The TASD School Board members held their regular session meeting last night, August 13, and voted to approve reports that had previously been discussed at the work session held one week prior. Because the meeting was based on an agenda that acting Superintendent, Leslie Estep, described as unusually short for August, many in attendance were left complimenting the brevity of the meeting.
Randy Miles, a member of the school board, told board president James Crawford, “I think you set a record here Mr. President.” To which Crawford replied, “Yes, I think we did.”
The brief nature of the meeting isn’t to insinuate that the board accomplished very little, quite the contrary in fact. Unlike borough and township meetings, which follow a similar monthly schedule, the TASD School Board holds two monthly meetings. In the work meeting, the board reviews the agenda that will be presented for a vote at the following week’s regular session. This structure provides the members of the board, as well as the members of the community, the opportunity to debate contested topics, take a week to conduct further research, and if necessary, readdress the topics before casting their vote at the regular session.
The result is an agenda that is fragmented for easy voting. Section A is labeled separate voting items and includes the opening of the meeting, approval of the agenda, and public input; announcements, special requests, and presentations are handled next in that same section; and finally items to be considered by the board are addressed.
This month, the third item under section A included financial reports and an important item from the Human Resources Committee. It was under this section of the agenda that acting Superintendent Leslie Estep was officially voted into her position. The vote was held and in a unanimous decision, Estep officially become the acting Superintendent, effective August 14.
At this point, Crawford offered Estep congratulations and turned his attention to Section B of the agenda, explaining, “That brings us to the consensus vote of our agenda. Is there any item on this part of the agenda that any board member would like to have voted separately?” After a moment of silence from the board, Crawford called for a vote and unanimously passed the consensus vote for the meeting.
Notable items included in the consensus vote include: The student activities and services committee, where Jennifer Maloney was elected to the position of head junior high girls soccer coach and the district entered into an agreement with Blair County Head Start to provide breakfast and lunch for the 2019-20 school year; under the financial operations committee, the district voted to enter a contract with the Tyrone Regional Health Network for urine screenings in accordance with the chain-of-custody requirements of the school district, a contract with Jade Bieseinger for social work services, a lease agreement with Substitute Teacher Services, and a contract with Fanelli Willett Law Offices for legal services as School Solicitor.
Additionally, the human resources committee presented a list of nine resignations and nine elections for a mix of teachers, advisors, co-chairs, long-term substitutes, and paraprofessionals for board approval, all of which was approved with the consensus vote. The board also approved the 2019-20 daily substitute and long-term volunteer lists, approved Molly Stroup, School & Home Social Worker, to serve as Truancy officer for the 2019-20 school year, and approved the increase of the Clay Avenue Crossing Guards.
The educational programs and materials committee submitted a request for a contract with Waterfront Learning Services for flexible cyber education programs as needed, and a contract with Appalachia IU8 to participate in the World of Learning Institute.
The board regulatory and activities committee also presented several handbooks for the 2019-20 school year. Changes to the Early Childhood/Children’s Center Daycare Parent Handbook, Elementary Parents-Student Handbook, Middle School Student-Parent Handbook, High School Student-Parent Handbook, and Cyber Academy Handbook, were all approved along with the consensus vote.
Finally, the board also approved the listings of the transportation drivers for Beckwith Buses and Raystown Transit service, and a bid for garbage collection was awarded to Waste Management of Altoona for a 3 year period. The employee relations committee also introduced changes to the 2019-20 Joint District Staff Handbook, and the board also approved those changes with the consensus vote.
The TASD 2019-20 school year begins August 27. The TASD School board meets bi-monthly, the first and second Tuesday of every month. Next month’s meetings will be held September 3 and 10, respectively.