JOC approves HVAC, plumbing/heating programs

WINSLOW TOWNSHIP — The Jeff Tech Operating Committee (JOC) voted to approve HVAC and plumbing and heating as the new courses to be added to replace the lumbering and marketing/retailing course programs which were eliminated back in May.

"I've checked with other vo-tech schools around the state which said don't make the testing in these programs separate, combine the plumbing and heating with HVAC," said Marsha Welsh, director of Jeff Tech at Monday's meeting that was held in the Health Assisting Area.

Lloyd McCreight, JOC chairman representing the DuBois district, said that much of the equipment that would be required for the new courses could be made in-house, and used equipment can be purchased for the students to work on.

"Troubleshooting is an important part of the curriculum; 90 percent of the students will be working on broken equipment," he said.

Gary Conrad, JOC member representing the Punxsutawney Area School District, said he's in favor of the proposed HVAC and plumbing and heating courses, but wanted more information before taking a vote.

"I see it's on the agenda to vote on tonight," Conrad said, adding that last month, it was just being investigated.

"There has been no information given to me since the last meeting when it was being investigated," Conrad said.

"I have 100 questions: Where are you going to put it? What are you going to offer?" he asked. "Is it going into building trades? Can't we learn a little bit about this before we vote on it?"

"We don't have a clue as to what we're doing here," he said.

Welsh said that last month, she asked Conrad what kind of information he needed.

"We are up against a timetable; if we want to have students for next year we have to approve it and begin soliciting students," Welsh said, adding that the new courses will be housed where drafting is currently located.

"We're going to move drafting over into the area where marketing was located," she said, adding that drafting will be closer to the other shop courses such as carpentry.

McCreight said contractors are in need of these type of workers who have any training in plumbing, heating and HVAC.

The JOC approved the motion 6-2 with Shelly Caine, Dr. Fred Park, Michael Smith, McCreight, Melissa Mowrey and James Brown voting yes.

Conrad and Jim Baun, the other Punxsy JOC member, voted no to follow PDE procedures to open a heating, ventilation, air conditioning and plumbing program and begin to recruit students for the for the 2013-14 school year.

Also, at Monday's meeting, the JOC:

• Accepted the resignation of Jo-Ann Olszewski as assistant principal with her last day of employment to be Oct. 4.

Welsh said Olszewski was resigning to take a position in the Pittsburgh School District to be closer to family.

• Accepted Jennifer Slagle's resignation as Practical Nursing instructor.
• Approved a motion to advertise for a Practical Nursing instructor.

• Approved a contract with Siemens retro-commissioning of the existing building control system and associated mechanical system at a price of $36,940 to be paid from the capital projects account.

Michael Knobloch, who oversees the buildings and grounds at Jeff Tech, said there were some HVAC problems corrected in the Information Technology (IT) and culinary-restaurant areas of the building with the heat pump.

McCreight reported to the committee that there were some HVAC problems found in the Information Technology (IT) academy, and said hiring Siemens would be the only way to get the problems with the HVAC system corrected.

Knobloch said Siemens has had good success at solving the numerous problems that the administrators have been dealing with.

McCreight said a lot of the problems were where the dampers were put in backwards.

Conrad showed concern that during and prior to the renovations the board paid an architect to watch over the project, and Jeff Tech paid its own inspector to look over the renovations, and yet it was still done wrong.
"These dampers were put in backwards?" Conrad asked, adding that the taxpayers end up paying twice for these mistakes.

The contract was approved six to two with Caine, Park, Smith, McCreight, Mowrey and Brown voting yes. Conrad and Baun voted no.

• Approved a motion that Sherry Hasselman, business manager, be authorized to invest monies in the debt service account from the 2012 bond refinancing retroactive to Sept. 11. The amount to be received is $10,000.

• Approved a 30-month agreement with UniFirst Corporation to supply and service mats for the school.

• Approved a three-year lease agreement with Jefferson County Solid Waste Authority for the worm harvester for $300, which is due with the renewal of the lease agreement for $100 per year to be paid in one lump sum.

• Approved a motion for the Practical Nursing Program to participate in the 2012-13 Perkins Post-Secondary Grant with Central Pennsylvania Career and Technology Institute (CPI) for reimbursement or instructional support and services up to $12,135.

• Approved Lawrence Ross of Sigel and William Witherow of Reynoldsville to be added to the list of substitutes.

• Approved the list of travel applications 7-1 with Conrad voting no to save on expenses.

• Approved the attendance of staff and students at in-state conferences and field trips within the budgeted amounts for the 2012-13 school year.

• Approved the second reading of the revised policy regarding job related expense.

• Approved the enrollment of a West Branch School District student retroactive to Aug. 28.

The tuition charged to West Branch School District shall be based on Oct. 1 enrollment information and prorated on the actual days of membership and 2011-12 final expenditures.

The next JOC meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Oct. 29 at the school.