Blue Ridge updating district’s fiber optic network

Blue Ridge students who participated in the People to People delegation to Fiji, Australia and New Zealand over the summer discussed their experiences at the Monday night school board meeting. From left: Jenna Bennett, Abigail Roe, Kara Empett and Dustin Ralston.

Blue Ridge students who participated in the People to People delegation to Fiji, Australia and New Zealand over the summer discussed their experiences at the Monday night school board meeting. From left: Jenna Bennett, Abigail Roe, Kara Empett and Dustin Ralston.

BY STACI WILSON

The Blue Ridge Board of Directors were presented with a $170,445 contract with Northeast Data Inc., Tunkhannock, to beef up the district’s fiber optic equipment.

The contract was the sole item on the board’s agenda.

The board then launched into a workshop session, reviewing items on the agenda for the Oct. 7 board meeting.

Superintendent Robert McTiernan presented the board, for their consideration, an update to the district’s Vision and Goals statement.
He said that statement included input from the teachers, board members and administrators.

Facility and Grounds Chair Harold Empett said the board needed to begin considering a conversion of the school’s heating system to natural gas next year as the Leatherstocking build-out begins in the New Milford area.
Empett said the school – which would be an anchor customer – could help facilitate making natural gas available to New Milford residents.

Board member Shane Rumage noted upgrades would be needed to the heating system and to some kitchen appliances.

Cafeteria equipment, now running on LP gas, could be fuel converted, Empett said, to accommodate natural gas.

McTiernan also brought to the board’s attention that he had received a request with 15 students’ names on it, for a bowling team at Valley Lanes in Great Bend.

The group would meet once a week and were requesting transportation to the lanes, the superintendent reported. He said the cost for the one-way bussing would be about $75 per week.

Boardmember Chris Whitney said, “We don’t incur those costs for clubs.”
Health and Wellness Chair Michael Detwiler said the committee was brainstorming ways to address emotional wellness that would work in conjunction of the district’s anti-bullying efforts.

He also said the committee would hold a meeting at 4 p.m., Oct. 8 to review the district’s wellness policy.

Transportation contracts will be on the upcoming agenda for board approval.
The superintendent said adjustments had been made to some of the bus routes that were in question and complaints about route times have dwindled.
He said time has been shaved off the runs by decreasing the amount of time buses are waiting to load and unload students.

“The contractors have been great,” McTiernan said adding that they had help configuring the parking lot to improve drop-off and pick-up times.
School principals also indicated that the number of bus incidents had improved over last year.

Board President Laurie Bonner reported a charter school reform bill had been introduced in the state house.