Elk Lake superintendent resigns

WILLIAM BUSH

WILLIAM BUSH

BY PAT FARNELLI

The top administrator of the Elk Lake School District and the Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center tendered his resignation Thursday shortly after the start of the school board meeting for both schools.
Superintendent William B. Bush read his letter of retirement which gave an effective date of June 30, 2014.

“It has been my privilege and honor to serve as the Superintendent of the Elk Lake School District and SCCTC for the past 15 years,” he wrote. “I want to thank the board of school directors for their leadership and support during my tenure. The board has allowed me to pursue a life of educating and working with our students in the capacity of coach, teacher, elementary principal and superintendent.”

School board members were emotional in their reaction.

Board president Anne Teel responded, “In my opinion, we have the best school district around, and we are what we are today because of Dr. Bush’s guidance and leadership.”

Board member Chuck Place said, “With the deepest of regret, we are accepting this. I believe I made the motion 15 years ago, when we set you up at the head of the table.”

Board member Arden Tewksbury said, “I was president of the school board when he started, and I know how hard we tried to get him here. When I heard he might be resigning, I said, ‘No way will I let him retire!’ Regrettably, I will accept his resignation.

The district will advertise for a new superintendent and will have the rest of the year to choose a replacement.

The board thanked him for his gracious and lengthy notice of intent.

In other business, The Elk Lake School Board heard reports about an energy savings program Thursday that should reduce costs while funding vital capital improvement projects.

Cabot royalty payments for the months of May and June were $31,716.05 and $32,406.93. In addition, there were several payments for Williams Pipeline easements and other releases, work spaces, and access areas, including Williams pipeline right of way easement: $23,010; right of way damage release: $6,630; temporary work space: $5,000; and surface site and roadway access, $5,000. The check for the easement was dated Dec. 12, 2011 while the checks for the next three payments were dated Jan. 13, 2012.

2013 graduate Austin Cohen is still moving forward in Lincoln Douglas debate, reported Ken Cuomo. Cohen recently competed at the National Forensics League National Championship Tournament in Alabama, and is now the first debater to finish in the top 10 in both the Catholic and National Forensics national tournaments, ever, Cuomo said. Cohen is the highest qualifying debater in the history of the state of Pennsylvania.

Cuomo also reported that he is fully moved into the elementary principal’s office, after 21 years in the high school. He said that he completed an observation earlier in the day of an instructor in the Title One summer program at the elementary school.

The Title One program budget at Elk Lake lost $40,000 in federal funding, and was cut by about $8-9,000 of professional development funding.

Rita Spila, Kim Potuck, and Susan Rothwell are reading/language arts teachers for the Title One program, and Laura McGeehan is the math teacher

At the June 20 meeting, Sue Graham asked why Spila, a seasoned high school reading teacher impacting an entire grade of students, would be moved to the elementary Title One program with only a few students. Brian Mallery responded that state changes have eliminated reading classes, instead having English/Language Arts as a combined course, and that Spila had applied for the Title One opening and was qualified.

The 2013-14 substitute list was approved, as was a lifeguard list of 30 active adult and student lifeguards. A list of 10 inactive emergency adult lifeguards was also approved, who can substitute for students on an emergency basis.

A contract was approved for a crisis counselor, as the current crisis counselor has retired. Three local agencies were contacted, and interviews conducted on July 15. The Child Service Center was approved as the agency hired. “The counselor being hired qualifies for ACCESS program funds, and the contract is being tweaked to add a few things that I requested,” said special education director Pam Staats.

The board approved the hiring of staff for six athletic and activity positions.