$1 million interest-free loan sought by Sto-Rox for building improvements

-SCHOOL NEWS-


By Elizabeth Perry


Sto-Rox directors prioritized building improvements and student mental health during the district’s Sept. 29 meeting.


The directors agreed to a

n interest-free $1 million loan from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

The Financial Recovery Transitional Loan will be used to help pay for physical improvements to district buildings as part of a state-mandated recovery plan.


“The loan Includes, but is not limited to physical improvements,” said Dan Rinkus, communications specialist for the Sto-Rox School district.


All the buildings are being considered for improvements. In particular, outdoor solar LED lights

for the junior/senior high school parking lot have already been ordered. The paving of the parking lot there will be scheduled as soon as the loan is approved, said Superintendent Megan Van Fossan.


Business Manager Paul Sroka said the $150,000 paving project could begin as early as November.


Metal detector replacements and video camera upgrades are also being considered.


Total costs for these improvements, which will improve security at the buildings, have yet to be determined.

The district is seeking out estimates from different companies.


“This is a long-term plan that we will develop. Availability of funding will be the key to the timelines,” Rinkus said.


The board voted to accept an agreement, pending solicitor review, with The Efficiency Network (TEN) to audit school buildings to make them more energy efficient. The company discussed the possible need for replacing heating and cooling equipment within the district’s high school and elementary school.


TEN would provide an Energy Service Companies Plan Project.


They also approved an agreement with Computer Centerline, to provide an IT review and audit of the district’s information systems, pending solicitor review.

Mental health

The Counseling Initiative group in Robinson has been approved to treat students who may need therapy in school. Prior to the Sept. 29 vote, students who had private insurance had no treatment options within the district. The other provider, Pressley Ridge, only serves students on Medicaid.


Madyson Scheller, director of operations for the organization’s Student Initiative program, said at a Sept. 22 meeting the therapy provider is based locally and will provide therapy for privately-insured students at no cost to the district.


Angela Stutzman-Raley said in a phone interview that the organization was approached by Van Fossan about becoming a provider for the school. Currently, the Student Initiative is working within Montour School District to provide its students with therapy.

“We want to contribute to the community we chose to put our business in,” Stutzman-Raley said.


The group is working with Single County Authority and Community Care Behavior Health, the “gatekeepers” who determine which companies can provide Medical Assistance Care Services for families to get a facility contract for Sto-Rox School district, Stutzman-Raley said.

In other school news:

• The board approved a memo of understanding with Crisis Center North for school-based counseling services for students dealing with domestic violence issues.

• Clare Teti, the Sto-Rox school psychologist, was given a $125 per day rate increase.


• The district once had two psychologists, Van Fossan said, and Teti assumed all the duties of the other psychologist when that individual left.


The MOU will be in effect until June 30, 2023.


• The board accepted the resignation of Alexandra Coyle, the K-3 Life Skills Teacher and agreed to advertise for a replacement. Coyle’s last day was slated for Oct. 12.


• Additionally, there are 77 kindergartners enrolled this year, a decrease from last year’s 106 students.


• The board voted to move Denise Grimme to teach kindergarten. There are three second-grade classes, down from four last year.




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