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Derry Area board, coal company reach agreement on mine reclamation project

| Thursday, June 4, 2015, 11:12 p.m.

Derry Area School District will bring in at least $5,000 as part of an agreement with Coal Loaders Inc. of Ligonier for a reclamation project on land adjacent to school district property.

The school board Thursday passed a resolution approving the agreement.

“Basically, what it requires is some additional drainage through the school district land, larger piping and more of a riprap drainage area to be built,” district Solicitor Ned Nakles said. “We had a lot of concerns with the project because it was going to be close to our schools. How long was it going to run? How noisy? Would there be blasting? For a number of years, we've gone over this project, we've negotiated, and at this point we also did our due diligence on Coal Loaders.”

Nakles said in exchange for allowing the work on district property, Coal Loaders will pay the district $5,000 and a small share of any coal revenues generated by the reclamation project.

“They're going to have additional bonding that we requested,” Nakles said. “They've agreed to no blasting, and they've also agreed to what is in essence a meet-and-discuss term so that they will do their best to coordinate with the school district. There won't be any trucks on school property, there won't be any equipment on school property.”

In other action, the board appointed Jodie Edmiston to fill the vacancy left when Kelly Tatone resigned last month. Edmiston, a Republican, was the top vote-getter on her party's ballot and finished second on the Democratic ballot in last month's primary election.

“I've seen how involved she was,” board President David Krinock said. “She's president of three (sports) boosters, she's president of the PTO, she's a very involved person. She has her own pre-school that adds to the Derry student population. She's just very community-involved. She's had kids go through the school. As a board, we discussed it, and we thought Jodie had all the right reasons to be on the board.”

School directors approved promoting Rebecca Bragan from half-time physical education teacher at Grandview Elementary to full-time and voted to employ her as a half-time elementary dean of students at a supplemental salary of $4,700.

The board voted to approve the Pennsylvania School Board Association Insurance Program with broker McDowell and Associates of Greensburg for property, crime, inland marine, boiler and machinery, commercial liability, auto, umbrella and school board errors and omissions liability insurance from July 1 through June 30, 2016. The policy will cost $102,469, up from $101,368 for 2014-15.

School directors approved HM Insurance Co. as insurer, through McDowell and Associates, for workers compensation insurance for the 2015-16 fiscal year. The policy cost dropped from $224,025 in 2014-15 to $178,658 with potential dividends up to 12 percent based on claims experience for 2015-16.

The board rejected all bids received for the middle school canopy repair and removal project.

In other business, the board approved the College in the High School agreement with Westmoreland County Community College, enabling students to receive college credit for 14 classes taught at the high school, and approved a revision to the high school program of studies, adding a physical education elective for students interested in obtaining American Red Cross lifeguard certification.

Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Walters told the board the Westmoreland County Farm Bureau will host its annual legislative tour at the district's high school agriculture and horticulture complex.

Derry is again a state finalist for its comprehensive literacy plan from birth through grade 12 through the Keystones to Opportunity grant program. Finalists will be honored and awards presented in Harrisburg later this month. Derry finished first in the category last year.

Greg Reinbold is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2913 or greinbold@tribweb.com.

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