Brenda Fluke-Garber

Brenda Fluke-Garber

Meeting Monday night in the high school, the Tussey Mountain School Board, by a roll call vote of 6-1, hired a new board secretary and business manager and set in motion plans to refinance 2015 general obligations bonds that is expected to save the district around $85,0000.

The board agreed to hire Brenda Fluke-Garber of Martinsburg as the new board secretary and business manager at a salary of $70,500, with an effective starting date of Sept. 1. The contract is for a five-year period.

The new hire will fill the shoes of long-time board secretary/business manager Lisa Rankin who is retiring in February 2021.

Fluke-Garber holds a four-year degree in accounting and has been working in that profession for the past 28 years. The new position at Tussey will be a first for Fluke-Garber as board secretary/business manager.

The vote to hire Fluke-Garber was 6-1, with board member Chad Myers casting the lone no vote. Supporting the hiring were board members Harry Watkins, Jimmy Hodge, Roy McCabe, Brad Rouser, Adam Baker and board president James L. Hodge. The board session was attended by Baker, Rouser and Hodge with the remaining board members voting via Zoom. Not present were board members Brenda Folk and John Baughman.

Looking to save money, the board unanimously agreed to approve an engagement letter with Eckert Seamans Attorneys at Law which will act as bond counsel in the transaction of the refinancing the district’s General Obligation Series 2015 bonds used to pay for building improvements at the high school and former elementary schools at Robertsdale and Defiance in 2015-16.

In a related matter, the board unanimously adopted a resolution authorizing the issuance of general obligation bonds on a parameters basis to refund the district’s General Obligation Bonds, series 2015. Board secretary Lisa Rankin said that by refinancing the bonds, totaling $5 million, the district will save around $85,000.

The In other matters the board accepted a proposal from the Providence Engineering Corp. which will provide the district with structural engineering services involving a review of a cracked masonry flue and chimney at the Tussey Mountain Elementary Center at a cost of $6,700. The work also involves the preparation of repair documents for the project.

The board voted unanimously to utilize the services of Liberty Mutual Insurance “to resolve and settle” a complaint filed against the school district a few months ago regarding the denial of “free and appropriation public education,” to a student, alleged by the Office of Civil Rights. Because the matter is a student issue, no other information was available.

The board approved a Phased School Reopening Health and Safety Plan based on state COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines. Details will be forthcoming as the district prepares for the opening of the 2020-21 school term.

The board agreed to combine July’s work session and regular meeting, set for 7 p.m., Monday, July 20 at the high school.

Prior to the board session Monday night, the district transportation committee briefly discussed several back-to-school matters with appropriate action to be taken later. Among the topics included road, tile and bridge projects taking place or scheduled for start-up at Ravers Road near Marysville, a mud slide along Route 26, near Riddlesburg; and at Robertsdale where a bridge replacement project over Trough Creek is in progress.

The board discussed a proposal to hold a prom for the Class of 2020 which had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 threat.

The district will be contacting members of the graduating class to determine how many are interested in participating in the proposed prom to be held at Lake Raystown Resort. The board would like to see about 50 percent of the class participate.

The district transportation committee will also address state formula rates and fuel adjustment matters in the coming weeks.

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