohol prevention/intervention services for the upcoming school year in the amount of $7,000. This will grant the District two days of prevention, intervention, consultation, and assessment services weekly and is paid for by the PA Pact grant.

Cafeteria Director Vickie Stahr advised the Board that the cafeteria has received a $59,000 fresh fruit and vegetable grant that will provide up to three additional snacks for elementary school students weekly, until the grant is used up. That program will start next school year.

Graduation ceremonies will take place at the Panther Valley Stadium on June 8th, at 7pm, weather permitting. The school principals advised the Board that many transitional activities have been taking place for students moving from the elementary school to the middle school and from the middle school to the high school.

Elementary school principal William Lombardo said that Jeannine Holter, a representative from the State's Attorney General Office had presented an assembly to the elementary school students about internet safety. Lombardo said that they were surprised to learn that about half of the 1st and 2nd grade and about 80 percent of 3rd and 4th grade students admitted to having a Facebook or Myspace account, even though they are well below the age requirements of the social networking sites. It was suggested that Holter return to the district to speak to parents regarding the dangers of internet predators.

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