Elk Lake Board Discusses Safety and Spending
By Sandra Raub
The Elk Lake School Board met Dec. 8 to reorganize following the November elections, with board members Harold Bender, Alice Carr, Matt Curley, Chuck Place and Arden Tewksbury being re-seated and sworn. Place and Tewksbury also retained their seats as president and vice-president, respectively.
The board also serves the Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center, with a second swearing in for that board taking place the same evening.
Building principals each reported on positives happening in their respective areas, from the positive response to the visiting grandparent program in the elementary school to the holiday band and chorus concerts at the middle and high school levels and the announcement of the high school spring play, entitled “60s Mania.”
President Place added his own observation of the high school music event, expressing great satisfaction with their treatment of the traditional holiday tune “Little Drummer Boy,” which received a standing ovation.
In other business, Superintendent William Bush discussed several money issues, including the final steps in the installation of the new ventilation system for the pool area. Bush reaffirmed, along with Tewksbury, that the school observed a substantial savings on the new system by waiting to replace it, with the school spending just $295,000 versus the original quote of $400,000. Bush stated that about 10 percent of the final cost has been withheld pending final tweaking of the system.
Other costs discussed included additional bills from contractors who had done roof repairs and paving jobs recently. Bush expressed that the board was not obligated to reimburse either of the two contractors, which had presented bills for an additional $6,500 from the roofing contractor for a section of roof that was above and beyond the contracted area, and an additional $19,488 requested by the paving contractor for costs that came in above the bid price. The board did not offer any support for either job and the requests were denied.
Safety issues were discussed at some length, including but not limited to the possibility of getting a flashing school zone light in front of the campus. Traffic in the area is not restricted and board member Matt Curley asked about the installation of a flashing light at the knoll above the school. More than one board member expressed frustration over the handling of the situation by the state department of transportation, given that there is no foot traffic in the area and traffic is customarily light in the area, therefore no signage is required by law. Several members expressed their concern that an accident would have to occur before something could be done.
The board discussed at some length the possibility of installing and maintaining their own “slow, school zone” type signs to alert drivers. A second sign issue brought up was for the possibility of getting a sign for the intersection of Routes PA 3001 and PA 3019 approaching the school. It was established that a sign had previously existed there until it had been destroyed by accident, and that a new sign was in the works.
Two final safety issues were mentioned by Place, the one that aroused considerable concern with him in particular being children darting in among cars in the traffic circle during pick up and drop off times. The situation is being addressed, avowed Bush. The second issue involved bus traffic on some narrow roads being impeded by water trucks servicing the gas industry in the area, but Place was very pleased to report that a few email communications and a sharing of schedules with Chesapeake has led to a rescheduling of their truck runs and alleviated the problem.
In final business, the board approved the donation of some used computers the school no longer needs to flood victims in the Meshoppen area. These computers are not perfect, it was stressed, but certainly serviceable, and the board will look into the matter in order to determine greatest areas of need in the school community.
Board meeting dates for 2012 have been announced, with the next meeting scheduled for Jan. 12. Meetings are usually held the third Thursday of the month, with a few exceptions.