Athens school board approves property sale, STAR program
The Athens Area School District board of education Tuesday approved a resolution that will allow the district to sell its former administration building on Willow Street.
The resolution, which board solicitor Patrick Barrett said was required by the district's selling code in order to proceed, declares the building as "unused and unnecessary." The building, which the resolution said is in disrepair, has not housed administrative offices for several years and, until recently, was being used solely as a storage area.
The district's maintenance team recently cleaned out the building, removing boxes and paperwork that had been stored there, said business manager Kevin Rimmey. About 7,000 pounds of paper were shredded, and items to be kept were moved to a supply area at Lynch-Bustin Elementary School, Rimmey said.
Barrett said the property may be sold by auction, sealed bid or a contract with court approval.
The board also approved the opening of a satellite operation in Harlan Rowe Middle School for the Student Transition and Recovery Program.
The Athens location, which Harlan Rowe principal Scott Webster said would begin operations immediately following board approval, will make the program more accessible to students in the Valley area. Previously, students enrolled in the program had to be transported to Monroeton, Webster said.
The program, which Webster said decreases student discipline issues and raises grades, requires enrolled students to participate in a physical training regimen starting at 5:30 a.m. each weekday morning. The students then attend school and return to the program in the afternoon for tutoring, said captain Carla Dieg of the STAR program.
The district will not incur any additional costs to house the satellite operation, Webster said, and will save in transportation costs for both the district and parents who previously had to drive their children to Monroeton in the early morning hours.
"By having them in our building, we can utilize this program to the fullest," Webster said.
Magisterial District Judge Michael Shaw was also present Tuesday to lend his support to the program and said it has helped students in his truancy elimination program.
"It benefits the school, it benefits the kids and, obviously, it benefits the community," Shaw said.
Superintendent Diane Place also introduced to the board Tuesday a revised procedure for use of the district's facilities that will be placed on the board's Dec. 4 meeting agenda.
A committee recently updated the procedures, which Place said had not been reviewed in several years.
The procedures outline fee schedules and guidelines for using the facilities, and while it protects the school and the district first, "it is our position to make the facilities accessible to the community," Place said. "We want to make it available to everyone, but it is a privilege."
The proposed procedures will be placed on the district's website, www.athensasd.org, for public review, Place said.
Amanda Renko can be reached at (570) 888-9652; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.