WILKES-BARRE – Public input helped alter the proposed Wilkes-Barre Area School Board hiring policy, and the changes will be incorporated in a revised version to be brought before the board at Wednesday's meeting.
The agenda unveiled at Monday's work session did not include a vote on the policy Wednesday.
Board President Maryanne Toole said the board received suggested changes after public release of the proposed policy in February and incorporated some of them into the document, though she added there were no major changes to a proposal that calls for an initial screening and numeric rating of applications and related paperwork without board input. High scorers would then be interviewed, again without board involvement, and the top scorers in that process would be presented for the board to vote on.
Toole had first moved to draw up a new hiring policy in December 2009, after several board members were charged by federal agents for involvement in bribes from teacher candidates. The effort languished until Toole became board president last December, and while it hasn't moved quickly, the matter has been brought up regularly at meetings.
The board hasn't had a written policy for years, possibly decades, following a procedure that allowed members to take turns recommending who gets an interview.
The board also learned that the long struggle to resolve a chronic water leak under the concrete basement floor of Meyers High School may be coming to a close. Work on replacing the old water main with one above the concrete should be finished this week. The big test comes when the old line is shut off and the new one pressurized. Board members have voiced concern that other pipes may spring leaks once full pressure is restored.
But as one problem is resolved others crop up. The stage at GAR High School has been closed because of imminent danger in the system used to hoist curtains, lights and props. A fix could run as high as $170,000 to put in a counterweighted system that allows fixtures to be lowered to the floor. A "dead-hung" system, which would require using ladders to access fixtures such as lights, would run about $90,000, and most board members voiced support for that option.
The board also discussed maintenance of the artificial turf at Wilkes-Barre Memorial Stadium, which could be cleaned and refurbished for about $3,450, board member Lynn Evans said. A vehicle that would allow the district to do better maintenance itself would run from $3,170 to $12,500, depending on the model.