Milton drawing interest in Montandon school

Quincy Herman was named July Citizen of the Month in the Milton Area School District. She led the Pledge of Allegiance during Tuesday’s school board meeting.

MILTON — Within days of the Milton Area School District school board voting to shutter the Montandon Elementary School, three separate entities contacted the district to express an interest in leasing the school building.

The board voted in June to close the school, transferring its approximately 130 students in kindergarten through fifth grade to Baugher Elementary School.

During Tuesday’s board meeting, Superintendent Dr. Cathy Keegan announced that in the days following the vote to close the school, the district was contacted by the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit (CSIU), Behavioral Services Inc. and Crossroads Church of the Nazarene. Each of the entities expressed an interest in leasing the building.

Following the meeting, Keegan said additional discussions with the entities have not yet been held and she does not know if they’re interested in leasing the entire building or portions of it.

The board also heard from Michael Rone, of Rone Real Estate LLC, who offered his services to market the building for sale at a public auction.

“In my career, I sold 11 schools at auctions for school districts like yours,” Rone said. “If you are going to market your school, I would like to talk to you about that.”

With the Central Susquehanna Valley Transportation (CSVT) project ongoing nearby, Rone said the building is in a prime location.

“There will be lots of people interested in your school,” he said. “When you have a property like this, the only way to (sell) it is through a public auction.”

According to information provided by Rone, in 2015 he auctioned off the Laurelton Elementary School for $115,000. Other schools which he has auctioned include three in the Williamsport Area School District: Woodward Elementary School for $175,000, Round Hills Elementary School for $520,000 and Sheirdan Elementary School for $435,000.

Board President David Edinger thanked Rone for offering his services to the board. No further discussion on the matter was held.

The board approved borrowing $9.9 million, to be used for renovation projects in the district. Following the meeting, Keegan confirmed that the district secured a 2.7 percent interest rate for the borrowing. She noted that the money will be paid back through 2047.

Prior to approving borrowing the money, Melissa Hughes of PFM Financial Advisors told the board this is a good time to borrow money as interest rates are low. During her presentation, it was noted that over the next three years the district plans to borrow a total of $30 million and refinance $4 million in existing debt for a variety of potential renovation projects highlighted in a recent feasibility study.

Among the projects being looked at by the board is renovations to Baugher Elementary School.

During a previous board work session, John Howard of The Architectural Studio, said the school is in need of between $1 and $10 million in renovations. One proposal also calls for an eight-classroom addition to be built onto the current school in order to transform the building into the district’s elementary center.

On Tuesday, Howard spoke to the board on a proposal which calls for $11 million in renovations to the school. Following the meeting, Keegan said the proposal currently on the table only looks at renovations to the building and not an expansion.

The board asked Howard to try to shave money off of the current proposal by looking at options including how to structure the secure entrance to the building, and renovating the school’s existing offices rather than relocating them to another part of the building.

Keegan said following the meeting that the hope is to shave several million dollars off of Howard’s current proposal.

A series of employee transfers, with most being related to the recent closure of Montandon Elementary School, were approved during Tuesday’s meeting.

Philip Heggenstaller had his position changed from White Deer and Montandon elementary principal to White Deer and Baugher elementary principal.

Keegan confirmed following the meeting that David Slater will also continue as the Baugher Elementary School principal.

The following transfers were also approved: Kathryn Biro, first grade at Montandon to first grade at Baugher; Lorraine Blough, third grade at Montandon to third grade at Baugher; Traci Ferguson, second grade at Baugher to fourth grade at White Deer; Jaclyn Haines, sixth grade at the middle school to second grade at Baugher; Brianna Hockney, second grade at Montandon to second grade at Baugher; Jacqueline Martin, kindergarten at Montandon to kindergarten at Baugher; Rebecca Pierce, special education at Montandon to special education at Baugher; Megan Roberts, fourth grade at Montandon to fourth grade at Baugher; Desmond Shaffer, fourth grade at White Deer to sixth grade at the middle school; April Smith from reading specialist at Montandon to reading specialist at Baugher; Dwayne Brown, custodian at Montandon to custodian at White Deer; Wendy Brown, head cook at Montandon to head cashier at the middle school; Dawn Clouser, part-time food service at Baugher to part-time food service at the middle school; Joan Fifield, special education aide at the high school to learning support aide at the middle school; Margie Heggenstaller from nurse assistant at Montandon to nurse assistant at White Deer; Sarah Kitchen from secretary to Montandon principal to K-12 secretary; Justine Showers from White Deer custodian to middle school custodian; and Dorinda Young from part-time food service at Montandon to part-time food service at Baugher.

In other business, the board approved:

• Child Evangelism Fellowship of Snyder and Union Counties to use White Deer Elementary School from 2 to 4 p.m. Wednesdays, Oct. 2 through April 10.

• The following coaches: Jonathan Dick, head cross country, $5,208; and Travis Krall, assistant JV football, $4,175.

• Hiring: Maggie Parker, full-time substitute, through June 30, 2023, $207.79 per diem; Noelle Humphries, full-time substitute, through June 30, 2023, $207.79 per diem; and Courtney Baker, part-time Food Service employee, $10 per hour.

• The resignation of Megan Schoonmaker, middle school special education teacher.

Quincy Herman, a second-grade student during the 2018-2019 school year at Baugher Elementary School, was named July Citizen of the Month. She led the Pledge of Allegiance during the meeting.

The meeting included a one-hour executive session for the board to discuss a grievance and personnel matters. The board also met in an executive session at the conclusion of the meeting to discuss personnel matters.

Board members Dr. Alvin Weaver and Andrew McNeal were absent from the meeting, while Dr. Leocadia Paliulis participated in the meeting via phone.

Staff writer Kevin Mertz can be reached at 570-742-9671 or email kevin@standard-journal.com.

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