Southern Tioga board talks about technology upgrade

BLOSSBURG – The state of the district’s technology and how to best proceed with an upgrade was the main topic of discussion during the Southern Tioga School District’s work session Monday.

Interim Superintendent Sam Rotella said a server and a switch had gone down, costing the district several thousand dollars, which only highlights the need for the upgrade recommended last month in an audit conducted by Intermediate Unit 17.

Rotella said right now he is leaning toward “Plan C,” the most expensive plan presented, which would cost close to a million dollars – not counting labor, air conditioning and a generator to protect the system in a power failure.

“The price will exceed what was given. We have already lost a switch and a hard drive in a backup server, so the systems are starting to fail us,” he said.

To cut costs, Rotella said a vendor who would supply a different device that is both a laptop and a tablet is being considered.

“We know that iPads would cost $525 per piece. So, we are trying to put together costs for a couple other devices,” Rotella said.

Rotella said he hopes to have a better break-down of costs for the board by the June 11 meeting, when a vote also will be made on the final budget.

He said letters went out Friday to all families who requested building transfers from their student’s assigned buildings, and all had been approved.

“There were 25 high school requests to go to different schools, 11 to Liberty High School and 14 to Mansfield High School, and 24 requests for elementary transfers from those who preferred to go back to Blossburg Elementary School,” he added.

Rotella said he also plans to recommend an activities director be retained and headquartered in Blossburg to oversee activities at Island Park after discussing the matter with Mansfield High School Athletic Director Wes Detar and North Penn High School Athletic Director Pete Hall.

Duties would include daily upkeep of the football fields and track and field.

“They both felt it would be necessary to run the programs down here,” he added.

In other business, the board:

Heard there is a special community forum on the heroin epidemic 6 p.m. June 22 at the Blossburg Fire Hall, featuring a judge from Lycoming County as well as law enforcement and drug and alcohol rehab representatives in the area. During a cleanup around the schools, Rotella said several used syringes had been found in front of the high schools.

Discussed applying for a Department of Justice safe school grant with several other schools across several counties. The grant application, which is being written by the Northern Tioga School District, with an award of between $500,000 and $5 million, is due July 8.

Discussed a request from the Mansfield Chamber of Commerce to rent the Santa’s Gift Bag building at the entrance to Smythe Park, which currently is vacant.

Discussed having Quad 3 architects do an assessment of the physical condition of the district’s buildings, including electrical, architecture and mechanical for $12,500 plus reimbursable expenses not to exceed $1,800. The study would be done in four to six weeks, if approved.

Discussed renewal of an annual contract with Pennsylvania School Boards Association for workers compensation stop-loss insurance.