Proposed teacher’s contract approved by PAEA

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Punxsutawney school teachers have ratified the proposed contract with the school board within the last week, according to unofficial reports.

The Punxsutawney Area School Board received word from the Punxsutawney Area Education Association (PAEA) that the proposed contract has been approved, said Gary Conrad, Punxsutawney Area School Board president, following Wednesday's school board committee meeting.

"It's my understanding that the association has had a meeting since our voting meeting and has ratified the pact, which is unofficial," Conrad said, adding that the approved contract will now go to the attorneys for each side to put into a final draft form.

Conrad said the board does not have to vote on the pact any more and that it should be a done deal.

"Unless there is something that has been added to the contract since it was ratified by the board, there isn't a need for another vote," he said.

Conrad said there will be full disclosure of the contract details to the media and the public once the contract is in its final form.

"I'm hoping that Mr. (Don) Gill, PAEA president, will sit down with me and do an interview with the media regarding the contract details," Conrad said, adding that he would like to see full disclosure.

In other business:
• Conrad said that Tuesday, Feb. 26 has been set as the date for the joint community meeting on school safety with Punxsutawney Borough and the school board.

He said besides school administrators, members of the school board, members of Punxsutawney Borough Council, Punxsutawney Borough Police and Jefferson County District Attorney Jeff Burkett will be in attendance to give input and answer questions from the public.

"This will be an opportunity for the public to share any
thoughts and concerns," Conrad said, adding that input from others on this important issue is most welcome.

He said that the meeting will not be limited to the Punxsy Area School District and Punxsy Borough. Residents and officials from surrounding municipalities are also invited to attend.

Conrad said the meeting will be held on campus at either the Punxsutawney Area Middle School or Punxsutawney Area High School. The time and place will be announced as soon as that information becomes available.

• Jim Baun, chairman of the building committee, said he wants to schedule a meeting to further discuss the carpeting issues at Parkview and Longview Elementary Schools.

"Over the summer, we had carpeting installed in the libraries at those two elementary schools, and the seams have been coming loose," said Dr. Keith Wolfe, district superintendent.

Wolfe said they've talked to the vendor on numerous occasions, who had promised to send an installer out to rectify the situation, but that has not yet occurred.

Dave Young, school board solicitor, said he sent a letter to the owner's attention and then talked with him on the phone several weeks ago, where he made the same promise.

Wolfe said perhaps they could get another installer to come out to give recommendations as to what can be done about the problem. Francis J. Molinaro, board vice president, said the board will not be paying for the same work a second time.

Wolfe agreed, and said that perhaps someone else could look at it and help the district with the problem.

"It's a safety issue, as a student could possibly trip over those seams and become injured," Wolfe said.

Baun said the Building and Maintenance Committee would also discuss the weight room and maintenance shed issue at that meeting.

Penny Pifer, chairperson for the athletic committee, said her committee would also like to be at the meeting to discuss the options regarding the weight room and maintenance shed since they were the ones that first brought up the idea.

The next school board voting meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5 at the Central Office Board Room.