Elk Lake Schools Off to Good Start Despite Flooding
By Sandra Raub
All three principals had positive reports on the start of the school year to present to the board at their Sept. 15 meeting, despite the recent flooding that wreaked havoc with transportation routes and displaced several families throughout the district. All planned programs are up and running smoothly, including athletics and driver’s education, and the teachers and students are looking forward to enjoying some of the same interactions with the community as they had last year, including Parents’ and Grandparents’ Days at the elementary school.
Elementary Principal Pirone also gave enthusiastic endorsement to an agricultural mobile trailer that will be bringing a hands-on experience to grades three to seven the week of Oct. 3.
A lengthy discussion was held on bus routes, with some concern being expressed by board members of how changes to routes have added to the length of time students were on the bus or affected arrival time at the school. Bus routes were combined and re-designed at a significant savings of $64,000 to the district. Concerns had come into the school over the summer, but since the start of school none had been expressed, said Principal Ken Cuomo, who reported that the average bus route is one hour, five to fifteen minutes long, and that while some are a bit longer than previously, some are shorter, and some are continuing to be adjusted. He noted that road and bridge closures due to flooding had impacted the routes to some extent, but times should adjust as the district’s roads are restored. “It’s a delicate balancing act,” he noted.
Another topic that sparked concern among board members was the legal posting of information pertaining to Act 32 Earned Income Tax procedures in area newspapers. The posting is a requirement of the implementation of this three-year process, but what it means to the taxpayer is that the tax is already in place, but there will be a change in the collector. Board members were concerned that district residents might think a new tax is being implemented, and discussed ways to make sure the advertising as recommended by the solicitor made this point very clear.
In final regular board business, visitors asked when days missed due to flooding would be made up, and it was determined that the first scheduled snow days would be used, with a teacher work day to be determined.
Immediately following the district business, the board opened their meeting on the operations of the Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center. SCCTC director Alice Davis reported that there are six new adult programs starting this year. She added that the restaurant will be open days and some evenings, and will once again be hosting their once a month prime rib dinner. In addition, the cosmetology department will have openings for appointments both evenings and weekends, enabling the adult learners enrolled in the program to get their required hours. More information on the restaurant and the cosmetology offerings can be found on their website at scctc.elklakeschool.org. In other SCCTC business, approval was given for transfer of funds to the House #3 building project, which will be refunded on sale of the house after its completion.
Davis also announced that the community fund provided $16,000 to purchase uniforms for the 316 CTC students, stressing the importance of professional appearance in the fields for which these students are training. She also discussed plans for hosting another Parents’ Night for CTC students this year, in which students and parents can meet to discuss plans for their futures and job placements after graduation. Board president Chuck Place expressed his enthusiasm for this event and hopes to attend.