The Mountain View School board heard budget proposals from both principals, the technical support staff and opened bids for food service at their public meeting on Monday night, April 8.
The technology budget was presented by James Soya and Matt Georgetti. They began the presentation by noting that they replaced 290 laptops in the high school in the previous school year with Chromebooks, which were given to each student to use at school and at home.
They installed Chromebook projectors in guidance and classrooms and replaced 72 laptops elsewhere, also with Chromebooks. With a life expectancy of four to five years, the Chromebooks have streamlined the technology support needed in the high school. “They just work,” Georgetti said. “No weird freezes.”
Soya added, “It would have killed our department to support hat many laptops.”
The next phase of updating district technology involves replacing the district’s file storage servers. Presently, the high school and elementary each has four storage boxes. “We can reduce our storage needs to one box per building,” Soya said. “It’s been seven years since we’ve replaced our storage.”
The special education department is requesting Ipads for student use, he said.
Elementary principal Christopher Lake presented the elementary school budget. Lake said he cut nearly 50 percent of his principal’s budget. He also suggested cutting about $5,000 from the budget for field trips, keeping enough to cover a Washington, D.C. trip and some music trips to performances and festivals. He said that other class trips could request funds from the gas royalty fund, which is to be used for opportunities for students.
After some discussion, the school board members decided to keep the $5,000 in the budget for class trips.
Lake’s total budget proposal for the elementary school in 2019-20 school year was for $216,400. With the field trip funding added back in, the total proposed elementary budget was $246,400, a smaller total than in previous years.
High School Principal Rob Presley showed the proposed budgets for the past three years, as well as what was actually spent. He then showed his proposed budget for the coming school year. “Last year, we budgeted $500,000 for cyber charter school payments, and we actually spent $670,364 on cyber charter schools,” he said.
“Now that we have hired VLN, we are hoping they will go after cyber charter students, advertise our cyber charter program here, and bring back students,” Presley said. “We are budgeting $500,000 but are hoping to save substantially on that with VLN.”
He also reported the costs for vocational training at the Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center has gone up to $9,000 per student for the next school year.
Presley concluded that the total high school proposed budget for the 2019-20 school year is $1,180,680.
Bids by food service management companies were opened. The current company, Nutrition Group, proposed a bid for a $207,263.79 loss.
Another company, Metz Culinary Management, submitted a bid letter, but when it was opened the letter stated they were declining to submit a bid. Several other companies had been invited to bid, but none were received, Business Manager Tom Witiak said.
Witiak reported on student school lunch debt. “Several families owe in the triple digits, and one, with three children, is approaching $1,000,” he said. There was some discussion amongst board members of whether the district should take families with significant debt to magistrate court. No action was taken.
“We will make a decision at the next meeting (Monday, April 22),” said Board President Jason Richmond.
A first reading of Policy #012, Nepotism, was presented by Dr. Christine Plonski-Sezer. A copy of this policy was included in the agenda. The policy aims to prevent nepotism or hiring of close relatives of employees or school board members not based on the individual’s merit.
The board approved Policy #012, Child Abuse. Plonski-Sezer noted that the next Policy Committee meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 1 at 6 p.m., and Policy #003, Policy Readings Amendment, will be reviewed. This policy will eliminate the Mountain View board’s customary reading of policies aloud during meetings.
During principals’ reports, Lake thanked the PTO for their excellent job organizing a parent-son “Glow Dance.” He said that report cards will be sent out on Apr. 16. PSSA tests will be held during the two weeks after Easter break.
Presley noted that ALICE training has been going on to teach high school students, staff and faculty how to respond to an active shooter/intruder. Teachers can now use their cellphones to use the All Call system to alert others in the building in the event of an
Presley said that PSSA testing will be held after Easter Break, followed immediately by Keystone exams.
He said that Lackawanna College is now offering a Level Up program, where students can take college courses over summer months in addition to Dual Enrollment courses and could receive an associates degree from Lackawanna College upon high school graduation.