Mountain View refinances bond

BY VIRGINIA CODY

The Mountain View School Board voted unanimously last Monday (Nov. 21) to lock in the rate on refinancing its $7.1 million bond.

The new rate averages 2.11 percent. The old rate was 3.89 percent.

As a result of this initiative, the district expects to save approximately $362,000 over an eight year period.

According toRBCCapital Markets Managing Director of municipal finance Harry J. Sallusti, the district will close on Dec. 21.

The savings realized from the bond refinancing will help to ease some ofMountain View’s budgetary concerns, Superintendent Andrew Chichura said.

“Mountain Viewlost three-quarters of a million dollars in state funding this year,” he said.

In order to demonstrate thatMountain Viewis not alone in its attempts to deal with budgetary constraints, Chichura presented a video about theMifflinSchool District.

“There are a lot of similarities,” he said, pointing out that the struggle with funding is a statewide phenomenon.

Chichura went on to say that he believed cuts in funding throughout the state were unfairly distributed.

“Rich districts didn’t lose at the same proportion as the poorer districts because they didn’t get a lot of aid to begin with,” he said.

In other financial business, the district approved a transfer of money between functions to accommodate the purchase of a new set of text books required for a new mandated anti-bullying curriculum.

In addition, the board unanimously approved a $7,294 bid from Martz Trailways to transport students in the sixth grade on their 2011-2012 trip toBaltimore,Md.andWashington,D.C.

On the educational side of the house, the board agreed to send a number of teachers and administrators to conferences, several of which had already taken place by the time of the meeting.

The single dissenting voice on this issue came from second vice president Dava Rinehart-Cowan who stated, “Teachers need to be in the classroom.”

The board also approved more than $1,700 in expenditures for field trips, many of them having already occurred by meeting date.

Field trips approved include visiting Tobyhanna Army Depot for Operation Santa Claus, attending the Scholarship Challenge in Waverly, N.Y., attending Feed-A-Friend at Montrose Trehab, touring the Career Technology Center at Elk Lake, participating in band and chorus events, and going skiing at variety of locations.

The school board also approved home study for two students.

In addition, the board approved partnering with the Northeastern Intermediate Unit to go after a number of grants the district would not be able to apply for because of its inability to afford hiring a special project coordinator.

According to director of curriculum and instruction/federal programs Karen Voigt, the NEIU will hire a project coordinator enablingMountain Viewand other school districts of similar size and economic standing to apply for grants it would otherwise be ineligible for.

Voigt also briefed the school board and public on Pennsylvania System of School Assessment results from last year.

The elementary school through grade 6 made the annual yearly progress overall, even though students in fifth grade failed to meet the goal of 67 percent proficiency in math and 72 percent proficiency in reading.

In the high school, Voigt explained, similar failures occurred in 11th grade.

Furthermore, she said, the subgroup that included students who had individualized education plans failed to meet its goals.

Voigt said that next year’s proficiency levels expected by the state will increase to 81 percent for reading and 78 percent for math.

An after-school tutoring program at the high school will be getting underway soon, board members decided.  Tutors for the program will be Patricia Dietrich and Diane Supancik.

The board also approved the hiring of a number of volunteers in basketball, cheerleading, and in the elementary school.

Megan Sutton will to assist with the junior high girls’ basketball program as part of her senior project while Ernest W. Griffis was approved unanimously as the junior high basketball coach for 2011-2012.

In transportation business, Sheila Petrochko has resigned her bus contract with the district pending a replacement.  Petrochko drives Bus 3.  The board unanimously agreed to advertise for a new company to take Petrochko’s place.

Also on the agenda was the approval of Joelle Hernandez,827 Pleasant Way, Union Dale as a substitute car/van driver pending receipt of all necessary documentation.

In addition, the district’s contract with Bryan Kostick, who drives Bus 10, was revised to reflect an increase in mileage to 90.8 miles at $274.07 per day retroactive to Sept. 6.  The earlier contract indicated mileage was 88.6 miles at $268.60 per day.

The nextMountain Viewschool board meeting for general purposes is scheduled for Dec. 12 at7 p.m.