EL board avoids talk about off-campus conduct

Times-Shamrock Writer

The Elk Lake School Board indicated during its regular meeting Thursday (Feb. 17) that it was uncomfortable responding to an alleged incident involving a student which occurred away from school property.

During the public comment period, the board was asked if the district’s athletic department has a code of conduct that the students must adhere to. It was explained to the board that the question was being posed because of a student who was stopped by the state police recently in Wyoming County and is facing a charge of DUI of a controlled substance. The arrest occurred off school property and did not occur during a school-related event.

Speaking for the board, Superintendent Ken Cuomo did not address a code of conduct for athletes but explained that the district’s authority for students off school property is “on a pretty short leash.” He said there are guidelines for student behavior in the student handbook, but that only applies within the school setting.

Board President Arden Tewksbury concurred, saying that an attempt by the district to impose rules on students off of school property “is dangerous ground to get into.”

Tewksbury did acknowledge on Tuesday that, “We do have a very strict code of conduct that all basketball players have to adhere to but it only pertains to anything that happens on school grounds or an event that is school-related.”

He added, “What they do face after that may be an issue for ones’s parents, not the district.”

No student’s name was mentioned during the board meeting, but Trooper George Jones indicated in a state police report that “charges will be filed”
against the 18-year-old, who was also not named in the police report for an incident on Feb. 7.

In other business to come before the board, Elementary Principal Marc Weisgold reported that a food bank sponsored at the elementary school last month was a big success, with more than 100 families signing up to participate. The food is provided by the Weinberg Food Pantry, and participation is free to anyone who lives in the district.

Registration for kindergarten will be held March 16, 17, and 18. To be eligible, a child must be five years old by Sept. 1, Weisgold said. Parents must provide proof of immunization for the child, as well as proof of residency, such as an electric bill.

The elementary principal also thanked the PTO for all it has done for the district. He said the organization has been instrumental in helping with such activities as science fairs and field days. This year, the PTO will be supplying a handbook to kindergarten students geared toward orienting them to class.

High School Principal Brian Mallory reported that the spring play “Heroes” will soon be performed. What makes this one special is that it was written by a student – senior Kevin Burns.

Mallory also reported that the state is making adjustments to graduation requirements.

The high school principal also informed the board that the administration is looking at combining two different policies concerning the district’s honor roll requirements. This will make it more efficient, without diminishing it.

The board voted to exonerate district tax collectors from collecting the 2015 per capita and real estate taxes. Collection of the 2015 per capita tax will be turned over to G.H. Harris, while collection of the 2015 property tax will be turned over to the respective county (Susquehanna or Wyoming) that the property is in.

The board also approved leasing a Xerox copier for 60 months for the business office. Cuomo said the savings to the district will be $3,244 per year, compared with the old lease.

Mallory informed the board that the district will have to revise its athletic policy based upon new requirements set down by the PIAA. Among the requirements outlined by Mallory included students’ grades being checked weekly as opposed to every 10 days which is the current policy.

The board also approved Policy 004, which changes the designation of “school board member” to “school director.”

In other business, the board approved the following activity positions: Scott McAleer, Baseball Junior High, $1,935 per year; Baseball Junior High Assistant, Pete McGee, $1,644 per year; Costume Director, Kathy Zayleskie, $503 per year; Soccer Girls JV, Scott McAleer, $1,935 per year; and Softball Varsity Assistant, Mike Murphy, $3,460 per year.

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