Abington Heights School Board approves transportation contact, signage agreement

By Robert Tomkavage - rtomkavage@timesleader.com | July 25th, 2016 11:00 am

CLARKS SUMMIT — Members of the Abington Heights School Board voted 8-0 to finalized approval of the transportation contracts for the 2016-17 school year with four contractors: Rohrer Bus Service of Duncannon, Degilio Services, Inc. of Clarks Summit, Buranich Enterprises Inc., of Clarks Summit, and Buranich, of Clarks Summit.

According to Superintendent of Schools Michael Mahon, the move to calculate and compensate all bus routes at the state formula will save the district approximately $90,000.

Mahon added van routes will not be based off the state formula due to a lot of variations in the routes.

Members of the board first began discussing potential changes to bus routes in October 2015 in an effort to decrease expenditures and increase efficiency and approved the form of the contract during the district’s June meeting.

“Our routes have changed, but the bus stops remain the same,” Mahon said.

Mahon noted construction work in the district may create some transportation issues.

“Our situation is going to be complicated at the beginning of the school year due to the Edella Road bridge over Interstate 81 being closed for months,” he said. “Unfortunately, it’s going to create problems with benchmarking our performance because our routes are going to be all over the place trying to get around the detours. We’re hopeful and expect things to work perfectly with transportation on the first day, but we’re open to the prospect of there being some delays and uncertainties given our changeover in routes and complications from the bridge project.”

Members of the board approved the resignation of high school German teacher Sarah Szczepanski during the district’s June meeting and administration began taking steps for find a replacement.

“We’ve posted applications far and wide for a German teacher and received zero responses,” Mahon said. “We decided to post the job not only for German, but also for Arabic, Hindi and Mandarin language teachers in hopes of having one of those expanding world languages replace German, if no applicants come along, and we’ve been very encouraged by the response.”

Abington Heights High School Principal Andrew Snyder is expected to interview several teachers this week.

Mahon added a part-time German teacher is expected to instruct the students already enrolled in the language.

Members of the board voted, 7-0, with an abstention by Michele Pusateri, to approve an agreement with Home Field Advertising, LLC for the placement of advertisements at the high school.

“The district will receive $6,400 every year for the next five years, which represents about $1,500 per sign” Mahon said. “We’re excited, after a very long time, to finally have those signs start generating some revenue.”

According to Abington Heights Business Manager James Mirabelli, the school district and advertiser must agree on the design, layout and content of each sign before it’s displayed.

Members of the board approved an agreement between the school district and the Northeast Pennsylvania Center for Independent Living in Scranton.

“We’re very excited about the opportunity that arrangement will present to our students who are in transition to acquire very important, positive work skills,” Mahon said.

Approximately 15 students and several parents approached members of the board about the prospect of adding a varsity boys lacrosse team to the district’s sports offerings.

A varsity girls lacrosse team was approved in May and the team will begin playing within the Wyoming Valley Conference next season.

Mahon mentioned cost, field maintenance and Title IX compliance concerns as potential obstacles to adding a boys program at this time.

“The board must be aware there are external costs required to expand sports in the district given our current level of staffing,” he said. “The board must also carefully consider its obligations under federal law regarding gender equity.”

Approximately 15 students and many parents attended the Abington Heights School Board meeting July 20 to request the addition of a varsity boys lacrosse team.
http://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/web1_ABJ-AH-School-Board.jpgApproximately 15 students and many parents attended the Abington Heights School Board meeting July 20 to request the addition of a varsity boys lacrosse team. Robert Tomkavage | Abington Journal

By Robert Tomkavage


Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.