2012-09-27 / Local & State

Southern Fulton Talks Natural Gas

Board member Dale Sigel resigns
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz

NEWS EDITOR

Representatives of Reynolds Energy sat down with the Southern Fulton School Board and administration last Tuesday to provide a brief overlook on the possibilities of bringing natural gas to the junior/senior high school.

Reynolds official Rick Evans said after much talk and many telephone calls, they have determined it is indeed feasible to bring a gas line to the school with benefits outweighing the cost aspect.

Evans reminded the board that the district’s energy analysis has been completed and bids are currently being accepted through mid-October. The board is expected to have a special meeting in early November to review the bids and findings and take action later in the month. Construction at the junior/senior high school could run between January and September 2013.

Additional items being scoped or considered for the renovation include a heat recovery system and the addition of dehumidification of classrooms.

Evans went into further detail regarding the addition of a natural gas line and system for the school through Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania. The district would be required to pay $537,512 up front. In the event other entities and organizations in the area wish to hook up to the line, they would contract directly with Columbia and not the school.

Evans told the board it should not delay the process as it takes a while to implement. Some hesitation was expressed by board member David Smith regarding handing over a sizeable check without any possible recourse if Columbia couldn’t meet the deadline for the start of the 2013-14 school year. Evans indicated the district does have fuel oil as a backup plan, and the latest start-up delay other organizations have encountered is three weeks.

Detailing options and cost available to the district, Evans noted the net building renovation and natural gas project with savings as well as reimbursement would cost the district $3,392,908. He deemed his figures to be a “very conservative projection of the overall financial picture.” Evans further said that even though the proposed project cost went up, reimbursement through the state did not. Reimbursement is not based on cost but on variables such as aid ratio, student population and educational needs.

He concluded the district would be spending the least amount of money possible to get maximum reimbursement through the PlanCon process. Evans was unable to verify the time frame in which the school could receive reimbursement money even though it is guaranteed the school would receive it.

Personnel

Board secretary Anita Munson shared a brief letter of resignation from board member Dale Sigel. Sigel stepped down from his duties effective immediately, and his resignation was accepted by the board on a 6- 1 roll-call vote. Board member Danny Crouse dissented, and Sigel and Sam Souders were not in attendance.

In turn, the board announced it would be advertising to fill the vacancy. The position must be filled within 30 days, and candidates will be interviewed at a public meeting, the superintendent said. The matter was approved on a 5-2 roll-call vote. David Smith and Timothy Hull were against advertising.

Glenn Hiller, local businessman and parent, was suggested by one board member as a replacement for Sigel.

An unpaid leave of absence was granted for thirdgrade teacher Wendy Wright under the provisions of the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993. The leave is tentatively scheduled for December 12 through January 28.

Amy Fischer received a nod of approval to serve as a volunteer junior high girls basketball coach.

Pending the completion of necessary paperwork, Courtney Cover and Mike Shade will be permitted to serve as substitute teachers.

New teachers and staff introduced by the administration were Laura Northcraft, Jamie Shaw, Michelle Trail, John Bain and Julianna Grubb.

Building and grounds

Newly hired building and grounds supervisor John Bain recapped several options available to the district for storing items and documents currently at the old elementary. Bain provided pricing options of various storage units and noted it is likely the district would require two units measuring 8x40 feet. The administration and Bain were asked to further investigate prices for digitizing records and for the construction of a pole building.

As a means of showcasing and celebrating the great things going on at the district, the superintendent provided the board with a quote of $376.30 for an outdoor banner. The banner would be hung at the entrance of the high school to note its recognition by “ U. S. News and World Report” as a bronze star facility. The board agreed to purchase two banners, with the second to be placed along Interstate 70.

The board approved the AIA document with Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates with an amendment stating the board reserves the right to change the scope of the high school renovation project. The board was reminded by Trail that nothing is set in stone at this time, and the scope and cost have not yet been agreed on at all. Furthermore, the scope defines the cost.

Dan Peart representing Phantom Fireworks appeared before the board to discuss an amendment to the original agreement and covenant with the B.J. Alan Co. pertaining to the demolition of the old elementary school.

Peart said he expects the project to begin moving “pretty quickly” and within weeks bids will be available. It was agreed by Peart and the board that the deadline for demolition will be one year.

WAYS soccer program was given permission to use the high school soccer field retroactive to September 14 for an Elks Soccer Shoot- Out between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Curriculum

Several field trips were approved in accordance with school policy including the ninth-grade class to visit the alumni building in Mc- Connellsburg on October 30 for a health fair. Expenses will be covered by Fulton County Medical Center.

In addition, fourth graders are scheduled to travel to Harpers Ferry, W.Va., on October 12 to enhance their studies of the Civil War and science.

Policy

Nine policies dealing with extracurricular and interscholastic activities; concussion management; sudden cardiac arrest; supplemental discipline records; electronic devices; athletic field advertising; and automated external defibrillators were given an initial nod of approval.

Public comment

Concerned mother Rebecca Eader came before the board during citizen’s participation to inquire about the placement of a school bus stop sign at her home. She mentioned the safety hazards present for her twins in fourth grade and went on to ask about the rerouting process that went on through the newly purchased BusTracks system. Eader said she never received notification from the school of the changes that would affect her children, including the new pickup and drop-off times.

Eader’s children ride a bus driven by longtime contractor Glenn Ward, who has appeared before the board on two occasions in recent months as well. Ward has asked the board to change his route that now begins a mile from his home and requires him to pick up children on the way to Whips Cove before returning to school. The change, Eader and Ward have both mentioned, requires the students to be on the bus for prolonged periods of time.

Another parent aired a grievance regarding punishment associated with cellphone use infractions. The man admitted his child had broken the school’s policy but disagreed with the school’s right to confiscate a phone for two weeks. That right or punishment should be dealt by the parents, he said.

Executive sessions

At the conclusion of addressing the agenda, the board went into a 53- minute executive session to discuss personnel, negotiations and litigation. After reconvening, the board accepted a resignation from maintenance employee Alan Gregory. His resignation was effective immediately and was approved on a 6-0 roll-call vote. Board member Danny Crouse was no longer in attendance at this point of the meeting.

The board in turn agreed to immediately advertise for a day shift maintenance assistance custodian.

Mallory Welsh was unanimously hired as a long-term substitute at a daily rate of $115.

A decision was made to allow Southern Fulton administrators, aside from the business manager, secretary and superintendent, to be available by phone during board meetings instead of attending monthly meetings. They can, however, be requested to attend by the superintendent or the majority of the board.

After taking action following the first closed-door meeting, the board also conducted a second executive session that lasted until 11:57 p.m. Action was taken, and can be found in a related Southern Fulton story on the superintendent’s position.

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