Jersey Shore district puts limit on Thursday hearing

JERSEY SHORE – As the Jersey Shore Area School Board is set to hold a public hearing on the possible closure of Nippenose Valley Elementary School later this week, it voted to approve a two-hour limit to the meeting.

The 7-0 approval also allowed the public record to remain open for 30 days following the hearing for other members of the public to add to it.

Superintendent Richard Emery said the district also would present during the two-hour meeting. He added that the decision to close a school “has nothing to do with” any district consolidation plan.

When Beth Miller, of Watson Township, asked the board for a cost-savings figure on closing Nippenose, Shelley Helm, board president, said it would addressed at Thursday’s hearing.

The hearing is set to begin at 7 p.m. in the district’s high school auditorium.

In other business, the board is set to open bids today for the Jersey Shore Elementary School renovation and addition project.

The public was concerned with the cost of the project and how the district would pay for it.

Raye Bierly, of Piatt Township, shared a handout with the board that she made with information from previous board meeting minutes and district materials. According to Bierly’s pamphlet the project cost has increased from $12.7 million to now close to $15 million.

The project is in the PlanCon process, which would allow having a portion of it reimbursed. But Bierly said that when discussing it with state Rep. Garth Everett, R-Muncy, he said a reimbursement was “in doubt.”

Bierly asked if the cost would then go to the district’s taxpayers to pick up the bill. Adrienne Craig, business manager, said later in the meeting that the district could use capital reserve funds until a reimbursement is received.

Craig said districts usually receive reimbursements starting at PlanCon part H. Jersey Shore currently is in part F.

She also stated that the district is working “very slowly,” as it has taken nearly two years to get to part G – on average, Craig said it takes about one year for other districts to make the same progress on projects.