Susquehanna Community board looks to hire new elementary principal

After four years of serving in dual roles in the Susquehanna County School District, Superintendent and Elementary Principal Bronson Stone is stepping away from one at the end of the school year.
At the Wednesday, March 21 school board meeting, the board voted to advertise to hire a new elementary principal for the district.
Stone, who has served as superintendent for he past 15 years, took on the extra position following the 2014 retirement of longtime principal Robert Keyes, in an effort to minimize district expenditures. But with increase of duties required in both jobs, the board acted Wednesday to post the principal’s position.
Remarking on school safety, Stone said district personnel have met with law enforcement officials. He said there will be more meetings and the district will do more training. “We’re going to tread cautiously and make sure we stay a school,” Stone said. “We’re not a prison.”
The board also approved a five-year contract for Business Manager Gary Kiernan, effective through 2023.
In his report, Kiernan reported that the 2018-19 budget work is underway and the proposed budget will be conservative. He said the district’s state pension contribution rate will be 33.43% – amounting to a $164,000 increase over this year’s costs; and health care increases are expected to total about $117,000 above this year’s rate.
In better budget news, the board renewed the contract with school meal provided, The Nutrition Group, for the upcoming year at a guarantee of about $31,000.
After decades of financial losses in food service, the expected loss this year was about $94,000. But, Stone said, the group has exceeded expectations, and has recoup about $60,000 of those expected lost funds.
Three notices of retirement were accepted by the board:
Elizabeth Updyke will retire after the first quarter of the 2018-19 school year; Bonnie Holmes is retiring from her position as High School Cook Manager at the end of the school year; and Stacie Hilton from food service, effective March 2.
The board also accepted the resignation of Joe Burke from his position as boys’ elementary basketball coach.
March has been unlucky in terms of snow days, Stone said. And make-up days were considered with the adoption of the 2018-19 school calendar.
The superintendent said next year’s calendar was a little different than previous years, with make-up days added to the end of the school year.
In June, Susquehanna Community will be operating a volunteer-based monthly food pantry, through the Council of Economic Opportunity’s People Helping People.
Stone said 34 school districts participate in the program, with Blue Ridge, Mountain View and Forest City among those. About 5-8 volunteers will be needed each month for the food pantry. Students from various clubs or sports teams will also likely serve as volunteers.
The pantry will be open to anyone with a child in the school district and is slated to start on the first Monday of June. Families will be able to register for the monthly food package, which also includes milk.

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