Montrose students affected by flood

BY PAT FARNELLI

Several students were displaced, the school buildings had power outages, and the district relied on phone calls from the Susquehanna County Emergency Management Agency to know when to conduct an early dismissal on Wednesday.

Superintendent Michael F. Ognosky told the Montrose Area school board it could have been much worse.

Ognosky said that he and the rest of the administration were very grateful for thecountyEMA’s guidance through the emergency.

He said the EMA called around10 a.m.to notify the district that SR 858 was washed out between the schools and Little Meadows, and called back with an update every 15 minutes until the highway was sufficiently drained of water to permit school buses to travel.

Pavement on and before the bridge to Little Meadows had lifted up and out, and PennDOT crews worked to clear a passage for the buses bearing schoolchildren, while faculty and staff volunteered to stay with stranded students.

“We want to thank the bus drivers for the great job they did,” Ognosky said. “They let us know when they couldn’t get through, and returned some of the students to Lathrop Street Elementary to wait for other transportation home.”

Ognosky said he wanted to make sure that the drivers were thanked on behalf of the school board, faculty and administration.

All of theMontroseSchool districtstudents arrived home by5:30 p.m.in spite of the flooding and evacuations in progress.

“The last student was about three and a half feet tall, and the elementary school principals were ready, with boots on, to carry him on their shoulders for the last half mile, if the bus couldn’t get any closer,” Ognosky said.

The district had more trouble with power outages than with flooding, and the Intermediate Unit #18 had to shut down the Internet to 36 school districts, but the business office had a plan to use laptops if necessary, said Michelle Lusk.

Dean of Students Michael Boccella attended the meeting, and was enthusiastic about the changes being made this school year.

He said that he has been walking the halls, enforcing raised expectations for students. “I am emphasizing that we expect each student to be respectful, on time, and prepared,” he said.

High Principal Jim Tallerico said that the school year is off to a great start. The principals announced Back to School Nights as Sept. 21 forChoconutValleyElementary School, Sept. 22 atLathropStreetElementary School, and Sept. 28 at the High School.

The district has funds left over for Title 1 schools through the Relief and Recovery Act, and plans to use these funds for a proposed paving and drainage project at theLathrop Streetschool, it was announced at the work session.

The funds must be assigned by Sept. 30, and spent by Oct. 31. The low bids for this project total $15,500 for the labor, drain pipe, and paving.

The new administration building’s grounds and landscaping were completed, and did not wash out during the heavy rains. The grass is almost ready for mowing, Ognosky said.

Another project discussed in the work session is the replacement of exterior metal doors atLathrop Street. Two bids were received for the project, and the low bidder was Mesko Glass at $8,630.

Plans to replace computers purchased in 2006 were discussed. Ognosky said that the technology staff looked into upgrading the memory of the 2006 computers when government funding was cut, but said that now, it is feasible to replace 93 of those computers, and to update the memory of those remaining using monies in the 22 reserve fund.

The older computers will be recycled, said Craig Owens, technology director. Some will be donated to a Northern Tier veterans’ support group to be used by residents in veterans’ homes, or for job training. Others will be donated to other programs, like the Susquehanna County Literacy Program.

Ognosky said that the district is applying for a permit to do flood control measures on the Choconut Creek.

Mary Potter was employed as a full-time contracted health/physical education teacher at the High School, effective upon her release from the North Pocono School District, at the salary of $48,540 (first step Masters) with corresponding benefits.

Tallerico noted that there were 30 candidates for this position, narrowed down to 12 interviewed, and that Potter was “a great candidate.”

The following teachers were appointed for extra duty positions: Melissa Freethy, SADD adviser, stipend $1,800; Sarah Brander, senior high student council adviser, $1,800; Teri Evans, advanced placement chairperson, $610.65; Katherine Fischer, senior projects adviser, $1,800, and also literacy magazine adviser, $600.

The following substitute teachers were appointed: Christopher Rezykowski, mathematics; Kathryn Homan, emergency; and Lori Krause-Zona, licensed practical nurse.

The school calendar was amended to make Monday, Oct. 10, a regular full day of school.

The next meeting of the school board will be held on Monday, Oct. 10, at7 p.m.at the high school.