Bloss parent wants to serve on district advisory committee

BLOSSBURG – A parent asked the Southern Tioga School District’s board’s long-range planning committee to form another committee for advisory purposes only during a long-range planning committee meeting Monday.

Sue Berguson, of Hamilton Township, asked the committee to recommend to the full board at its April 14 meeting to create a community advisory committee consisting of teachers and parent representatives from all three communities in the Mansfield area, Blossburg area and Liberty area.

The new board has been struggling to bring the three communities together since it made the decision to close North Penn High School at the end of the 2013-14 school year.

There was no discussion at the meeting about what might happen to Blossburg Elementary School, even though many elementary school students are scheduled to attend either Liberty Elementary or Warren L. Miller Elementary in Mansfield this fall.

“The people who really care about students you see here,” Berguson said. “We’re here to help, and if you don’t need us, have the audacity to tell us to our faces.”

“We need your help,” interim superintendent Sam Rotella said.

“It’s going to take some steps and to me this is part of engaging the community,” he added.

The committee meeting agenda provided for citizen comment following board discussion of each topic, presented by Rotella.

The topics were “See the future,” and a distance learning presentation.

Rotella explained that the “See” in See the Future is an acronym for Student Centered; Engaged, and Empowered.

“We want to have a discussion about where we want education to go, and buildings and maintenance is part of it, but the ideas we are discussing tonight are fluid, they are about what we can do and where we can start moving,” he added.

“We may not all agree, but can we come together to move in that direction?” he asked.

Rotella went on to talk about improving technology infrastructure in the district and the committee agreed to recommend that the board approve an audit of the existing technology at each school by the Intermediate Unit 17.

As for the idea of forming a community advisory committee, the long range planning committee only agreed to continue to offer public committee meetings in the same format as Monday night’s meeting, with time for citizen input following each topic of discussion.

Board president Steve Guillaume said the board would have to look into whether such a committee was legal for them to appoint.