Board mulls school closings, reorganization

The majority of members on the Jersey Shore School Board supported closing the administration building, at 175 A and P Drive, and reorganizing the elementary schools in future years, they indicated Monday.

A special meeting on July 10 discussed possible options for the school district. The most favored option was using Avis and Salladasburg elementary schools to educate children grades kindergarten to second grade, and the third elementary school, Jersey Shore Area, for grades 3 to 6.

The current middle and senior high schools would remain in their current function. The plan would be expected to have a recurring cost of $134,587.

“The three options presented at the special meeting, when you look at net cost savings, there are none. They actually increase costs. For that reason alone, I’m not sure why we would continue discussing those plans,” said John Pecchia, board member.

Michelle Stemler, board member, said she agreed with Pecchia.

“They all have recurring costs, there’s no savings,” she said.

The school district’s ability to focus on the grade levels are good reasons to favor the reorganization and administrative building closing, Kelly Wasson, board member said.

“I think a disbursement of those children and sending them back to their community schools and housing special education staff at three buildings as opposed to one would be so advantageous for our students. To me, that cost is worth it,” she said.

Though closing the administration building would be best, said Karen Stover, board member, the cost of moving, including fiber optic cables, should be examined.

“If it costs more than $350,000, we can’t do it,” she said.

Merrill Sweitzer, board member, said he agreed but was concerned with selling the building because of its relation to the flood plain, while Harry Brungard, board member, said he never wanted to see the administration building move into the student population.

Craig Allen, board member, said he agreed with the majority.

“My concern with closing the administration building is that it would be a very front-end loaded cost and we would have to determine what those costs would be,” he said. “Working through the process would be a nightmare.”

The administration building may not cover the costs of the move, Allen added.

In other business, the school board:

• Accepted a letter of retirement from Crystal Quiggle, custodian at Jersey Shore Area Elementary, with 25 years of service, effective Sept. 6,

• Accepted letters of resignation from Todd Nagy, in-home education teacher, effective Aug. 23, and Debra Schneider, part-time food service employee, effective Tuesday.

• Appointed Tyler Walk to a fall band front adviser position, effective Tuesday, at a stipend of $1,178; Gail Merrill as head cook at Avis Elementary School, effective for the 2019-20 school year, $15.88 per hour; Jody Paulhamus as assistant head cook at the Middle School, effective for the 2019-2020 school year, $15.53 per hour; Amber Eck to a part time Food Service position at the Middle School, $10.05 per hour, effective for the 2019-20 school year; Kimberly Lose to a part-time food service position at Salladasburg Elementary School, $10.05 per hour, effective for the 2019-20 school year; Kathryn Zell to a part-time food service position at the Middle School, $10.05 per hour, effective for the 2019-20 school year; and Jacob Maneval to an English teacher position at the High School, $45,000, effective Tuesday.

• Approved an agreement between the district and Nittany Learning Services, retroactive to July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020, for alternative education for disruptive youth.

The option of closing either Avis or Salladasburg elementary schools will be discussed at the next meeting at 7 p.m., Aug. 26, in the Jersey Shore School District administrative offices, 175 A and P Drive.

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