Montrose Area Jr-Sr High School Principal Eric Powers made a case for raising the advisor stipends for the school’s Scholastic Team and National Honor Society.
During the school board work session on Monday, Sept. 12, Powers said the current stipend for the Scholastic Team advisor was set at an annual rate of $500 and asked the board to consider doubling the amount to $1,000.
He said that the scholastic competitions had changed, with more travel and time involved since the rate was set, and he said that he – along with advisor John Koloski – would also be working to build the junior high program.
Powers also advocated for the board to increase the National Honor Society advisor stipend from an annual $750 to $1,000. He noted the time investment required, as well as the implementation of a group community service project. Social Studies teacher Hillori Schenker will serve as the club’s advisor.
During the business meeting, board member Richard Jordan agreed to raise the stipends but said that he did not believe $1,000 was enough given the responsibilities and work involved.
Superintendent Chris McComb said that, while some advisor stipends have been raised as they come up, the district could take a look “across the board,” at the rates.
The board approved the hiring of Alison Lucas as a school psychologist for the district, effective Sept. 14, at a prorated fiscal salary of $90,000.
The board also approved a memorandum of understanding with the Montrose Education Association regarding the school psychologist being placed in the Act 93 administration group.
In addition to the school psychologist hiring, personnel matters dominated the agenda, setting department chairs, mentor teachers; approving substitute teachers and staff hirings; and granting medical leave requests.
Matthew Lonzinski was hired as a Junior High Math Interventionist, retroactive to Aug. 29; and Robin Alexander was approved by the board as an Elementary Math Learning Interventionist, assigned to Choconut Valley.
Kacie Buck was hired as an Autistic Support teacher assigned to the Jr-Sr High School, contingent upon hiring a successor at her current position, but no later than Oct. 31; and Laura Tomeo was hired as a Guidance Counselor at Choconut Valley.
McComb thanked Diane Teter for her 31 years of service to the district as an instructional aide. Teter’s resignation for the purpose of retirement was accepted by the board, effective Sept. 30.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, substitute teacher Julanne Skinner told the board she was concerned about the use of Styrofoam serving trays used for school meals.
Food services director Codie Keogh, of The Nutrition Group, told the board that the Styrofoam trays help keep food service costs within the budget set by the board.
She also said that Lathrop Street is using real trays – as long as they have the staff on site to do so. She also noted that Choconut Valley has been understaffed for over one year and an ongoing struggle with product availability.
Board members said they would like to investigate Skinner’s concerns about the use of the foam plates containing styrene for themselves before making any changes with food service.
A parent in the audience questioned district safety and active shooter training for staff members.
McComb said the district will hold its staff training during the October professional development. “I’m comfortable and confident with our training,” he said.
Board member Paul Adams said student safety is the “highest of high priority” for the district and the board.