School board seeks two to fill vacancies

By Rebecca Zemencik, Managing Editor •

HEGINS – Although the Tri-Valley School Board hasn’t made any decisions on the budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year, the board voted unanimously last Wednesday evening to not raise taxes above the Act 1 index established by the Department of Education for the 2017-18 year.
The Act 1 index is 3.3 percent and the current real estate tax is 32.25 mills in the district.
Directors Diane Dietrich and Carl Shankweiler were absent from the meeting.
Even though the auditorium was empty for Wednesday evening’s meeting, Board President Jerry Beaver stressed the need for community members to step up and fill vacancies on the school board.
There are currently two vacancies in Hegins West, Region 3.

“People often say that serving on the school board is a thankless job, but I receive a thank you every time I walk in the door of the school district and see just what the student body has accomplished and how well our students have done with academics and extracurricular activities,” said Beaver. “It’s very important that we get these positions filled.”
Anyone interested in learning more about the vacancies and what needs to be done to secure a seat on the board should stop by the Tri-Valley School District office at 110 West West Main Street, in Valley View or call the office at 570-682-9013.
January is School Board Director Recognition month, Superintendent Dr. Mark Snyder presented directors with certificates of appreciation for their years of service. The certificates were provided by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association and were presented to those in attendance; Beaver, nine; Guy Julian, one; John Schmeltz, seven; Roger Heidlebaugh, three; and Curtis Zemencik, one.
Tri-Valley employees who are on the district’s health insurance plan will now have the opportunity to see a doctor without leaving the comfort of their homes.
The district is implementing Capital Blue Cross Telehealth. Telehealth uses technology in order to allow patients to communicate with a doctor through live video, audio, or patient data transfer system. The doctor can see patients and assess patient symptoms, as well as obtain patient records and medical history from electronic medical records. While Telehealth isn’t complete replacement for face-to-face health care, it is a supplement for some traditional medical care.
Capital Blue Cross offers Telehealth through local doctors and through collaboration with American Well Network for minor medical illnesses.
Employees will pay a co-pay for the service. According to Dr. Snyder those co-pays are to be less than an actual doctor appointment.
In other business, the board approved a request from Jackie Deibert, on behalf of the Mahantongo Environmental Club, for a proposed play area with equipment at the Mahantongo Elementary Environmental Site.
The Mahantongo Environmental Club was awarded a $4,000 grant from the local Rotary Club. The grant is to be used toward ‘nature-inspired’ playground equipment. Installation needs to be completed by this summer.
The base of the area will be filled with an engineered wood fiber and must be a minimum of nine inches. The Mahantongo Environmental Club is purchasing and installing the base and the Rotary Club has volunteered to install two pieces of the equipment that will be purchased as Phase One.
The board approved the following actions:
• Retroactively appointed Kevin Clouser as a volunteer wrestling coach for the 2016-17 school year.
• Adding Lyric Paskel to the guest teacher list for the 2016-17 school year.
• Adding Sarah Bardo as a Pre-k – fourth grade substitute teacher for the 2016-17 school year.
• Retroactively approved James Wiest, band driver; Gabrielle Quandel, assistant drama advisor; and Kristina Dinger, volunteer for Mahantongo classroom.
• Appointed Tabitha Schwalm as assistant to the school nurse, at a rate of $14.50 per hour, including applicable benefits, effective Jan. 16.
• An internship for Donald O’Prey for his pending principal certification with Alvernia University to tentatively begin early February 2017. Clearances have been received and a start and end date of the internship are to be determined.

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