The Tunkhannock Area School Board heard about a program presently working in Bradford County that helps combat hunger with an eye toward possibly implementing in this part of Wyoming County.
Danielle Ruhf, of Laceyville, who is director and founder of Child Hunger Outreach Partners (CHOP), was at the school board meeting to talk about the successes of weekend backpack programs at a number of schools. She said they started with 45 kids in Bradford County and today have at least 200 families served by pop-up pantries.
She noted that Wyalusing, Towanda, and Northeast Bradford have started small, in-school pantries, that allow students to take food as needed, either to eat at home or at school.
Ruhf noted that a student might not have the money to buy lunch on a particular day and could instead eat food from the food pantry. That would include non-perishable food items as well as fruits and vegetables.
She explained that the program is 100 percent volunteer run, and “Our goal is to keep a generation from going hungry.”
Board members accepted the presentation warmly, and superintendent Heather McPherson said it was a great opportunity for Tunkhannock. “It doesn’t cost us anything and I just want the board to be informed about its availability.”
The board also heard from STEM Academy Principal Kelly Carroll about a public relations outreach for the school district that was online (visit tasd.net and click on ‘public relations’ link) to let people in the community know what is going on in the district.
McPherson noted the district would also be launching a Facebook page as another step in getting the word out in a fast-paced world.
She said the PR effort would be looking to have a budget for the next year.
The board also got an update from its Buildings and Grounds Committee regarding the sale of the Evans Falls and Mill City school buildings.
The board approved a resolution to have Shamrock Auction Services (Burke’s) as the auctioneering firm in the upcoming auctions of those buildings.
Chief operating officer Shane Powers said there would be a 10 percent buyers premium, and three percent of that is a broker participation fee.
She also noted the auction that was announced for Jan. 11 as being conducted by Shamrock Auction (Burkes) would be at 1 p.m.
Powers said that advertising would be extended to Lancaster, Williamsport and Allentown as well as local opportunities.
Board member Holly Arnol said she wanted the public to know that the board was serious about selling the schools and a $10,000 down payment would be required of the successful bidder to be held in escrow.
Powers also noted that Burkes would be cataloging the contents of both buildings in early December, and advertising for that sale would likely be concurrent with the sale of the buildings.
In a supplemental agenda item, the board adopted a resolution that committed resources from the district’s financial statement of June 30, 2019, in the amount of $2.5 million “for the purpose of future PSERS rate increases.”
Asked about why there were still such rate increases when it was explained in consolidation discussion over the past five years that these rates would decline, McPherson said “what they once said has not materialized.”
And, board member John Burke said it was possible they could continue to 2034.
In other action, the school board approved a resolution for the distribution of a Fusion C3 (TASD’s Cyber School) student survey; a resolution to accept a $20,000 Safe Schools Targeted Program Grant with the funds to be used for the salary of a drug/alcohol prevention specialist; a resolution about the purchase of a textbook, ‘Working With Young Children’ at a cost of $1,949.45.
Under the superintendent’s report were resolutions - all approved - for the resignation of paraprofessional Christine Swilley; the retirement of custodian Clyde Race; the appointment of Christina Hunsinger and Lynda Swenson as an instructional aides; the appointment of Besty Cobeck as paraprofessional; the transfer of Lisa Howell to Food Service Worker II; the addition of Dianne Kenia as support staff substitute; and the following extracurricular positions (Tim Mislevy as diving coach, Adryanna Appleby as freshman girls basketball coach, and Robert Brown as 8th grade girls basketball coach); as well as conference attendances by Harold Quinnan, Joshua Pratt, Jeff Ceccarelli, Paul Maleski, and Debra Johnson.