‘Bluestone Battle’ on tap

BY PAT FARNELLI

The first ever ‘Bluestone Battle’ will get under way this weekend, but at Monday night’s Montrose Area school board meeting, it was not clear whether it would be Friday or Saturday.

Superintendent Mike Ognosky called the football game “historic.”

According to Ognosky, this game will mark the first time four of the Susquehanna County school districts will be playing on the same field:  Elk Lake and Montrose vs. Susquehanna and Blue Ridge.

He noted that a local stone company created the trophy for the game’s winner out of quarried bluestone, and it is beautiful, Ognosky said.

The question is whether the game will be Friday night or Saturday morning.

He noted that the high school football field was having a problem with stadium lights

“They were hit by lightning, so the wires fused, and now the  whole tower is out,” Ognosky said. “They have to replace the entire hub of cords to the lights. So there is a strong potential that it will not be resolved by Friday’s game, and we might have to either have it in the dark Friday, or have the game Saturday afternoon.”

Moving the time up on Friday won’t solve the problem, Ognosky said, because a lot of the varsity soccer games are scheduled for the 4 p.m. slot.

“Our last football game, they played with half a tower out against Western Wayne.”

Montrose athletic director Joe Gilhool said on Tuesday morning that the district is waiting to hear back on whether the lights will be fixed in time for the game.

He said the district will make a determination on when to play the game by Wednesday afternoon and a notice will be posted on the school website, www.masd.info.

The Montrose Area School Board also heard a report on the progress of the summer camp program Monday during its regular meeting at the Montrose High School.

PSSA tests and Annual Yearly Progress are traditionally presented in depth in the October meeting, but Superintendent Michael Ognosky said that this topic will be held for November’s agenda.

Christine Casey gave a report on the progress of the summer camp program, which was first held in 2008 and usually serves 60-80 students.

There have been changes in the courses offered, in the number of counselors and teachers, and in the way funds have been distributed, but by and large, the summer camp formula has been a success according to Casey.

Over the years, there has been an increase from one to three buses. There are still some outlying areas that are not on a bus route, and some children can’t get to camp, because their parents leave for work early and their homes are not on a bus route, Casey said.

With funding cuts, some programming was changed. “We eliminated a nurse and picked up two EMTs this summer, and that went really well,” Casey said.

A free lunch is provided to all campers, as well as a snack with a drink, and water stations are available throughout the day.

“I didn’t want to cut back on transportation or lunches, so we got creative elsewhere,” Casey said.

She said that eliminating a teacher or two because of budget constraints had become necessary, and that they have maintained a ratio of one adult per 10 kids. “I think it would be better to have more kids there,” she said. “But  14 or 15 kids per adult gets tough.”

There was an update on the Leatherstocking gas line’s  transportation network, which one day will provide service to the district.

Leatherstocking received its Public Utility Commission license last month, and the district is near the beginning of the line of service to Susquehanna County.

Also, the new water line for the hospital is being installed near the campus, and school officials noted that workers have been busy for the last three weeks.

Two part time food service workers resigned: Misty Moore at the high school, and Ronda Palmer at the Lathrop Street Elementary.

Board President Chris Caterson said that there have been food service worker resignations every month.

“The turnover rate has to be affecting the product of the food service program, not the food, but the service,” Caterson said. “Would a higher pay rate make a difference? This is getting worse and worse. We have resignations at every meeting.”

Ognosky said that solutions would be sought for this situation, and further discussion on the topic is planned for a work session, as there is no committee for food service, according to Caterson.

The board accepted with regret the resignation of Justin Marbaker as junior high assistant boy’s basketball coach, effective immediately.

Jeremy Dibble was hired as assistant football coach retroactive to Sept. 17 at $1,575. Caitlin Ely was hired as assistant girl’s basketball coach for the winter sports season of 2012-13 only at $3,150.

The Montrose Area School District Board of Directors will hold a Community Advisory Committee meeting Thursday, Oct. 25, at, 7 p.m. in the Choconut Valley Elementary School faculty room.

The next work session and board meeting will be held on Monday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. at the high school CLC.

(Staff writer Kevin Woodruff also contributed to this story).