PURCHASE LINE: School directors OK new music class
PURCHASE LINE — The Purchase Line school board approved adding a music history and world music class to the 2014-15 school year in an 8-1 vote on Monday during the board’s regular meeting at the high school.
The board heard a presentation for the proposed class on Jan. 13 by music teacher Rebecca Bracken supporting the class she hoped to be teaching. The course will be a writing intensive course teaching students about music history from the Renaissance through contemporary periods as well as music from different cultures. This course will be offered to senior high students and would replace the theater tech course currently taught at the high school.
Several board members lamented the loss of the theater tech class. Board President Mary Ann Pittman suggested that the board look into the possibility of teaming a music teacher and shop teacher to be able to offer the class to students in the future should the music history class not succeed.
“I would agree with what Miss Pittman is saying,” said board member James McMullen. “We need practical courses. And in my mind, the students that are taking this music theater technology class can use that training in a whole lot of other areas after they leave high school.”
“I have to be also clear in the fact that, if we’re going to be vision- and data-driven, we need these type of classes (music history) to pull up our performance profile,” board member Sandra Fyock countered. “You’re not offering those students enough right now, is what the Pennsylvania performance school profile is saying.”
“Until we would put (music history) into the schedule,” said board Vice President James Stiffler, “we’re not going to have any idea what the participation will be.”
In other business, the board turned down an overtime request by the business office staff in regard to fulfilling requests made in regard to the Public Schools Employees’ Retirement System in a 5-4 vote.
According to business manager Janice Pearce, in 2004, PSERS began requiring that former employees of school districts get in contact with those schools and purchase the documents showing their employment for their PSERS retirement. In some cases, these requests have gone all the way back to the 1970s. Handling a single request can take from one hour to many hours of research.
The district is handling more than 60 requests, according to Pearce, and will be doing so until requests stop coming in after the June 30 PSERS deadline.
Superintendent Joseph Bradley wanted the office to report its progress toward completion of the requests to the board on a monthly basis. Concern was raised by board members regarding the problems that may arise by approving overtime to one group and not any other groups. Board member Kevin Smith suggested that more time could be dedicated to completing the requests when summer hours begin for the district.
The board discussed possible improvements to the high school cafeteria that could be added later this year during a safety renovation.
According to maintenance supervisor Carl Jones, the hallway glass of the cafeteria will be removed, becoming five feet, nine inches of solid wall with a safety glass window at the top. The door will be changed, and two of the six exterior cafeteria windows will be bricked in and the remaining four replaced with safety glass.
“I know that when we redid the principal’s office … it’s going to be there for a long time,” McMullen said. “I think the same concern I have with the cafeteria, if we’re going to be expending that money, we want to make certain that it looks nice.”
The purpose of the discussion, according to Stiffler, was the hope that renovations could be done a little at a time over an extended period of time, rather than large portions of the school needing to be replaced once every 20 years or so.
“I guess what it gets into is, do we want to do a little of this at a time on our terms, or do we want to put it all off and a later down the road, another board is going to be dealing with a lot of these issues that when we had some opportunity we could take it a little piece at a time or in big chunks?” he said.
Any additions to the construction would count as a new project, according to Bradley. This would entail creating a change order to the existing contract, or putting a new contract out to bid with another company. No action was taken on the discussion, but Jones said he would try to get prices on additional renovations to the board by the next meeting.
The board approved a resolution that any potential tax increase for the 2014-15 fiscal year will not increase by more than the 3.2 percent adjusted index established by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Bradley personally thanked every board member for their service with the school board. January is School Director Recognition Month as established by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association.
In other business, the board approved:
• Hiring Stephanie Jobe as a 12-month business office secretary at $11.65 an hour.
• Hiring Justin Thomas as a biology substitute teacher for grades 7-12 at the $90 per day substitute rate.
• Adding Bonnie Wetzel to the list of cafeteria and custodial substitutes.
• Renewing the contracts of Dorsey Neely, head baseball coach, for 2013-14 at a salary of $2,805, Sean Mack, head cross country coach, at a salary of $2,550; Brandon Overdorff, head football coach, at a salary of $4,947; and Greg Pack, head volleyball coach, at a salary of $2,805 for 2014-15.
• Hiring David C. Putt for wastewater treatment services at $950 per month until June 30.