BY PAT FARNELLI
The Mountain View School Board unanimously approved a 2018-19 final budget in the amount of $21,497,740.63 at their meeting Monday night, June 25.
The final budget report was presented by business manager Tom Witiak.
He noted that revenues in the district are going up, and that this budget is lower than last year’s. “We’re always going to have a gap,” he concluded.
Board members agreed, citing the rising costs of health insurance and retirement benefits.
The board also authorized a transfer of funds from the General Fund to Debt Service Fund in the amount of $43,184.56 for the July 1 bond payment of $6,939.84 for the Bond Series of 2018.
District Maintenance Director Bob Taylor reported on the Elementary School building construction that is currently underway. He said that the elementary library is now a “big dirt pit,” and that excavation of the boiler room and lobby are also happening.
Taylor reported that the lump in the school’s lobby floor was found to be a layer of pea gravel. A structural engineer is working with the crew as they remove and haul away materials. He said that the boilers are both gone, and a new pad is being put in place for the new boilers scheduled to arrive this week. All of the air handlers and univents have also been removed.
The elementary and high school principals reported on end of the year events and said that all of the teachers participated in “Stop the Bleed” and Active Shooter trainings.
A visitor, Dan Anthony, asked why the district put a request for bids out for shuttle bus contractors, but then rehired the most recent contractor. “You put shuttle buses out for bid and accepted the highest bidder instead of the lowest,” he said. “There were three bids on one contract and you awarded it to the highest bid. They raised rates, which they did not have to: is that illegal?”
Board president Mike Barhite replied, “No, we voted to keep the contractor we had in place.”
Another visitor asked why bids aren’t opened in the public meeting.
Witiak said he opened the bids himself in front of a witness, which was legal because it was considered an internal bidding situation, only available to contractors already hired by the district.
“I’m devastated and heartbroken,” Anthony said.
The shuttle bus contractors who were approved were as follows: Gary Sarnauskas, Clifford; Barb Fuller, Harford/Lenox: and Linda Anthony, Hop Bottom.
The school board held executive sessions on Monday, June 25 for personnel reasons, and to discuss contract negotiations for Act 93 administrators.
Special Services Director Stephanie Anuszewski spoke about Life Centered curriculum for multi-disability students in the district. She discussed the issues in grading students on skills like dishwashing, teeth brushing, and coffee cart operation, and how to measure growth in functional performance.
As Dan Very has replaced Ed Napierkowski as board treasurer, his name was added to the General Fund, Service Fund, Cafeteria Fund, and Debt Service Fund, replacing Napierkowski’s.
Other items before the board included:
*An agreement between the district and Bayada was approved for the summer months, as nurses were not available for the Extended School Year program. This program is provided for special services students who show regression if they are out of school during summer months.
*Jan Price of Clifford Township was re-appointed by the board as Athletic Director for the 2018-19 school year, with a stipend of $6,500. A list of coaches’ stipends was also approved as presented to the board.
*The following Extended School Year faculty and staff were approved: Teacher: Katie Naegele; Paraprofessional: Donna Jacoby; Substitute teacher: Miranda Price.
*The board approved advertising for a long-term chemistry substitute.
*Summer School Professional Staff were hired: Dawn Chase, Math; Todd Calabro, Science; Stephanie Kile, English. This program is for high school students needing credit recovery instruction, who did not pass courses.
*The board adopted PSBA’s Principles for Governance and Leadership as presented.
*The board re-approved the 2018-19 school calendar, with some changes due to the new teacher contract which was approved at the last meeting. The school year for students was reduced from 186 days to 182 days, as well.
*The board approved ASSET STEM education agreement for the 2018-19 school year. This is a science curriculum program out of Pittsburgh that is non-profit. The district rents modules for science classes, which are sent back to be refurbished and reused.