BLOSSBURG - A request by board member Sara Knipe to require a two-thirds vote on building projects sparked a discussion that hinted at where board members stand on the controversial $20 million North Penn building project and closing of one of the district's three high schools.
The discussion item on the agenda read: "Request from Board Member Sara Jane Knipe to review the possibility/action required to change voting procedure so that building project contracts require 6 out of 9 votes. To change this procedure will require a 2/3 vote of the full Board."
Knipe also suggested the board should review its policy of only requiring a simple majority vote for land purchases and the combining of schools.
"The problem is when the vote is taken it is also going to impact other parts of our policy involving land purchases and contracts, so we need to look at all of those things, not just (at) the contract itself," Knipe said.
"We need to have a little more discussion on that. I guess because I came on the board in December, I have a lot of reservations about a lot of it, - having to close a school or a school program," she added.
"There's just not enough information about renovation costs, transportation, how students will get from point A to point B. I have too many questions. I think before we can vote we need more discussion and more information."
Board member Dan Berguson said his original response when he saw the request was to "look at it in its entirety, not just selectively, because one is combining schools, so there are a lot of big things in here."
Yarger said he emailed the district's attorney asking her what the impact would be if a school closure procedure has already begun, but she has not gotten back to him yet.
"It takes two readings to make a change to the policy and the change wouldn't take effect until after December when we have to vote on the project," Knipe said.
Board president Ivan Erway said the vote on next week's agenda will be whether or not the board wants to open and review its policy on voting requirements on all items, not just "one or two."
Board members Frank Kollar and Steve Hall said they thought since it has always worked in the past to have a simple majority, it shouldn't be changed.
Board member Sue Jaquish agreed with Knipe saying "this will prompt more discussion on the issues because of the importance and relevance of the issues, when a simple majority vote may not be enough to promote discussion."
"I have been on the board for five years and have not seen anyone stop discussion, especially me,"?she added.
"I see no reason to overhaul our system. It works fine," Kollar said.
During citizen recognition, Mike Munford, of Lycoming Township, asked the board to consider the 2/3 majority because it is "more democratic" and "how our federal government works."
Sullivan Township resident John Ritter asked the board when they were going to start publicly discussing closing Mansfield High School as touted online by the Save Our Schools group.
In other business, Superintendent Keith Yarger informed the board that questions and answers presented to the board in writing regarding the school closure will be posted on the district's website by the morning of Oct. 9.