DuBOIS — All active employees of the DuBois Area School District will be allowed to attend athletic events at no cost for the 2018-19 school year.

At their Thursday meeting, the district’s directors approved a proposal which will provide to each active employee and to their spouse or one member of his or her immediate family unit, a total of two passes granting free admission to all school-sponsored athletic events, excluding all PIAA playoff games for the school year 2018-19.

In the event that an employee should misuse the this pass in any way, the pass would be forfeited.

Added as a late agenda item, the proposal passed in a 5-3-1 vote. Board President Patty Fish, with Directors Lee Mitchell and Mark Gilga, voted no. Directors Albert Varacallo III, Larry Salone, Sam Armagost, Gilbert Barker and Jeffery Madinger Sr. voted yes. David Schwab abstained.

“I’m going back to the previous board, and I thought we went over this,” Gilga said prior to the vote. “I thought there were passes before the last contract, we actually took that out. To me, I’m against it, for the simple fact that if it was something that brought us to where we’re at today, that people feel that, I’ve heard different comments on it. If they feel they need a pass to support an event, I just think that’s wrong.”

Salone said he disagrees with Gilga.

“I have two little girls that play sports. And I know how important it is for those kids to see not just teachers, and that’s why this isn’t specific to the union contract, it’s for all employees, because they (students) want to see them there. They want to see us there,” said Salone.

Salone said his daughters love it when they see someone who is part of the school system at their games.

“To me, it fosters a camaraderie, a certain amount of respect and relationship that you can’t get in the classroom,” Salone said. “But you can get it outside of the classroom and that’s also kind of our job, is to make sure we’re building good individuals for the future. It’s important to build those relationships, because you never know how that may translate to somebody out in the real world or in the classroom.”

Fish said she doesn’t think it’s fair to charge students and not staff.

“I do like the idea that it’s for all staff, not just for union staff,” Fish said. “But, I don’t know, something that sticks in my head is, I just think of the parents, because it’s like they pay for the sporting equipment, they pay for all the trips, and we’re going to give out these passes, I would think it would go to parents because they put a lot of money into these sports, so I’m just not quite sure how parents would feel about that. I kind of see all sides.”

During a public comment period, Jill Schwab, a teacher, noted that the board was given football tickets.

“I saw that as a slap in the face for the teachers, that you were given tickets and we weren’t,” Schwab said. “I know my husband (David Schwab) got them. We were not going to use them for that reason, that it was a slap in the face for the teachers that you’re not getting them, but we’re going to give them to them (board).”

DuBois Area Education Association President Dawna Vanderpool thanked the board for granting the passes. She acknowledged Salone, Assistant Superintendent Wendy Benton and Athletic Director Chuck Ferra for helping to spearhead the idea.

“Larry and I chatted about it a little bit, and I do think it is a very nice and generous gesture of goodwill that will do those things that Mr. Salone was hoping for, so thank you,” said Vanderpool.

Salone also noted that PIAA sporting events are the property of the PIAA.

“You can’t give out tickets, and you have to pay whatever they decide to charge you to pay,” Salone said.

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