LEWISTOWN - Just as he has done with Granville Township officials and the Mifflin County Commissioners, Rob Postal has floated a proposal to the Mifflin County School Board to have the MCIDC Plaza in Lewistown be designated a Keystone Opportunity Zone, or KOZ.
Postal, president of the Mifflin County Industrial Development Corporation, said during the school board's Thursday meeting that recent legislation passed in Harrisburg has opened up a number of new KOZ opportunities statewide and the plaza falls under the criteria.
"This legislation is a little more flexible," he told the board. "This is a revenue neutral designation which means, if accepted, we would enter into an agreement to make three payments in lieu of taxes for the plaza. The reason this could be good is it provides an incentive for new businesses entering the plaza."
Postal said he has brought the same proposal to the boards of Mifflin County Commissioners and Granville Township Supervisors, the other two taxing bodies that would have to sign off on the proposal in order for it to work. Neither of those municipalities has acted on the request as of yet, Postal noted.
Keystone Opportunity Zones provide tax breaks for businesses or industries setting up shop in designated areas approved by the state, Postal said.
"The advantage locally (to companies) is for them not to have to pay property taxes," Postal explained. "From a state prospective, they don't have to pay state taxes, franchise taxes and estate taxes for a period of years, so they do get state advantages. This is a good thing for us to remain competitive in the region."
With the board's blessing, Postal said he will meet with school district solicitor Jeffrey Snook and present the proposal to him for review. If he is okay with it, the item will be placed on the agenda for the board's May 24 business meeting.
In other business Thursday, the board approved a recommendation to restructure the duties of Athletic Director Matt Shoemaker to include dean of students responsibilities as a way to reduce expenses on the administrative level.
According to Vance Varner, director of secondary education, the district will be reassigning an assistant principal position from Mifflin County High School to Mifflin County Middle School next year following the retirement of Dr. Joseph McGinnis from that post.
By using attrition, Varner said, the second assistant principal position at the high school will not be filled and Shoemaker will assume many of those roles.
"He will be in charge of attendance and other duties deemed necessary for that second assistant principal position," Varner said. "Basically, we're giving him more responsibility so we don't have to replace Dr. McGinnis. A lot of schools are doing something like this. Financially, we have to make cuts where we can and administration is no exception. Through attrition, we feel this is the best time to do this."
In other business Thursday, the board:
Approved a recommendation to eliminate the district contribution toward the cost of AP exams effective with the 2012-13 school year. Currently, the district covers half the cost of the tests and the savings would amount to $5,557 based on the number of students taking the tests this year, according to Varner, who added the AP exam is optional and is not required for students to receive high school credits.
Approved a recommendation to revise the district-wide feasibility study completed last year to include the EPA Energystar Portfolio Tracking and the proposed Plancon A & B improvement project at Indian Valley Elementary School for reimbursement purposes.
Accepted the resignation of Robert Romig, multi-craft maintenance, effective May 25 due to retirement.
Approved a recommendation to raise student parking fees at the high school from $30 to $50 effective next school year.
Approved of a change order, in the amount of $3,895, to increase soft surface play area by 100 square yards at the playground for Lewistown Intermediate School and reduce the hard surface play area by 100 square yards.
Accepted the resignation of Vaughn Crosson, custodian at Mifflin County Junior High School, effective June 22 due to retirement.
A recommendation to accept the resignation of Dr. Joseph Maginnis, assistant principal at Mifflin County Junior High School, effective June 30, due to retirement.
Tabled a consideration to seek bids for timber removal at the Strodes Mills property until the board decides what it wants to do with the property.
Accepted the resignation of Erika Reese, kitchen helper at Mifflin County Junior High School, effective June 4, due to retirement.
Approved several transportation policy changes as recommended by the recent consultant study, including a. Bell times may be changed to suit a two-tier bus routing system. b. K-5 students may walk up to a quarter mile to their bus stop. c. 6-12 students may walk up to a half mile to their bus stop. d. K-7 students may sit up to three to a seat on a school bus. e. 8-12 students planned load up to 60 on a bus (will be adjusted accordingly for routes with known higher ridership. f. Maximum number of students assigned to a regular bus stop will be 20 across all grade levels. g. If a satellite stop is used, more than 20 students may be assigned to this stop if it is safe to do so. h. Ride time goals - Maximum ride time would be 50 minutes. A few exceptions may be needed. i. Opt out of transportation policy: This policy addresses high school level only. A high school student who applies for and receives a parking pass is tagged as ineligible for bus transportation. A student may request transportation on a temporary basis and board a bus at an existing bus stop. A new stop will not be made for a temporary ride period. A student may apply for reinstatement of regular transportation services if the need arises but the student will lose parking privileges.
Approved a recommendation to hold summer school starting June 20 at Mifflin County High School. The cost would be $180 per class and be open to grades 9-12 from the Mifflin and Juniata County School Districts.
Approved a recommendation to hire Kimberly Manganaro, M.D., as school district physician for the 2012-12 school year. Compensation will be at an hourly rate.
Approved a recommendation to hire Dane Spriggle, D.O., to provide mandated vision exams for life skills students for the next school year at a cost of $12 per student.
Approved a recommendation to add the following to the 2011-12 substitute teacher list: Lisa Andrews, Jessica Houtz and Darcie Crock.
Accepted the resignation of Kent Daubert, learning support teacher at Indian Valley Intermediate School, effective March 23, due to personal reasons.
Accepted the resignation of Laura Cornish, math teacher at Mifflin County High School, effective at the end of the current school year, due to relocation.
Accepted the resignation of Cindy Harvey, health and phys ed teacher at Mifflin County Junior High School, effective at the end of the current school year, due to retirement.
Denied a recommendation to hire the following football coaches for the 2012-13 school year: Brian Heckert, first assistant football; Allan Hepner, Rob Warner, Charles Douglas and Steven Himes, assistant football; Joseph Eckenroth, head junior high football; Christian Hassinger, and Richard Bender Jr., assistant junior high football.
Accepted the resignation of Anita Valerio, head girls soccer coach, effective April 18, due to possible relocation.
Approved a recommendation to add Steven Myers, Tim Pearce, Dale Wilburne, Scott Gantz and Kristin Bedford to the revised event staff list.
Approved a recommendation to approve the winning Envirothon county team from the high school to attend the state competition and stay overnight at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown May 22-23. All expenses, including transportation, will be paid for by the Mifflin County Conservation District.
Approved a recommendation to allow the Mifflin County High School Marching Band to travel to Sandusky and Cleveland, OH for its spring trip Saturday and Sunday, May 12-13. All expenses will be paid for by the Music Boosters.
Approved bids for interior classroom renovations at Mifflin County Middle School.
Approved the following McKissick change orders for playground projects at Lewistown Intermediate School and Indian Valley Elementary Center: $300 for changing asphalt paving; and $2,000 to modify the handicap ramp to increase the length of it and the accompanying handrail.
Accepted the resignation of Sally Burkholder, part-time breakfast and lunch worker at Lewistown Intermediate School, effective May 4, due to other employment.
Accepted a recommendation to recall Wendy Smith from furlough to fill the administrative secretary 12-month position at the maintenance building effective June 25.
Accepted the resignation of Jody Clinger, fall head cheerleading coach, effective April 24, due to relocation.
Hired Hope Baker to fill the vacant position of fiscal technician in the business office effective May 7.
Hired Holli Barger to fill the vacant position of fiscal technician in the business office effective May 7.
Accepted the resignation of Nicole Singer, business education teacher at the junior and senior high schools, effective the end of the current school year, due to personal reasons.