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Verta building demolition begins today

Published June 24. 2011 05:00PM

The structure located at 401 W. Bertsch Street, Lansford, also known as the Verta property, adjacent to the Panther Valley School District football field, will be coming down. The school board approved a bid for demolition in the amount of $89,000 from Ritter and Paratone at last night's meeting.

The demolition is scheduled to begin today and will be completed by July 13.

In other building-related matters, the board approved the use of facilities by the Jim Thorpe Area School District for the Panther Valley Stadium for Sept. 9, 16, and Oct. 7, 15 and 22. The Jim Thorpe stadium is going to be undergoing renovation this fall and will not be available. Superintendent Rosemary Porembo said that the Panther Valley team's schedule takes preference and in the event that a Panther Valley game is rained out and rescheduled for one of those dates, the Jim Thorpe game would be moved to a Monday.

Although the board voted 4-3 to approve junior high basketball coach Herbert Whilden at a salary of $1,300, district solicitor Robert Yurchak said that the motion required a minimum of five yes votes and in the absence of two board members, Jeff Markovich and Koreen Nalesnik, the motion actually failed.

The board authorized the homestead and farmstead exclusion real estate tax assessment reductions for the school year, beginning July 1, 2011. The district received $737,638 in gambling tax funds. This will reduce property owner's taxes by $210. Property owners will not actually see this money. The tax bills would be an average of $210 more if it was not applied.

The board adopted the final budget for the cafeteria fund in the amount of $856,968. This includes a $100,000 transfer from the general fund. This is the first year since the district entered into an agreement with the Nutrition Group that it anticipates operating at a loss.

Kenneth Marx Jr., district business manager, said that $70,000 will be used to acquire equipment that will belong to the school district; $10,000 will be used for incidental purchases; and the remaining $20,000 is the anticipated loss. Marx said the rising prices of food and the requirements for fresh fruit and vegetables in school meals has led to the anticipated loss.

The district granted tenure to James Gilbert, who has completed three years of service with six satisfactory evaluations, and then furloughed him, effective Aug. 24. It was noted that the district has curtailed the courses of recreation appreciation and lifeguard training in the K-12 physical education program. The agenda advised that "the suspension is the result of the reorganization of the PE/Health Department."

Pay freezes were approved for the superintendent and business manager, the Act 93 staff, and the confidential administrative staff for the 2011-12 school year.

It was mentioned that the district has received one inquiry from an individual interested in running the district's swimming pool through a private organization. Marx noted that the discussion was still in a very preliminary stage.

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