Last updated: February 16. 2013 8:19PM - 188 Views

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EXETER – Board member John Bolin reported that as of Aug. 22, the district had hired Berkheimer Associates of Bangor to replace the troubled Centax/Don Wilkinson Agency, which has failed to distribute taxes to many Luzerne County political entities.

District Business Manager Tom Melone reported the district has not had take out a tax anticipation note to cover the missing taxes.

"So far, we've been able to weather the storm," Melone said.

Before voting to accept the finance report, board President Frank Casarella told residents of the loss the district has sustained from flood refunds of paid property taxes. The district ratified a total of $54,376 in refunds to property owners.

The board appointed several new employees, including Frank Pugliese as director of physical plant/supervisor of building and grounds at a salary of $52,644.

Some residents questioned the hiring policy used to select Pugliese. Board member Carl Yorina fielded many questions about the qualifications of the candidates for the position and the interview and testing process that allowed the district to choose among them.

When that and other appointments were repeatedly questioned by residents, Casarella asserted the board would stand by a recently adopted nepotism policy and the best person for the job would be hired.

In other matters:

• The board tabled a plan that would raise the salaries of school administrators over a three-year period.

• Board members approved an agreement with Luzerne County Head Start Inc. to provide Head Start with a classroom as well as cafeteria, restrooms and outdoor play space at the Tenth Street Elementary School at a rental fee of $3,000 for the 2012-2013 school year. In addition, the district will provide meals and snacks to the Head Start program at a contracted rate of $14,768.

• The tone lightened when a resident lodged a protest against the board decision allowing the Field Hockey Parent's Association to sell confetti at home football games. The association had asked for permission to sell confetti and doughnuts. After a discussion of the problems associated with cleaning up after confetti, the board voted the group will be allowed to sell doughnuts but not confetti.

• The board presented a new policy for concussion management in athletic programs. The policy will allow the district to comply with a new state law that took effect in July.

• The board also presented for review a set of procedures that would allow board members to attend meetings from remote locations by using speaker phones, teleconferencing and videoconferencing.

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