LaRue joins Elk Lake board

Renee LaRue, a new member of the Elk Lake School Board, gets sworn in with board secretary Lori Evans. WYOMING CO. PRESS EXAMINER/BROOKE WILLIAMS

The Elk Lake and Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center boards swore in their newest board member at the Sept. 19 meeting.

Renee LaRue took her oath of office at Thursday’s (Sept. 19) joint board meeting, representing Rush Township.

John Pierson left the seat vacant earlier this summer after the district hired him as a secondary science teacher.

In the Elk Lake meeting, Superintendent Ken Cuomo explained an agenda item that would redirect payments from the Pennsylvania Department of Education straight to the cyber charter schools where district students are enrolled.

When students living in the school district decide to pursue cyber education elsewhere, the district gets billed for their tuition.

“Since this all began, it has been the practice of the Elk Lake School District not to write checks to cyber charter schools, which are predominantly failing institutions, as clearly seen by their academic results,” Cuomo said. “They have had to apply to PDE, who then takes from our money and they redirect our funds to pay their tuition.”

Recently, the state has instituted a monthly $15 per transaction, per cyber school redirect fee.

This could cost Elk Lake over $1,600 per year, so Cuomo said it would be cheaper to cut checks directly to the cyber schools.

The board approved changing the funding practice for cyber charter schools and also gave the administration permission to apply for the Act 44 School Security Grant.

Last year, the district used a $25,000 grant for several security upgrades, Cuomo said.

The board also approved transportation contracts, including $848,867.40 for buses $344,397.60 for cars and vans.

Marc Weisgold, elementary principal, said the school year kicked off with a successful Fun Fest.

Between 700 and 800 people came out and 350 students received backpacks filled with supplies.

On Sept. 27, the elementary school hosts Career Day, and on Oct. 17, the Keystone College Mobile Glass Lab Unit will make a stop at Elk Lake.

John Warnero, high school principal, said the Life Skills class started a recycling program in the district and a new beekeeping elective has been popular among students.

The drama club’s production of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ is also scheduled for Nov. 7-9, he said.

Thursday was the first board meeting for Christel Pond, assistant high school principal, who said the homecoming dance is scheduled for Sept. 28. Homecoming games are on Oct. 4, with a small parade planned.

Classrooms will also be stocked with go-bags filled with security procedures, evacuation plans, student rosters and bus lists to promote school safety.

The board accepted the resignations of junior high baseball and basketball assistant coach Frantz Lincoln, cross country coach Kirsten Hollister and junior high swim coach Jehiel Boner, though Boner has accepted a position as varsity swim coach.

The vacated positions will be advertised to find replacements.

The board hired Erica Shuren for a full-time maintenance/custodial position and approved a transfer for Bryson Jones from one-on-one paraeducator to paraeducator.

Board members also accepted the following activity positions: Jason Casselbury, seventh grade boys basketball coach, $1,803.36; Meghan Casselbury, eighth grade girls basketball coach, $2,293.45; Amber Kelley, girls seventh grade basketball coach, $2,060.56; Rita Edwards, spring assistant drama director, $1,410.84; Kathy Zayleskie, spring art director, $556.92; Jessica Sekely-Constable, assistant varsity track coach, $2,425; Bo Bushnell, boys varsity volleyball coach, $3,261.96; Robert Gagliardi, varsity wrestling coach, $4,932.72; George Delano, Homework Club adviser, $742.58; Brandy Stone, Starry Nights Honor Society adviser, $795.62; and Coleen Warholic, junior high student council adviser, $660.88.

Board members reviewed first readings of policies for board membership, student attendance and withdrawal from school, but took no action.

The board also accepted the following:

*Class officers for the 2019-20 school year.

*A memorandum of understanding with the Children’s Service Center.

*An agreement with Trehab for a student assistance program.

*Agreements with the Graham Academy and First Hospital.

*A dual enrollment agreement with Keystone College for the 2019-20 school year.

*A new student activity account for the class of 2025.

*Eight additions to the substitute teacher list for the 2019-20 school year.

*The Northeast Intermediate Unit 19 guest list for the 2019-20 school year.

*Updates to the lifeguard list.

*Per capita exonerations for two individuals in Rush Township.

*Tuition waivers for 22 students whose parents teach in the school district.

*A 2019-20 contract with County Security Police for security at school events.

*Late run contracts for bussing that rotate every three years, with board member Chuck Place abstaining.

*A land easement and state of compliance easement with Penelec for setting power poles and lines running electric to the new CDL facility.

*Pennsylvania School Boards Association officer positions.

In the career center portion of the meeting, SCCTC Executive Director Alice Davis said through a car show fundraiser, the center donated over $1,500 to the Wounded Warrior Project.

Davis said the Occupational Advisory Committee will take a look Oct. 3 at the CDL program curriculum and make suggestions.

The 150-hour program will include 12 students per class, with a start date likely in the end of October, she said.

The board gave separate approval for the career center to apply for the Act 44 grant and also granted a professional employee contract for David Elliott.

The boards are scheduled to have another joint meeting on Thursday, Oct. 17, at 7 p.m.

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