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School board postpones Ligonier Valley roof replacement

| Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 9:15 p.m.

After working for more than 300 days without a contract, teachers asked Ligonier Valley school directors to invest in the district's educators.

Represented by Amy Salay, an elementary counselor and chief negotiator for the Ligonier Valley Education Association, teachers and their allies, all wearing blue T-shirts, came to last week's school board meeting.

“Teachers who maintain a graduation rate of 99.3 percent is a good investment. Teachers who implement new programs and technology is a good investment. Teachers who set higher education goals themselves is a good investment. Teachers who are committed to maintaining (state standards) and teach with rigor all year long is a good investment,” Salay said to school directors.

“We have done our part in fiscal responsibility by maintaining the status quo. Let us commit to investments. Only then can we adhere to our mission statement,” she said.

School directors approved a new mission statement May 13 as part of the state-required comprehensive plan process.

Part of the mission statement commits the district to “collaboration and communication among vested stakeholders to create a safe, supportive and welcoming atmosphere for students.”

But school directors postponed replacing the roof at Laurel Valley Elementary School, after bids came in about $100,000 higher than what business manager Don Irwin expected.

Irwin said he anticipated the project to come in between $500,000 and $700,000. The lowest bid came in at $786,000.

School directors followed his recommendation to reject the bids, sign a one-year agreement to address any emergency roof repairs, at a cost of $6,000, and reissue the request for bids in December.

“I don't know if we were too late in starting the bidding process, and these roofers already have enough work, so they are willing to do the work, but at their price,” he said. “I think we have a fiduciary responsibility to repair the roof, but I don't think we necessarily have to do it this summer, and there's no reason to overpay.”

School directors also approved a resolution that gives administrators power to reduce staff as needed.

This “standard resolution” appears on the agenda every year as a precautionary measure, Irwin said.

Next year's budget, approved tentatively by directors last month, does not account for any reduction in staff, Irwin said.

The board tabled the contract renewal for Superintendent Chris Oldham, at the solicitor's request. The resolution would extend Oldham's contract to June 30, 2018.

In other news, directors approved the 2013 Homestead and Farmstead Exclusion Resolution, which gives the owners of such properties a discount of $66.60 on their real estate taxes, according to Director Irv Tantlinger.

Jewels Phraner is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-1218 or jphraner@tribweb.com.

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