Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Jersey Shore Outfits School Buses With Cameras for $300 a Bus

JERSEY SHORE - In the interest of expediating the installation of security cameras on its fleet of 28 buses, the Jersey Shore Area School Board unanimously voted to split the cost to install the systems with its bus vendor.
The vote was made contingent upon a written agreement with its bus company.
Splitting the cost means the district will pay $8,400 to furnish the fleet with the cameras, at cost of about $300 per bus.
Employees from Wolfington Body Co. in New Buffalo, the company from which the district bought the cameras, will handle the installation, which is expected to be completed by Feb. 18, according to Superintendent Richard J. Emery.
In other business, the board authorized the solicitation for several project bids, which include repairing bleachers at its football stadium, and refurbishing the sewage treatment plants at Salladasburg and Nippenose Valley elementary schools.
While not formally voted on, the board also agreed to move forward in upgrading the high school's culinary arts classroom after hearing from Dorothy Chappel, director of career and technical education, on the classroom's declining conditions.
The project is planned to be completed in three phases, Chappel said.
This year, the district will replace its "center aisle," which consists of sinks, a dishwasher and dryer, at a cost of about $15,000.
Funding for this year's phase already is in place from department savings, according to Chappel and Emery.
Slated for the 2010-11 school year budget will be the last two phases, which will include running a gas line to the culinary area and the replacement of shelving and ovens, Chappel said.
Chappel estimated - based on the reception from various quotes - the total cost of the classroom renovation will be about $35,000.
In a presentation, Chappel also updated board members on the district's community and continuing education program.
The program exposes and educates both the community's youth and adult population to courses in areas such as business and vocational practices. It has been experiencing a decline in revenue and attendance patterns over the last two years.
Chappel guesses much of the loss might be a result of the economic collapse, as statistically the program showed a growth from its start in 2003 to the 2007-08 school year in both its fall and spring course offerings.
Board members - who all agreed on its vitality - suggested ways in which to help turnaround the program by strengthening advertisement of the program, so members in the community are more aware of what's available to them.
Also, Kelly Butzler, a Porter Township resident, spoke to board members about the importance of reopening its high school pool to the public.
Butzler cited the health benefits the community - from children to the elderly - could reap from his accessibility to them for a fee.
While the district closed the pool to the public before because of lack of apparent interest, Butzler said by advertising more may create a much better reaction if it reopens.
The district is continuing to explore the issue.
At an earlier meeting, the board approved the employment of Krista Peterson as special education director at a salary of $71,346, which is 90 percent of her actual salary of $79,273.
The next board meeting is at 7 p.m. Feb. 22 at the Administration Building.