2013-07-25 / Front Page

SF Votes To Add Old Elem To KOZ

Bethel Twp., county must approve KOZ as well
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz

NEWS EDITOR

Taking a month to mull over a prior discussion with Fulton County Commissioner Rodney McCray, the Southern Fulton School Board again revisited the topic of approving a Keystone Opportunity Zone in the southern end of the county.

Sitting down last Tuesday evening with McCray and Wendy Melius, who heads the Center for Community Action, the board and administration discussed three different areas near the intersection of Buck Valley and Great Cove roads that could receive tax incentives through the 10-year program.

Among those considered were the old elementary school; Robert Layton’s property at the old Pit Stop and the area between Phantom Fireworks and Southern States; and the east side of Interstate 70 currently owned by A.L.L. Corporation where the former Tastee Freez was located.

McCray told the board he views the KOZ as a good opportunity even though there were drawbacks to the program.

“It could be the best thing to jump start our community,” the commissioner said.

On a 6-0 vote, the board agreed to offer the old elementary for participation in the program as recommended by Superintendent Hervey Hann. Board members Dave Smith, Tim Hull and Tim Mellott were unable to attend the July 16 meeting.

McCray pointed out all three involved taxing bodies, the school, Bethel Township and the county, must approve the parcel and adopt a resolution in order for it to be designated as a KOZ. A resolution will likely be approved by the school board in August, and, if the additional taxing bodies are in agreement, all paperwork will be submitted to Southern Alleghenies.

In other contractual matters discussed, the board tabled taking action on modifying its guaranteed energy services agreement with Reynolds. The modification would take certain items listed under one section of PlanCon and move them into the energy services agreement. The modification is needed due to the delayed start of the PlanCon renovation project.

It was also noted a modification would be needed in the event the natural gas pipeline would not be here in time for the heating season. The cost should not exceed a full-year cost.

Reynolds’ representative Jeff Walters was on hand to speak with the board regarding the holdups on the installation of the gasline. Walters said a recent e-mail from Columbia Gas outlined problems with contacting property owners regarding right-of-way easements. The company, according to Walters, has been unsuccessful contacting Darby and Tina Mellott concerning their property on Buck Valley Road. An easement with the Mellotts would allow the company to bore under Interstate 70 to get to Buck Valley Road.

Columbia originally proposed a four-month installation for the gasline and has currently allotted 130 work days. Best case scenario would allow installation to be completed by February or March 2014.

As a result of the delay, the board heard alternative heating costs and measures to get through the upcoming heating system. A start-up cost for retrofitting was quoted at $28,823, monthly rental costs at $6,568 and tear-down costs of $12,750.

Board member Danny Crouse pointed out the district was looking at $60,000 in additional expenses before it ever receives a gallon or even a pound of propane for the season.

Walters agreed to meet with Hann as well as building and grounds supervisor John Bain to go over the issues listed in the proposed modified agreement.

Multiple contracts for the 2013- 14 school year were approved by the board last Tuesday, including Intermediate Unit 8 for therapy services; Manito for alternative education and therapeutic services; Nulton for mental health services; and OSI for transition skills.

Approval was granted to sell excess equipment stored at the high school and the old elementary. Scrap metal was mentioned as were items that could be sold by Zimmerman’s Auction or on eBay.

Personnel

A letter of resignation was accepted with regret as submitted by cafeteria worker Gertrude “Trudy” Hendershot. Hendershot’s employment is slated to come to an end on July 31.

Coming back to two agenda items that were tabled last month, the board resumed discussions regarding the future employment of fellow cafeteria workers Deneen Fogal and Bobbie Jo Peck. The board was presented with several options, which included bringing back both women as full-time employees; turn the vacant positions over to Metz & Associates for the company to fill as they see fit; and hire only one of the two employees and turn the second position over to Metz to fill as they see fit.

On a 6-0 roll-call vote the board agreed to hire Fogal as a full-time cafeteria employee at an hourly rate of $11.55 beginning August 1. The motion also included hiring Peck as a half-time cafeteria employee at an hourly rate of $10.10 effective August 1.

According to Superintendent Hann, the motion reinstates both employees to the positions they held at the time they were previously furloughed.

Michael J. Breslin Jr. was hired as a secondary English teacher with a starting salary of $41,164.

Policy

The first-readings of a total of 19 policies were approved as presented. The policies look at a range of issues such as relations with law enforcement agencies, discipline, weapons in schools, terroristic threats, tobacco use and controlled substances and drug paraphernalia.

Building and grounds

The board again tabled taking action on a request by Lowell Bard to use school facilities for a soccer enhancement program. The board cited a need for additional information from Bard before making a decision.

Public comment

Resident Bill Peck revisited a discussion brought up last month by board member Mark Mosemann pertaining to enforcement of the student dress code. Peck questioned if the dress code applies to staff members and specifically cited a conversation between two students regarding a teacher’s apparel that allegedly did not meet the code. Peck also asked if school-issued gym shorts fall under the dress code.

Superintendent Hann noted there is an employee dress code and that on occasion it could be possible that a dress-code violation slips by unnoticed. He added he was not going to spend his day running around the school looking for dress-code violations.

“If we see it, we have no problem addressing it,” the administrator said.

Return to top