Octorara Area School District Work Session – January 11, 2016

The Octorara Are School District Board of Directors held their monthly Work Session Meeting on Monday, Jan. 11, 2016. Prior were the Policy and Facilities Committee meetings. Seven Board Members were in attendance. Lisa Bowman, Board President, and Samuel Ganow were both absent. Dr Thomas Newcome, Superintendent, was also absent. The meetings could be described as short and sweet.

The Facilities Committee received a presentation from M&B Environmental regarding the Waste Water System. The system is in need of several components to be either  replaced or updated. While these items need to be planned for, none necessarily will need to be replaced prior to failure, and each of the components can be replaced as needed. However, there does need to be work done by an Engineer in anticipation of repairs.

The Board is being asked to sign an agreement with Signal Service, Inc. and West Fallowfield Township to service the traffic signals on or near the campus from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2017 at $1,225 per year. Somehow, when the lights were put in, way back when, the District got snookered to be financially responsible for the traffic signal lights at Rt 41 & Highland Rd, and the light at the opposite end at Rt 10.

The High School hotwater heater is 20 years old, and not heating water to proper temperatures. This deficit was revealed in the Dept of Health inspection. Maintenance has been working to resolve the problem. However, it is a short term fix, and there are no guaranteed life left. A replacement needs to be budgeted sooner rather than later.

The Policy Committee, as requested, was presented with a list of 15 policies from the 100 and 200 sections that have not been looked at or revised in a long while. This was a “first look” and includes many short policies that may be able to get done quickly. However, others that have not been revised in up to 20 years will require a hard look, including legal review, to ensure we are complying with the law, such as 104 Equal Employment Practice and 104.1 Non-Discrimination. and 140 Charter Schools.

The Board was also presented with Agenda Items to be voted on at the January 18, 2016 Regular Monthly Public Meeting:

    1. That the Octorara Board of School Directors approve the rate schedule for Kegal Kelin Almy & Lord, LLP from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2016.

    1. That the Octorara Board of School Directors approve the annual fiscal audit report of the District for the year ending June 30, 2015 as prepared by the auditing firm of Herbein & Company.

    1. That the Octorara Board of School Directors approve the Independent Contractor Agreement with Leadership Consultancy Consortium for analysis and recommendation of efficiencies for the District.

    1. That the Octorara Board of School Directors approve changing Ms. Tabitha Kauffman from .5 contract to .75 contract effective January 5, 2016 through June 9, 2016. Ms. Kauffman’s salary will be $41,883 which is Step 15 to MAX of the Master’s scale pro-rated. Ms. Kauffman will return to .5 contract after June 9, 2016.

    1. That the Octorara Board of School Directors approve the contract with Signal Service, Inc. and West Fallowfield Township to service the traffic signals on or near the campus from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2017 at $1,225 per year.

    1. That the Octorara Board of School Directors approve the changes in the Octorara Area Sr. High School Program of Studies for the 2016-2017 school year.

    2. That the Octorara Board of School Directors accept, with regret, the resignation for purpose of retirement of Mr. Peter DiMaio as a Spanish teacher at the Octorara Jr. High School effective the end of the 2015-2016 school year. (Hired September 1, 1981)

    3. That the Octorara Board of School Directors accept the resignation of Ms. Lizbet Zavala-Bedola as an ESL assistant at the Octorara Intermediate, Jr. and Sr. High Schools effective January 8, 2016. (Hired September 21, 2015)

    4. That the Octorara Board of School Directors approve Ms. Lauren Daly Clark as a long term substitute special education teacher at the Octorara Elementary School effective January 11, 2016 through the end of the 2015-2016 school year pending completion of employee related documents required by law and the District. Ms. Daly Clark’s salary will be $49,641 pro-rated which is Step 18 to MAX of the Bachelor’s scale. (Replacing Shauna McAllister who will be on child-rearing leave.)

    5. That the Octorara Board of School Directors approve Ms. Patricia Smith as a permanent cafeteria worker. Ms. Smith’s rate will be $9.00 per hour for three hours per day. (Ms. Smith is currently a substitute and is replacing Sharon Austin who resigned.)

    6. That the Octorara Board of School Directors approve the following substitute teachers for the 2015-2016 school year:
      • Yaneth Castro, Emergency
      • Phillip Vitale, Jr, Emergency

5 thoughts on “Octorara Area School District Work Session – January 11, 2016

  1. The OASD was not snookered into the traffic signal maintenance contract with Signal Service. I believe the school district requested the light to be installed and West Fallowfield Twp and the OASD agreed, as long as the school footed the bill for the maintenance of the light. That contract then included the additional flashing lights. The contract does not include the new light at 10/Highland Rd.
    The OASD portion of the contract includes:
    41/Highland Rd Traffic Signal
    41 Flashing Signal
    2 – Flashing 15 mph School Zone Signs.

    • My understanding is that a condition placed on initially installing the light was agreeing to the maintenance. Without it, we risked major accidents. So, the word “agreed” may give the wrong impression. While you may disagree, from my point of view, the idea of the School District being responsible in perpetuity for the maintenance of a traffic light, on a public road, necessary for public safety is a little ridiculous, regardless of if the District requested the light or not.

      • The responsibility and liability is still with West Fallowfield Twp. The “agreement” is to cover the cost of the service contract for those signals. It is not to transfer liability, which the Twp isn’t legally allowed to do.

      • Some of your response is semantics. It is a “maintenance contract” for “the maintenance of your traffic signal systems.” The DIstrict is being asked to pay this in lieu of actual maintenance costs, which may or may not be required.

        However, you kinda acknowledge my point. The responsibility and liability is the township’s, and I don’t believe the District should be paying it.

        I know in the grand scheme of things, it is not very much money. However, it is money the District really doesn’t have to spend. Especially, when it is not the District’s responsibility and liability.

        The District has had 2 consecutive years of deficits, and is expecting to end 2015-16 again in a deficit. With the 2016-17 budget, the Board has to find a way to cut deficit spending, while at the same time keeping the tax increase within the Act 1 limit, keeping in mind the new contract adds over $300K on top of regular year-to-year cost increases.

        Having said all that. I get the impression you don’t have anything to worry about. There was some grumbling about paying this at the Facilities Committee meeting, but don’t expect much to come of it. I would be shocked if it doesn’t pass with an overwhelming majority.

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