School directors blend in-person meeting with Zoom platform

Front at right, Dr. John Fairchild, Lewisburg Area School District director of administrative services, helped direct a meeting which was held both in person and online. A video camera was placed to his left which provided an image for the Zoom platform.

LEWISBURG — Getting a health and safety plan in place for the upcoming school year would be a work in progress for schools in the Lewisburg Area School District (LASD).

Cathy Moser, LASD assistant superintendent, told school directors Thursday night the specifics of the plan were still evolving.

“There was new guidance from the state as recent as Wednesday of this week,” Moser told school directors. “Trying to work with that and be responsive to our families and our staff and pull that together. Everyone is interested in coming to a final plan or at least a starting plan to begin the school year.”

Moser said parent surveys available via the district website would be helpful in gauging what they thought of the district’s efforts in remote learning in the spring. Similar surveys of the staff will gauge their thoughts of the teaching and learning done during the shutdown as well as finding out their professional development needs.

Board action at the Thursday night board meeting included passage of a reduction of the school tax penalty from 10% to zero. The move applied to all bills issued from Wednesday, July 1 to Thursday, Dec. 31.

Directors approved an insurance policy with C.M. Regent with a premium of $93,563. It included $100 million in coverage for earthquakes.

Dr. John Fairchild, director of administrative services, pointed out to the board that the Regent earthquake coverage included earth movement, such as shifting of shale beneath Kelly Elementary School. A competing plan covered seismic events such as earthquakes but not earth movement.

The Regent plan also included $500,000 coverage for an item called “violent expense.” Fairchild noted that should there be a violent incident, the district would be covered for crisis management, funeral expenses, lost wages, medical expenses, counseling and certain other coverage.

Student accident insurance with American-Axis was also approved for an $8,000 premium.

Mary Brouse, Lewisburg representative to the SUN Area Technical Institute, said a safety plan was being prepared fror the New Berlin campus. She also noted that 288 students from the five sending districts were enrolled for the upcoming school year, down from 325 in the recently concluded year.

New staff and their salaries was approved for the upcoming school year. They included Nicole Anderson, third grade teacher at Kelly Elementary School ($61,078), Ashley Lutze, fourth grade teacher at Linntown Intermediate School ($57, 629), Raelene Kiepke, English as second language program specialist at Kelly and Linntown ($53,429), Kyle Mowery, special education learning support teacher at Donald H. Eichhorn Middle School ($62,303) and Cody Botts, high school social studies teacher (53,429).

Extra compensatory positions and their salaries were approved, including Joseph Faust, athletic director ($9,216), James Zack, assistant football coach, ($4,250), Mark Burrows, assistant football coach ($4,250), William Morrow, assistant football coach ($4,250), Jonathan Moyers, assistant football coach ($1,121), Lucas Smith, assistant football coach ($1,121) and Andrew Newcomb, assistant football coach ($1,121).

Fred Coleman was approved as assistant junior high football coach ($4,250), as well as Richard Cassels, assistant junior high football coach ($4,250), Kaylyn Watts, assistant high school girls soccer coach ($2,242), Lindsay Hawksworth, assistant high school field hock coach ($2,242), Gary Stiner, assistant junior high cross country coach ($4,006) and Dillon Durinick, assistant junior high cross country coach.

Jason Walter, assistant junior high softball coach ($1,121) was also approved as well at John Field, assistant junior high softball coach ($1,230.50) and Nicholas Ferguson, assistant high school boys soccer coach ($2,461).

The meeting was held at the DiRocco Center for Instruction at Lewisburg Area High School as well as via the Zoom interactive app. Directors Virginia Zimmerman, Corey Heath, Lisa Clark and Jordan Fetzer were in person. Brouse, Tera Unzicker-Fassero, Erin Jablonski and Mary Ann Stanton appeared via Zoom. John Rowe was absent from the board meeting.

It was the first in-person meeting attended by Dr. Jennifer Polinchok, incoming as superintendent, effective Wednesday, July 1.

Staff writer Matt Farrand can be reached at 570-742-9671 and via email at

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