Peters Township resident questions school board on need to fund band camp

Published Aug 19, 2014 at 8:45 am (Updated Aug 19, 2014 at 8:45 am)

During a previous Peters Township School Board meeting, the board approved spending $2,500 for an upcoming band camp at California University of Pennsylvania. At the Aug. 18 meeting, Robert Speshock of 102 Chestnut Court, questioned why taxpayer money was allocated for the band camp when he felt band members should have raised the funds through hoagie sales and other events. The expenditure, according to Speshock, was ill advised in light of a recent hike in school taxes.

Speshock told the board with the average township income at more than $141,000, he believed the additional cost approved by the board could have been absorbed by those with an “average” income.

Superintendent Jeannine French told Speshock that the district is required to provide services, such as a band director and nurse, during the camp. Even if the camp had been held on district property, French said the additional cost for the director and nurse would have applied. The camp was conducted during a non-school month.

Board member Jamison Hardy said with a $53 million annual budget, $2,500 was not a significant amount. Hardy told Speshock the band members did not ask for the $2,500, relying on fund raising events through the booster group to finance individual members’ attendance.

In other action, the board:

• Unanimously dissolved its SPA Committee. The committee – Sports Programs and Activities – was formed several years ago to collect and review the bylaws of all sports and activities booster groups. Now that the task is complete, there is no longer a need for the committee.

• Board member Sandy Gregg, chair of the Western Area Career and Technology Center, announced there are 530 students from Washington County enrolled for classes in the technology center for the 2014-15 school year. Of those, 30 to 31 students are from Peters Township, an increase from about 20 students in the previous school year.

• Approved the hire of Jason Marvin as assistant high school principal for a salary of $82,000. No start date was announced. Also hired unanimously were Pamela Bohn Guenther as Title One Reading Teacher at McMurray Elementary, a newly created position from state funds based on an increase in the number of students eligible for the free-lunch program; Lauren Scabilloni and Morgan McWilliams as special education teachers at Bower Hill Elementary; Nicole Burgard as a 70 percent art teacher at Bower Hill Elementary School; and Marissa Clancy as a half special education teacher at the high school.

• Approved unanimously the resignation of Michelle Vachon as a part-time paraprofessional at Bower Hill Elementary effective July 29; and the retirement of Roberta Junker as a 10-month secretary at McMurray Elementary effective Aug. 1.

• Approved donation of $500 from the PTHS Field Hockey Boosters to offset the cost of the high school scoreboard and weight room equipment.

• Approved June 16, 2015, as Kennywood Day. Tickets will increase by $1 to $26.

• Approved an agreement with the Goddard School for mid-day van service to transport up to nine students from Bower Hill to the school. Goddard will pay $60 per day for the service.

• Approved various contracts for transporting students to various programs outside the district.

• Approved purchase and installation of five American with Disabilities Act compliant emergency telephones in district elevators at a total cost of $4,652.

• Approved repairs to a 2007 school bus at an estimated cost of $8,114.

• Approved purchase of a 2010 refurbished fork lift from H&K Equipment for $14,495 with a $500 trade-in.

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