Board president explains Jeff Tech program decision

Board president explains Jeff Tech program decision
PUNXSUTAWNEY — Monday, Punxsutawney Area School Board President Gary Conrad confirmed that the Jeff Tech Joint Operating Committee voted unanimously to discontinue its lumbering and marketing/retailing programs, but plans to offer other shops in their places.

Facing declining enrollment and funding issues, the committee voted to
discontinue the programs May 3.

Conrad said the move eliminates an instructor’s position and a helper in the lumbering program, and an instructor who will move to the vo-tech school’s co-op program in a half-time position.

A full-time recruiting position was also eliminated, Conrad said.
Also Monday, the board approved new elementary textbooks at the request of Richard Galluzzi, director of curriculum and federal programs.

However, Conrad said he had concerns about a few issues in the books, which he said leaned toward “green” environmental, or anti-fossil fuel views, which he thought were trying to lead a young person’s mind in a particular direction.

Galluzzi said the group choosing the texts thought it was the best available. Conrad voted to approve the texts, but said he wished to have seen other options.

Also Monday:
• Galluzzi invited board members to the district’s annual Summer Academy, scheduled for June 4-8, which is a workshop for K-12 teachers.
The event was created following the great response to the district’s Tech Academy, he said.

• With a 5-4 vote, the board rejected a request from Peerstar, LCC, a for-profit company, for free access to the pool at Punxsutawney Area Middle School for its clients and peers during open community swims.

The organization provides mental health recovery, certified peer support services and forensic peer support services.

Prior to the vote, board member Roberta Dinsmore said, “We did not change our prices for people who live here who use the pool. The bills keep coming in; there are other places that allow them to go for free.”
Conrad also noted that the group is a for-profit entity.

Also regarding the pool, board member Jack White suggested that the pool’s controls were still malfunctioning.

Superintendent Dr. Keith Wolfe said the controls for the water and air temperatures were reset to factory specifications, to which White said “part of it is working, part of it is not.”

Wolfe said none of that information, if correct, had been relayed to him or other district officials.

Conrad suggested that “some board members” were jumping the chain of command about information needed by the administration and the board.
• With a 7-2 vote, the board rejected bids for a tarring/chipping project at Jenks Hill Elementary School.

Board member Jim Baun, who has studied bids for the project, said perhaps the board should put off the project at this time.

• Wolfe saluted members of the PAHS Envirothon Team — represented Monday by Kendall Neal and Eric Richey — for its first-place performance at the Envirothon May 3 at the Jefferson County fairgrounds.

The team — which also includes seniors Dane Baker, Tasha Story and Anna Monyak — will next compete in the state event May 22-23 at the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown.

Also, PAHS Principal David London reported that the Math Team took second place in IUP’s annual math competition.

• Wolfe presented certificates of appreciation to the board’s student representatives, Neal and Erin Butler.

• The board approved a modified calendar for the 2011-12 school year, which takes into account a snow day held April 23.

With the modification, graduation is Friday, May 25, and the last day for grades K-11 is Thursday, May 31. The last day for teachers is Friday, June 1.