The Juniata Valley School Board of Education accepted its auditor’s report during their monthly meeting Wednesday.

The report was given by Dave Scott of Young, Oakes, and Brown who conducted the report. The report showed that the district was in good financial standing despite the difficulties of the last year. 

“That’s great you guys were in the black. That’s a good thing, especially with everything going on.” said Scott.

Board members voted unanimously to accept the report. 

Among other items on the agenda Wednesday, the board received updates regarding the district’s athletic programs from athletic director Wesley Lyons. Coordinating winter sports during the ongoing pandemic has proven difficult, but Lyons is confident the season will be a success.

“Every day it seems like the schedules are changing. We’re trying to keep it together with bubblegum and duct tape the best we can,” said Lyons, “It’s really a patchwork job putting together a schedule right now. I think I’m on version four of these schedules and we haven't even started yet.”

According to Lyons, Juniata Valley has been coordinating with other schools to see what each location's protocols are for away games to ensure that student athletes have what they need, and will be safe to play. 

“I think we kind of proved in the fall that we can get through this and have a season for them as long as we can get through this,” said Lyons, “Students have done very well. I think they’re excited to have an opportunity to play.” 

Superintendent Michael Zinobile announced that almost 100 members of Juniata Valley faculty and staff have signed up to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and will be scheduling their appointments this week. Maintenance also completed the installation of new door knobs that allow all classrooms to be locked from the inside to prevent intrusion during lockdown scenarios. 

Board members voted to approve payment to the district’s bus contractors for normal Wednesday transportation through the remainder of the school year. District business manager Brad Howe informed the board there was an alternate payment plan that would possibly allow the district to save some money based on the contractors' variable costs. According to Howe, the primary variable is the cost of gas due to buses driving less while the district remains in a hybrid learning plan. The alternate plan would save a very minimal amount, if any, and Howe recommended to continue with the original proposed plan to pay contractors through the remainder of the year as usual.

Head of student services Lisa Coble reported a new mental health program for elementary students will be launching in February. The program will bring three mental health professionals to the school to help students. Coble said the program is a comprehensive approach to ensure that students' mental health needs are being met.

“Not only are they there in school for the students when they need help, but they go to the students' home,” said Coble. 

Also Wednesday, the board:

-- approved the 2021-2022 Accelerated Budget Opt-Out Resolution.

-- authorized administration to advertise for extra-curricular position for the Media Club and FIRST Tech Challenge.

-- accepted resignation of Rob Hoover as junior high assistant wrestling coach.

-- approved Anita Smith to serve as assistant junior high girls' basketball coach for the 2020-2021 school year at a salary of $1,000.

-- approved the addition of Raylene and Aden Russell as junior high girls' basketball volunteers for the 2020-2021 school year.

Haldan can be reached at hkirsch@huntingdondailynews.com.

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