Clubs casualties of BR board, union dispute

BY STACI WILSON

The lack of a Book Club at Blue Ridge this year prompted a high school senior to bring her concerns to the school board at the Nov. 8 meeting.

Senior Megan Merritt told the board that the book club was open to everyone, unlike athletics or the Scholastic Bowl.

“It made such an impact just knowing so many kids love to read,” Merritt said.

Book club is just one of several activities dropped this year due to a grievance filed by the union, board president Alan Hall told the student.

Hall explained that Schedule B adviser positions added since the union contract was drafted in 2005 are no longer funded.

Board members had opted not to fund the school’s Diversity Club adviser positions earlier this year when they were informed the club was functioning in a different capacity than what was originally presented for the board’s approval.

Clubs can still exist in the school but would need a volunteer adviser.

Following an executive session of the board, Hall noted the district had received a formal notice that the union had filed for arbitration on two grievances and were citing unfair labor practices on one of the grievances.

He also said early-bird contract negotiations are slated to begin next week.

The board approved the $24,258 purchase of new playground equipment. The updated apparatus will replace the wooden playground gear at the school.

The board approved 10 teachers to serve as PSSA tutors for the school year. Tutors approved include: Katie Brown, Danelle Decker, Brandy Gaylord, Sue Graham, Chad Jones, Elena Jones, Jenna Kogut, Rich Mackrell, Ed Price and Paul Sokoloski.

Blue Ridge also entered into a three-year understanding with the Agency on Aging for the Foster Grandparent Program.

The district is offering several items for auction. Items include: 10 sewing machines; a cafeteria steamer; microfiche reader; lab table; silverware tray/racks; card file; miscellaneous tables and cabinets; and two treadmills.

Tina Sieben was hired as a para-educator for kindergarten and first grade learning support.

The board will hold a workshop meeting, Monday, Nov. 22, at 7:30 p.m., in the elementary cafeteria. The next reorganization and business meeting is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 6, at 7:30 p.m., in the elementary cafeteria.

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