Supporters of girls basketball coach appeal to Blue Mountain School Board

The Blue Mountain School Board at its April meeting heard from supporters of girls head basketball coach Ruth Weidman. Athletes and their parents spoke on behalf of Weidman, a long ime physical education teacher and coach, whose position is in jeopardy. The school board voted to open the position to applicants for the 2022-23 school year.

west update

Cost increases on the Blue Mountain Elementary West building continue to plague the distirct. Change orders totaling $101,884 were proposed. Officials said he added expenses are the result of theft at the site and additional well drilling. Council vote to approve the change orders after further review. Superintendent David H. Helsel said that despite the additional expenses, the district is still within the confines of the budget for the building.

The board voted to require that change orders in excess of $10,000 be given in advance, allowing the board to discuss changes.

Helsel noted that the furniture purchases for the new building have been completed.

Facilities committee

Board member David Lafko discussed facilities usage fees and the possibility of charging outside groups by the hour. Lafko said fees would be more equitable if charged hourly, as many groups use the facilities in hourly increments. The district will open the facilities to rentals beginning July 1.

Glen Witmer-Belding, director of elementary and secondary education, proposed bringing back the BMHS Graduation Project after these requirements were set aside due to COVID-19 restrictions. The project includes required service hours, job shadowing and career planning. The project would be phased in over the next three graduating classes.

Witmer-Belding also presented reports on the 2021 PSSA results for grades 3-8. Though the results are lower in many areas when compared with prior years, they are almost all above state average scores and compare favorably with other Schuylkill County districts.

Personnel

The board approved the hiring of William Ridge and Matthew Laubenstine as acting co-directors of technology at a rate of $321.29 per day, split equally between the two.

The board accepted letters of resignation from Matthew Bertschy as director of technology effective March 21. Francis King resigned as courier/custodian effective March 30, and Michael Capillo resigned as middle school technology education teacher effective at the end of the school year.

Jill O’Toole was hired as a social worker at the annual salary of $59,021 plus benefits, effective at the beginning of the 2022-23 school year.

William Hoynoski resigned as assistant boys basketball coach and Kevin Berkheiser resigned as assistant baseball coach.

The board approved the following employment requests: Stephen Zimmerman as high school Quiz Bowl advisor, Nicholas Marrongelle as high school English Honor Society advisor, Jacob Balkewicz as assistant baseball coach, and Alex Gosch as head wresting coach.

Calendar revision

The board added an Act 80 Day on May 16 of this year in the elementary building for the purpose of professional development and curriculum revisions. The school year is still scheduled to end on June 3.

Title I, II and IV changes

Revisions were approved for Title I, II and IV allocations. A decrease of $40,073 was realized for Title I allocation, a decrease of $5,056 for Title II funding, and an increase of $14 for Title IV funding.

Other business

The board approved the filing of a write of execution against Glenn Frantz for unpaid real estate taxes in the amount of $36,342.

The board approved a contract with ESS Northeast, a technology firm, to provide substitute services for the district including the extended 2022 school year.

The board approved a contract with ESS Northeast, a technology firm, to provide substitute services for the district including the extended 2022 school year.

The next committee of the whole meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 19, at 6:30 pm in the middle school. The next voting meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 26, at 6:30 pm in the middle school.

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