Auctioneer choice put off by Purchase Line|
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
By Dianne Byers Staff Writer
COMMODORE - Purchase Line School Board postponed selection of an auctioneer to sell the former North Elementary School and set compensation for the district's tax collectors for 2014-2017 during last night's meeting.
Because of varied information found in the proposals received from four auctioneers interested in conducting the sale of the school building and 15 acres of property located along U.S. Route 219 between McGees Mills and Burnside and miscellaneous building contents, the board with a unanimous vote put off a choice until the March business meeting.
Several members said they had questions for the auctioneers including how fees are charged, sizes of ads, costs for advertising and preparation of the building and contents for the sale. Ron Repak of Andrews & Beard Law Offices, Altoona, district solicitor, said he, too, wanted to question some of the content as some of the services promised may not be allowed under the state's school code.
Voting to approve were Scott Gearhart, Josh Hopkins, James McMullen, Tom McCracken, John Nichol, Mary Ann Pittman, Kevin Smith, Jim Stiffler and David Syster.
"It seems we have four different systems here and it is up to the board to determine which one is best for us," McMullen said. The board at a previous meeting approved selling the building and ground and set a minimum selling price of $135,000.
Members held the line on compensating the district's elected tax collectors for the coming four years. School boards are required by state law to set tax collector's pay rate by Feb. 15 so those running for the position in the municipal primary know the salary.
Information provided last night noted the compensation per mailing for real estate, per capita and occupational privilege taxes on behalf of the school district was increased from $4.05 to $4.10 per mailing this year. Pittman said she wanted to hold the line on compensation and retain the $4.10 fee.
Several other members said they supported a freeze for two years and then a modest increase. Gearhart proposed $4.15 per mailing for 2016 and 2017.
The board voted 8-1, Gearhart voted no, to keep the $4.10 per mailing fee for 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
In other business, the board:
• held a 64-minute executive session for personnel and hiring.
• heard a report on the audit of the district's 2011-12 financial records from Brenda Pawlowski of Kotzan CPA and Associates P.C., Johnstown. Pawlowski said the financial statement showed a clean audit of the internal control and compliance in the general financial report and major federal projects and there were no findings.
• accepted the resignation of Tammy Lechner, administrative assistant to the business manager and board secretary, effective Jan. 28 and hired Breanna Voris for the positions. Voris will be paid an annual salary of $21,355 for the assistant position. Her pay will be pro-rated for the remainder of the 2012-13 school year. She will be given a yearly stipend of $2,500 for serving as the board's secretary that will be divided proportionately for the remainder of the 2012-13 school year. Gearhart, Smith and Stiffler voted no on hiring Voris for the administrative assistant position.
• granted a leave of absence for Meriann Lee, elementary music instructor, tentatively set for April 8-May 17.
• transferred Mary Connor from a 4-hour cafeteria cook position to a 4.5-hour cafeteria cook position.
• hired Michael Ninosky as head softball coach and Gary Buffone as assistant softball coach for the 2013 season.
• accepted the resignation of Matthew Falisec as assistant football coach.
• requested Janice Pearce, district business manager, prepare a cost comparison and summary for technology services. It is currently being managed by Computer Shop Cjaws of Ebensburg - the company that has held the position for eight years. Prior to that a district employee managed the service.
• noted kindergarten registration will be held Feb. 28 and March 1.
• heard a report on ongoing efforts to improve student safety from Jim Price, high school principal and member of the school safety team. Price gave an overview of meetings, trainings and upgrades made to the elementary school security system as part of the recent renovations and said plans are in the works for the state police to conduct risk vulnerability assessment at the high school. He said some of the measures implemented came at no cost to the district and are as simple as teachers closing and locking the entrance doors to their rooms.
• held a second executive session at the close of the meeting for negotiations with the Purchase Line Education Association, student discipline and potential litigation.
The board will meet for a work session on March 4 and a business meeting March 11. Both meetings begin at 7 p.m. and are held at the district's administrative offices' conference room.