Mountain View fills board seat

MICHAEL BARHITE

MICHAEL BARHITE

BY TOM FONTANA
Correspondent

Michael Barhite was selected by the Mountain View School Board Monday night to represent Clifford Twp.
to fill the seat left vacant by the resignation of Todd Adams.

The unanimous vote was preceded by a public interview with Barhite and a second candidate, former Mt. View teacher David Shulte. A third candidate did not attend the meeting.

Barhite told the board that he is a Mountain View graduate, married with five children, and owns an excavating business with about 20 employees.

Board president Elwood Williams appointed Barhite to serve on the policy, building and site, and transportation committees.

Superintendent Francine Shea asked the board to consider eliminating the eligibility of sophomores to enroll in the Susquehanna County Career and Technology program starting with the 2013-14 school year.
She suggested limiting participation to Mt. View juniors and seniors.

“I will never vote to stop tenth-grade students from going to vo-tech,” board member Sondra Stine responded.

Board member Dava Rinehart-Cowan added, “Some students look forward to that [goal], and if it keeps them in school when they get to tenth-grade, it’s a good thing.”

Board member Roy Twining insisted, “I’m opposed to looking at it at all, unless there was a lack of interest.”

“There are 17 freshmen this year interested in the vo-tech program next fall,” Shea replied.

There was no further discussion on the subject.

As a follow-up to a discussion at the board meeting on March 25 about reviving the high school wrestling program, high school principal Robert Presley offered expense estimates.

Presley presented the following figures: coaching staff salary – $7,500; new mat – $7,000 to $8,000; transportation to six league matches – $2,000; stipend for officials – $350; uniforms – $125 per student (total of $2,500 based on 20 team members); general supplies (such as mat cleaner) – $1,000.
“These are preliminary costs to start up the program comes to $21,500,” he said. “I would personally really like to see this happen, as I was involved with wrestling for many years.”

Presley added that the district could join with another school for the first year to help with expenses, especially travel costs, and recommended Lackawanna Trail as a possibility.

During public comment, Terri Goodenough of Gibson Twp. expressed her concern about Shea’s suspension of four students last fall (one of which was Goodenough’s son).

The students, members of the soccer team, were accused of damaging a door at the rear of the high school and entering the building on Saturday, Nov. 3. The students then let other team members into the building through another door for scheduled soccer-related activity. The four students served a one-day in-school suspension on Wednesday, Nov. 7.

“I feel we as a family and the students were disrespected [by Mrs. Shea],” Goodenough stated.

“A state trooper was involved, and our kids were told there would be a charge of $395 for repair of the door lock. The parents were not contacted [by Mrs. Shea] about the incident until a few days later after several phone calls from parents. We found out from our kids. These kids did nothing wrong. This incident happened five months ago, and still hasn’t been resolved.”

“But it has been resolved,” board president Williams responded. “The students served their suspension.”
“Why didn’t you bring this up last November?” board member Thomas Stoddard asked Goodenough.

Goodenough replied, “Because I know there is a board evaluation of Shea coming up. The board should know there is an issue with her in the community. I also think part of her evaluation should be an anonymous survey by the district’s teachers.”

“The superintendent evaluation is not used for discipline,” Williams informed her.

In other business, Shea said there would be a revision of the district’s bullying-harassment policy to include discipline for electronic communication of sexual content by students (known as ‘sexting.’)

Lunch prices for the 2013-14 school year were approved as follows: high school breakfast, $1.10; high school lunch, $1.85; elementary breakfast, $1.10; elementary lunch, $1.60; adult lunch, $2.85; an increase of 5 cents for ‘a la carte’ items.

Board member Stoddard expressed concern about retired Mountain View teachers not being given priority when substitute teachers are needed.

In a report, maintenance director Robert Taylor suggested stricter rules on athletic field use due to private groups using the fields after maintenance crews have prepared the grounds for use by school teams.