MIFFLINTOWN - Wrestling may be added to the list of co-op athletics between Juniata and East Juniata high schools next year.
On Thursday, the Juniata County School Board approved an application to the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association to merge the two high school wrestling programs next year at Juniata High School. The change would include junior high, junior varsity and varsity.
Wrestling is the third sport to form a cooperative between the two high schools, along with golf and tennis. The sport initially was proposed as a co-op for the 2011-2012 school year, but that proposal was withdrawn at the request of the booster clubs from both schools.
Superintendent Richard Musselman said this new cooperative request came from the boosters, not the administration.
East Juniata wrestling coach Adam Dimm said he and Juniata coach Mike Robinson initiated discussions about the merger with the booster clubs, parents, alumni and students.
The change would help the teams with enrollment, finances and leadership, Dimm said, noting that the wrestling coaches are "spread thin" at both schools.
"There will be more opportunities, more success for the kids in the county (if we) pull together," Dimm said. "We want to do it right, to do it as a team."
Board members unanimously gave their approval of the merger.
Director Ray Page said, "I think it's about time."
Director John Noss added that he would like to see more sports form cooperatives.
Also during the meeting, the superintendent asked the board to think about investing a one-time fee of $36,195.10 for a telephone system using voiceover IP.
Musselman said the coming technology upgrades will allow them to run the telephone system through the Internet.
Currently, the school district pays about $37,000 per year on telephones, Musselman said. Installing the voiceover IP system would save the school district that amount every year, he said.
"More businesses are going this route because it's expensive to maintain all those (phone) lines," Musselman said.
He also mentioned that no one in the school district had access to technology Thursday because a server went down. The technology company now serving the school district's IT needs is working to fix the issue, he said.
The technology upgrades will prevent future problems like the current one, because the system will automatically detect problems with its servers, he said.
In other business, Musselman told the board that the Pennsylvania Department of Education predicts that the transportation funding formula will be eliminated, as proposed by Gov. Tom Corbett.
School districts will receive a block of money instead to pay for transportation, he said. The superintendent said he plans to give a presentation about transportation and the budget during the May school board meeting.
Among board action, the directors approved:
The employment of summer custodial staff for 2012. When asked why the schools need more custodians in the summer, Musselman said the employees are in charge of emptying all the rooms and cleaning them, cleaning the equipment, mowing the lawns and performing other tasks. He said hiring additional summer staff is typical for most school districts.
Reinstating custodian Randy E. Shetter Jr. from furlough to the position of East Juniata part-time custodian, and secretary Nichole L. Barner from furlough to the East Juniata secretary II position. Both employees will replace staff who have resigned.