School board: Keep or sell the truck?

PUNXSUTAWNEY — As passage of the 2011-12 Pennsylvania budget looms, the Punxsutawney Area School District is seeking to keep funds in check as it eyes a possible loss of almost $2 million, should Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed budget pass.

A period of discussion focused on a building and grounds vehicle, which has seemingly been replaced with a vehicle that has fewer than 2,000 miles on it after two years, board member Bob Pascuzzo said.

Phil Heitzenrater, maintenance supervisor, said he would like to keep a 1994 GMC, citing it as more of an asset instead of selling it.

Superintendent Dr. Keith Wolfe said part of the issue with the truck is that it is fitted with a snow plow.
“If we sell the truck, we have to sell everything,” he said.

Board member Bob Pascuzzo said the district purchased a 2009 GMC because the other truck was unsuitable for use. But now, the transmission is malfunctioning in the 1994 GMC.

“You could put $2,500 in it and get five or six more years out of it, and it would come in big as far as helping around here,” he said.
Heitzenrater said he has asked local dealers about selling the truck, but said, “We’d be getting nothing out of it. It’d be like giving it away.”

As many as four people are able to plow snow with all four polw-equipped vehicles in the fleet, including the truck with the transmission problem, Heitzenrater said.

Board President Gary Conrad said he wanted an answer that night — last Wednesday — and then Pascuzzo pointed out that the new truck has only about 2,000 miles.

Heitzenrater said not many miles are used to plow snow.
The board plans to vote on the issue at its voting meeting Monday, April 11.

Also last Wednesday:
• Heitzenrater helped the board explore needs for the summer, such as work on sidewalks at Parkview Elementary School.

Wolfe said there was so much paving on the driveways at Parkview, that the driveways are nearly the height of the sidewalks.
“We’re now to the point where we really need to address that,” he said.

• Heitzenrater reported on three bids for three different kinds of replacement doors for the entrance to Punxsutawney Area Middle School.
Bids for steel doors were $28,066; $29,715 for aluminum; and $74,360 for stainless steel. The existing doors at PAMS have been deteriorating due to salt.

Replacing the entryway would include the glass and framework, or “everything green,” Heitzenrater said. The doors and frames are original to the building, which was built in 1996.

Pascuzzo asked about fiberglass. Heitzenrater said it would be an area to look into, as the doors at the natatorium are fiberglass.

• Business Administrator Susan Robertson did not provide a budget update for the board, except to say that administrators are sending budget back and forth to department heads, asking for more cuts.

Board member Jack White suggested looking at energy- savings measures as a means to cut spending. Robertson said an energy audit is in the process of being completed.

White also asked about methods such as solar power, to which Heitzenrater said that some measures such as solar power could cost thousands of dollars to implement, only for the district to wait years to see any cost savings.

• White also suggested terminating the district’s association with Riverview Intermediate Unit No. 6, a consortium in which the Punxsy district — as well as 19 other schools and districts — receives training, support and therapy services.

Wolfe said the Punxsy district uses IU6 for “tons of training. The cost savings is a big part of being part of that consortium.”