LEWISTOWN - Following a vote earlier this year to dissolve its partnership with Juniata County in the Juniata-Mifflin Career and Technology Center, the Mifflin County School Board on Thursday approved a motion to have the district's architect look at the feasibility of operating an on-campus Career and Technology Center in the former Highland Park Elementary School across the street from Mifflin County High School.
The board held a special voting session Thursday prior to its monthly workshop meeting. Two items of business were voted on, the first being the CTC proposal.
Without discussion, board member Travis Parkes introduced a motion to look into the feasibility of re-opening the Highland Park building and housing the career and technology school at that site. The board voted unanimously 6-0 to approve the motion.
Superintendent James Estep said, "The board is committed to provide a quality CTC education. If the board wants it provided in the current building, great. But, at the same time, it is not married to the current CTC building."
"By going to an on-campus approach as an option, there's an opportunity for non-CTC students to take one or two classes a day instead of five or six," said Vance Varner, director of secondary education. "It creates more options for a broader base of students."
Currently, high school students enrolled at the CTC are bused to the facility on a daily basis. Estep said the board's top priority is to provide quality CTC instruction to the district's students.
"The board is just not necessarily married to to where it is done physically," he added.
The other piece of business during the special session involved the approval of a resolution for the sale of $9.8 million in general obligation bonds to finance the impending renovation project at the Indian Valley Elementary Center in Reedsville.
Brad Remig, the district's financial consultant with the firm Public Financial Management Inc. of Harrisburg, presented the resolution for the board's consideration, telling members that he was able to secure an even better interest rate for paying back the bonds that he originally estimated in September.
"You have a lot of demand for your paper," Reming told the board. "The rates we got (2.32 percent) were much better than than we thought a couple months ago. The market did hang in there."
Remig said the plan is for a 20-year debt service payment schedule at a cost of "a little over $400,000 a year for 20 years. That would be the impact on your budget. In September, we anticipated that to be about $10,000 higher. That, to me, is real money (savings)."
Remig noted the interest rate the district is getting represents a 30-year low.
Following Remig's presentation, the board voted 6-0 to go ahead with the bond issue. On hand for the vote were James Hurlburt, Beth Laughlin, Parkes, Kirk Rager, Mary Lou Sigler and Annemarie Swineford. Board members Dr. Ruth Armstrong, Walter Harpster and Kristen Sharp were not in attendance Thursday.
Following the special voting meeting, the board held a brief workshop session to outline agenda items scheduled for its Nov. 15 business meeting.
Prior to that, the board heard a presentation from Beth Winters, assistant executive director, governmental and member relations for the Pennsylvania School Board Association. Winters gave a brief legislative update and outlined several areas the organization is looking at for 2013.
Winters said the PSBA spends long hours lobbying for the interests of school districts across the state and noted that three areas are going to be of great interest in the coming year: pension reform, charter school reform and basic education funding.
Under finance, Chief Financial Officer Sean Daubert announced that the first in a series of three advertisements for the sale of the former Brown Elementary School building appeared in The Sentinel Wednesday and will be published two more times. Daubert said sealed bids for the building and the 10 acres it sits on are due Nov. 29 no later than 2 p.m.
"If there's anyone out there who wants to but a school, now's the time to put your bids in," Daubert noted.
Agenda items scheduled for Nov. 15 include:
A request to waive the $300 fee for a holiday concert to be held at the high school Saturday, Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m. involving school music groups and the Lewistown Community Band.
The addition of Ashley Freed to the cafeteria substitute list effective Oct. 26.