School board upping facility use fee on weekends, holidays

PUNXSUTAWNEY — The Punxsutawney Area school board approved a motion to add language to the current facility use policy, covering the extra costs associated with use on weekends and holidays.

On weekends and holidays, Business Manager Susan Robertson said, the facility use fee did not cover the expenses of the staff.

When any district buildings are used on weekends and holidays, custodial staff members are required to be present in case of problems, whether they're on the renters' end — needing help accessing parts of the facility, for instance — or with the establishments themselves, such as emergency situations with plumbing or electricity, or in case something gets broken.

In order to cover the costs, Robertson proposed adding a phrase to the current facility use policy establishing that on weekends and holidays, an additional cost be placed on the regular fee.

On Saturdays, that amounts to $16 per hour, and $25 per hour on Sundays and holidays, student and contractual.

Current approved facility usage requests will be grandfathered in under the new policy.

Some debate occurred between the board members regarding the proposal.
"They're the taxpayers," board member Bob Pascuzzo said. "They paid for these buildings and facilities to begin with. Every time, we're trying to get a little more out of them, a little more out of them. That's how it appears to me."

Superintendent Dr. Keith Wolfe said, "We're not trying to gouge people. The district is losing money on these weekends ... It's really basically to cover the costs."

"If I have somebody coming in to fix my furnace," he added, "I'm not going to let him in the front door, go to work for the day and then come back and hope everything was fine."

Board President Gary Conrad said, "We're not trying to make money on this. We're trying to preserve what we have and break even ... I don't think it's out of line."

Board member Roberta Dinsmore pointed out another potential problem: "Some of these groups are not going to have the extra money."

Board member Penny Pifer proposed trying it out at a slightly lower fee, but that idea did not manage to come to fruition.

The motion was ultimately approved as presented 5-4, withPascuzzo, Dinsmore, Pifer and board member Melissa Snyder voting against it.
In other business:

• Wolfe announced that Nov. 1 will mark the beginning of the Get Ready for Kindergarten program. There will be door prizes and refreshments, and parents will receive tote bags with educational materials to help prepare their children to start school.

He also said that with the weather getting colder, if people wish to receive School Reach updates on cancellations and delays, they will need to go back on the district website and re-register.

• Members of the student board including Renee Belisky, Rachel Spack and Laura Chelgren, reported that, while some class officer positions have been filled, they are still looking for eighth graders to fill a few roles.

Additionally, Powderpuff football will be returning in November.

The student board has also been conducting Spirit Committee meetings to try to get students more involved.

The committee wants to come up with more fun days and opportunities to gain spirit points within the school year.

• The board approved the financial summary and board reports.

• The board approved the following purchase orders: $5,938.63 to Kurtz Brothers for classroom supplies; $14,400 to KeystoneSmiles
for AmeriCorp Youth; $5,086.37 to McGraw Hill for reading texts; $7,000 to Ingram Micro to open a purchase order for repair parts; and $5,062.50 to School Reach for annual registration.

• The board approved exonerations as presented.

• The board approved the resignations of cafeteria staff member Debra Washburn effective Sept. 17 and van/warehouse employee William "Brad" Phillips effective Sept. 20.

It also approved a child rearing leave for employee Lauren Saylor to begin on or about Feb. 13, 2013, through the end of the 2012-2013 school year, as well additions and deletions from the substitute listings.

• On the athletic end, the board approved the resignation of boys’ tennis head coach Todd Heighly, junior high wrestling coach D.J. Gould and junior high wrestling volunteer Mark Smith.

In turn, it approved the hiring of one junior high wrestling coach and two junior high wrestling volunteers.

• The board approved an agreement between Pathways Adolescent Center and the Punxsutawney Area School District to provide alternative educational services at its Oil City site for students in the district during the 2012-2013 school year.

• The board approved an agreement between the Punxsutawney Area School District and the DuBois Area School District enabling both to pool Title I funds for reading and mathematics instructional services at DuBois Area Catholic Elementary School for eligible students during the 2012-2013 school year.

• The board approved the dual enrollment three-year agreement between the Punxsutawney Area School District and Clarion University to expire on June 30, 2015.