NEW BETHLEHEM – Nearly two weeks after a surprise decision to part ways with superintendent Michael Drzewiecki, the Redbank Valley School Board earlier this week heard an update on the ongoing process to fill the vacant position.

Board member Ann Kopnitsky, who is chairing the superintendent search committee, reported that several candidates have been identified who could fill the position of interim superintendent until a new district superintendent is hired.

“We’ve talked with several candidates and hope to have someone shortly,” Kopnitsky said, noting that the district must follow a designated process for hiring mandated by the Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS). “We are moving forward, surprisingly rapidly.”

Following the brief update, board members offered possible suggestions for the district to consider in the hiring of a new superintendent.

Board president Chad Shaffer suggested that this could be the time for Redbank Valley to consider the concept of sharing the head administrator position with another area school district long-term.

Board member Dee Bell offered support for the suggestion of shared services, and pointed to the money the district could possibly save.

Highlighting the difference between consolidation — when two or more school districts become one — and sharing services between multiple districts, board member Jason Barnett spoke in opposition to the idea. He suggested that there could be a weakening of district leadership by sharing an administrator.

“On paper it looks like you’re saving money, but you still have a certain amount of work that has to get done,” he said. “It’s just not physically possible to get it done without a full-time superintendent in the school district.”

Other board members contributed to the discussion, but in the end, no action was taken.

In the ongoing spirit of shared services, during the voting portion of the July 9 meeting, the board approved a revised contractual agreement which allows Redbank Valley cafeteria manager David Reitz to provide food service management to the North Clarion School District.

According to the agreement, Reitz will spend three days at Redbank and two days at North Clarion. This also means that his salary will be divided as per the same 60-percent-40-percent split.

Services provided to North Clarion will include planning menus, purchasing food and supplies, recommending work assignments, implementing federal/state regulations and other mutually agreed upon consultative services.

Other Business

• In response to the declining number of available substitute teachers in the district, the board unanimously voted to contract with Source For Teachers to assign and manage all district substitutes.

• Board members unanimously agreed to terminate the district’s agreement with Riverview Intermediate Unit No. 6 for business manager services. Immediately following, they approved a motion to advertise a full-time district business manager position.

• Because the high school was recently designated as being in a flood plain, and the district’s previous insurance would no longer cover the building, the school board approved the purchase of excess flood insurance for the year.

• Acting superintendent Amy Rupp was given authorization to electronically sign contracts, agreements, grants and/or licenses with the state Department of Education.

• The board approved changes to the 2018-2019 elementary and high school parent/student handbooks.

• Kevin Crissman was hired as primary school crossing guard for the 2018-19 school year in the amount of $1,800.

• The resignation of child specific aide Pamela Kunselman was accepted effective July 31.

• A grievance dated July 3, but presented to the board on Monday evening was denied.

• The ninth grade trip to Washington, D.C. was approved for Nov. 7-9.

• Board members approved the job description for the position of director of special education.

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