Elk Lake approves change orders

BY PAT FARNELLI

The Elk Lake School Board discussed several change orders for the Susquehanna County Career andTechnologyCenter’s expansion project, and another change order for the elementary school driveway project at its meeting Thursday night.

About $4 million has been paid so far to contractors for the SCCTC expansion, it was noted.

This was the second set of change orders in the expansion project.

The first change order was approved in May, which involved squaring off a corner of the building to make it more efficient.

This time, there were several change orders adding up to about $365,000.

The driveway project rerouted vans, cars and buses pulling into a parking lot on the right of the elementary school to a paved drive around the new pavilion and ultimately connecting to a dirt road from one of the Cabot Oil & Gas well sites, then exiting the property onto the main road.

The food service in theElkLakedistrict is running in the red, Superintendent William Bush said.

A $50,000 budgetary transfer from reserves to food service was approved by the board.

“We don’t want to raise the meal price,” Bush said. The board approved charging an extra 10 cents for a student who comes back for a second meal, beginning in January.

A letter was received from Susquehanna County Interfaith praising theElkLakeschools for their response to the recent flooding, and thanking the community for its generosity toward the victims.

The elementary school has been holding Parent Days for students in grades one through three.

Elementary Principal Charles Pirone said that parent participation was very good, and that many filled out surveys while they were there.

There have been problems with the aquatic center pool, which is in the process of being upgraded. Bush reported that the new unit came in Monday, and the 2.5 ton piece of equipment will be installed on the roof. The ventilation system is being hooked up now, and some remodeling would be done to improve the design of the pool area near the mechanical room door.

A re-roofing project will need to be done between June and August, estimated at between $145,000 and $205,000.

Bush said that there are between $3.5 and 4 million in funds available for building improvements.

Harry Green, who has been a maintenance substitute for more than 10 years, had his contract pay raised to $10 per hour. There was a bus contract revision, for the Jones’ bus, which had a route change due to a bridge being out for 26 days, requiring significant detours.

It was announced that  $1,500 was raised at the recent Dance-a-thon for the Coaches for Cancer program.

Junior High Principal Brian Mallory said that he met with the Montrose football team to discuss plans for a joint Elk Lake/Montrose team, and was given a jersey and hat.

The board approved the purchase of a van to transport the special education department’s Life Skills classes, who travel daily as part of their curriculum.

Yvonne Orlandini was hired for a short-term associate position. Clinton Childress was hired for a short term maintenance position.

Funds were committed for the district’s retirement program. State funding for public school employees’ retirement programs has been cut, and Bush said that the money that the school has been putting aside will be spent by the 2014-15 school year.

The board voted to set aside $3,254,423 for its retirement obligation out of reserve funds.

School Board President Chuck Placesaid that as a bus driver, he is having problems with truck drivers working for the gas industry putting school buses in danger by running red lights and illegally passing school buses.

He said that on two occasions he has had near misses, once with a sand truck and once with a convoy of vehicles for the gas industry. He volunteered to have a video camera installed on his school bus to document offenders, pointing rearward on the driver’s side looking out.

The valuable contributions of volunteers to the elementary school were mentioned, and it was requested that the district cover the costs of FBI, state police, and child abuse clearances for volunteers, and transport them to the intermediate unit for the FBI fingerprinting process. The board approved this as an incentive for volunteerism.