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Mo Valley looks at technology updates
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
By Annie Lynn Staff Writer
HOUTZDALE - The Moshannon Valley District School Board last night heard from Ryan Skomra with Cjaws Inc. concerning updating the technical network for the district. In presenting the network update project, he explained 10 gigabytes will be the standard in a few years. However, he recommends installing a one-gigabyte system now and waiting a while to install 10 gigabytes as the price may go down.
District Superintendent, Tonya DeVecchis-Kerr, noted that they keep adding to the system and are getting overloaded. She added the new system will meet the needs of both the high school and elementary buildings. Both Skomra and DeVecchis-Kerr recommended installation of a new system as soon as possible. The district has budgeted $60,000 for technology, and the network will cost $40,177.02.
In her report, elementary principal Connie Godin noted the elementary school held 416 parent/teacher conferences during the evenings of Nov. 7 and 8. The Houtzdale American Legion Freeberg Post No. 591 Honor Guard visited the elementary school and the students observed the guard raising the nations flag and the POW/MIA flag. The guard then paid tribute to the nation's fallen with a salute and by the firing squad and playing of taps. The Moshannon Valley High School band played the national anthem and a program was held inside following the outside service. American Education Week was held Nov. 13-16 and each grade had special projects.
Dr. John Anastasi donated $500 toward the School Wide Positive Behavior program. High school principal John Dibert reported 17 students from the school competed in an Academic Decathlon scrimmage at Penns Valley High School on Nov. 8. He said there were three divisions in the competition based on a student's grade point average - honors, with a GPA of 3.75-4.00, scholastic, with a GPA of 3.74-3.00 and varsity with a GPA of 2.99-0.00. Four of the students brought home a total of 11 medals as follows: Honors division, Zoe Stiles placed first in overall highest score, first in art, third in essay and second in language and literature. Madelyn Pleskonko placed second in overall highest score, third in art, first in Essay and first in language and literature. Scholastic division, Matt Gaul placed second in art and third in social science. Sam Ohler placed second in social science.
On Thursday night 18 members of the National Honor Society, inducted 22 junior members and recognized 12 sophomore provisional members. Guest speaker was Brandon Stodart, Moshannon Valley Class of 2000, a former NHS president and now a civil engineer.
Special Education Supervisor Pam Stone noted they are preparing for the child count, a very important annual event. John Zesiger, assistant principal, said he is looking into the expansion of on-line programs. Greg Stark, Maintenance Supervisor, spoke of problems with the electrical wires, saying Penelec has tested and found faults in the wires. They have suggested two options for repair, and board member, Larry Saupp, explained the advantages of placing wiring underground, as is the current placement. Stark also noted a time-consuming problem with keys, saying there are too many, a key for every door. He suggested having a master key that would open most of the doors, adding there are various keys available that cannot be duplicated.
Elsie Harchak, Business Manager, expressed appreciation to the cafeteria staff for serving breakfast to 223 parents during National Education Week as well as serving breakfast to the visiting veterans during the elementary Veteran's Day celebration. She gave a summary of the 2011-12 annual financial report and spoke about a transfer of unassigned fund balance to the capital reserve fund and capital project accounts. A motion on the matter will be considered at the December meeting.
DeVecchis-Kerr reported that she and Harchak attended a budget meeting with Dr. Hartman and others regarding survival in these difficult financial times, noting it was very good. The board discussed Policy number 903 concerning public participation in board meetings.
Kitko said he has let anyone speak who has a problem, adding he likes to think it is a compassionate board. Ruth Saupp said she has a problem with people not following procedure and asking to speak without being on the agenda. Cassandra Kitko noted there is a policy in place they need to follow. Kris Bacher, however, said there are times when there needs to be exceptions.
There was further, at times heated, discussion about the policy with several saying procedure should be followed up the chain of command while others leaned toward allowing the public to speak whether on the agenda or not. Albert Adams suggested having those not on the agenda say what they want to talk about and then have the president ask the board if they approve. Item 5 of the policy allows a waver of the rules if the board agrees. Solicitor Brian Marshall said to weigh each person individually and get board approval for them to speak.

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