PURCHASE LINE: Former board member appointed to fill vacancy
PURCHASE LINE — Former Purchase Line school board member John Nichols is once again a school director.
In separate unanimous votes Monday at the high school, the board of directors accepted the resignation of board member Joshua Hopkins and appointed Nichols to the newly vacated seat for a term from June 23 through November 2015. Nichols previously sat on the board until he vacated his seat in November 2013.
As a state employee, Nichols’ role in local politics is limited by the Hatch Act, which initially prohibited state and federal employees from running for elected offices. He can, however, be appointed to office, and had previously been appointed to the Purchase Line school board 10 years ago.
Nichols said he has no big plans during his tenure with the board, that “it’s really just to serve the community.”
“I believe everyone should be on the board one time,” he said. “They can see what you can do and what you can’t do, but they can also see you can make a difference.”
Hopkins said he resigned for “personal reasons.”
On a 6-2 vote, the board approved the budget for the 2014-15 school year. According to previous reports, revenues are in the amount of $17,600,117, and expenses are $18,325,703. A fund balance of $725,586 will be used to balance the budget.
Millage rates will show a 0.78 mill increase for Indiana County residents and a 2.64 mill decrease for Clearfield County residents. According to the budget resolution, this represents a zero tax increase when taking into consideration the rebalancing of the 2013-14 tax levy, according to the State Tax Equalization Board rates.
James Stiffler and David Syster voted against the motion.
The board also approved a 1.5 percent increase in compensations for athletic positions for the 2014-15 school year. The board further approved a motion that states that “all athletic extra-curricular positions will be opened for the next school year and posted at the conclusion of each sports season beginning with the fall of 2014.” All athletic extra-curricular positions will be hired on a yearly basis from that point on.
Continuing with athletics, the board approved appointing Rebecca Hudak as both girls’ head basketball coach and junior assistant basketball coach at salaries of $4,452 and $2,538 respectively. The board also approved hiring Steve Woodrow as athletic director at a salary of $5,000.
Monday’s meeting marked the final meeting of outgoing business Manager Janice Pearce. Pearce has acted as Purchase Line business manager for 18 years and announced her intentions to retire in March. The board wished her a fond farewell and a peaceful retirement.
In Pearce’s place, the board approved the hiring of John Zahorchak as the new business manager. Zahorchak will also serve as delegate to the Indiana County Tax Collection Committee.
The board also reviewed revised graduation requirements for Purchase Line seniors. In conforming with commonwealth requirements, 25 credits are needed for graduation, up from 24, according to high school principal James Price. Seniors will no longer need to complete a senior project in order to graduate.
The adoption of these requirements also allows for some flexibility in the policy to further conform to state requirements, according to Superintendent Joseph Bradley.
In other business, the board approved:
• The appointment of William Pearce and Scott Gearhart as representative and alternate representative, respectively, to the Indiana County Technology Center Joint Operating Committee from July 1 through November.
• The renewal of the following athletic contracts: Steve Woodrow, assistant football coach, at a salary of $2,538; Chad Small, assistant football coach, at a salary of $2,666; Brian Goss, assistant football coach, at a salary of $2,538; Karen Woods, assistant volleyball coach, at a salary of $2,030; Janessa Hardesty, assistant volleyball coach, at a salary of $2,071; Greg Pack, assistant volleyball coach, at a salary of $2,,071; Greg Mahaffey, assistant boys’ basketball coach, at a salary of $2,530; Jeremy Backen, assistant boys’ basketball coach, at a salary of $2,538; Dylan Fetterman, assistant boys’ basketball coach, at a salary of $2,538; and Amber Trout, assistant cheerleading coach, at a salary of $1,370. These salaries reflect the approved 1.5 percent increase.
• Posting advertisements for a second band director position in a 5-3 vote.
• Granting the following increases for non-union personnel for 2014-15: Maintenance supervisor, $1,200; administrative assistant to the superintendent, $1,200; staff accountant, $1,000; district bookkeeper, $800; administrative assistant to the business manager, $650; and board secretary, $75.
• Granting the following substitute rates for 2014-15 with no increases: Teachers at $90/day, RNs at $90/day, LPNs at $80/day and $7.25/hour for custodians, maintenance, cafeteria, secretaries and aides.
• The retirement of Elizabeth Yanoski, sixth-grade elementary teacher.
• The resignation of Kathleen Cowden, eighth-grade class adviser.
• The resignation of Roger Kephart, assistant football coach, and the acceptance of Kephart as a football volunteer.
• The transfer of Debra A. Johnson from a 10-month secretarial position to the 12-month print shop/federal programs/child accounting/PIMS secretarial position beginning July 1.
• Hiring Christa Dunchuck as a business office secretary at $11.65/hour.
• Hiring Karen Bugay as a lunch monitor at $10.50/hour.
• Granting tenure status to Tiffany DeStefano, Amberly Jordan and Carlene Sadler.
• Continuing service with Andrews and Beard Law Offices for solicitor services for 2014-15 with solicitor work at $130/hour and specialized service at $160/hour.