CLARKS SUMMIT- Abington Heights School Board President Cathy Hardaway announced that the board plans to meet with the public more often outside of board meetings.
"After taking to a representative from the Pennsylvania School Board Association, four members of the board (Hardaway, Michele Tierney, Michele Pusateri and Frank Santoriello) will work with Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Mahon and meet with representatives from each of the PTAs and PTOs on a monthly basis starting in September," Hardaway said. "The goal is information. The beginning point is to sit down in an informal way and talk about things that are happening at this side of the table with representatives. If it needs to expand beyond that, we're more than willing to do that. The meetings don't have to be advertised because no action will be taken.
"Hopefully it will produce some good exchanges."
Board member William Acker announced that the Facilities Committee met Aug. 6 with members of the administration to talk about three topic areas. The first was the list of facilities projects for the summer.
"At the start of the summer, we had hoped to do some work on the tennis court," he said. "I think that once the district got into that it became a little more complicated. We're at the point to where we need to look at it again."
He added they have also been doing patching of the roof at Newton Ransom Elementary School.
"That roof is just about 20 years old and is starting to fail," Acker said. "The patching will basically save us the expense of having to put a new roof on the building. The roof is probably going to cost in the neighborhood of $2 million. It is safe to say that we are on borrowed time."
Acker also stated that the $2 million would completely use the district's uncommitted capital reserve.
The second thing looked at was how to manage power.
"Hopefully we'll be able to go back with some good ideas and some actions that will save that district money," he said.
Acker added that the committee has had talks with several organizations about use of the district's Annex Building, 216 E. Grove Street.
"Through Mrs. Tierney's good efforts we've contacted and had preliminary discussions with a wide range of community groups to use the Annex Building," he said. "From our standpoint, we would love to have somebody come into the building and take it over."
Tierney presented a board report regarding the AEIO purchase of equipment at the high school.
"We held a special meeting in the summer to approve the purchase of a printer for the printing classes at the high school," she said. "It has been approved by the state and hopefully it will be in place for September."
Ray Resnick, of Clarks Summit, asked to board to consider reviewing its exchange student policy.
"I spoke with Dr. Mahon and Mr. (Richard) Mattes, the local Rotary representative, who is responsible for the students coming here and from what I've found I don't believe there is a fair way of including or excluding agencies," Resnick said. "I've learned that other organizations have not been evaluated, and the time and effort has not been put in place to see whether they meet the appropriate criteria. I've recently tried to have a student stay in my home and attend school this semester, but I was told that wouldn't be possible. The agency that I was working with has students accepted at Honesdale, Mid Valley, and many other surrounding school districts.
"I think the other agencies that have students are probably as qualified, maybe better qualified than the Rotary," Resnick added. "If the school has decided to accept students from the Rotary, I think standards should be put in place that if other agencies meet the same standards they should be allowed to bring students over."
According to Mahon, the district has several reasons for dealing with only the Rotary.
"Many years ago, we had a whole number of different groups we used, but then we limited it to the Rotary," he said. "We found it to be unmanageable. Some years ago, an argument was presented that a group was good and reputable. We held the lineandcame to find that very group created an international incident in Scranton. Some students were mistreated and it was very much a profit motive. At the conclusion of that I thought ‘Thank goodness, this was a good decision that we were working with the Rotary.'
"We're very comfortable with them. Our view is that we are absolutely best served as a school district and ultimately those students who are our guests are best served in keeping this relationship with the Rotary alone."
According to Mahon and High School Principal Pam Murray, the school has on average one exchange student per year.
The National Honor Society will host a Back to School Carnival Aug. 31 at the high school from 6 to 8:30 p.m. All games are activities are free and food will be available for purchase. All ages are welcome and there will be activities to suit each age group.
Football season passes will be sold at the gate during the first game Sept. 1 for $20, a $5 savings for the season.
Football, basketball, and wrestling season passes are available for students K-12 by purchasing a "Blue Crew" T-shirt for $5. The shirts will be sold at football games throughout the season until all shirts are sold. Students wearing the shirts will gain free admission to all home football, basketball and wrestling events during the 2012-13 season.
The board voted, 8-0, to approve the resignations of middle school math teacher Christopher Vilello, aid Amy Petty and nurse's aid Amanda Banta. Board member Michael Fleming was absent.
The board also voted, 8-0, to approve the appointment of Danielle Sadusky as a full-time special education teacher and Michele McDonald as a full -time secretary.
The board unanimously approved Alana Bencivengo as a girls soccer assistant coach.
The board also unanimously voted to approve the disposal of outdated equipment, including two typewriters, one scanner and four math textbooks.