Fisher Sworn in at PASD

By Aura Hill

‘A Positive Impact’

Before commencing the meeting’s planned agenda, Palmyra Area School District (PASD) took care of one item of business with help from Magisterial District Judge Carl Garver, who administered the oath of office to new board member Christine Fisher. Fisher will fill the remaining term of William Bova, who left the board in early April.

Fisher, who has taught World Language for 20 years at Milton Hershey School, said she has a vested interest in becoming a PASD board member; two of them, in fact.

“I have two children, boys, in the district; one in third grade at Pine and one in ninth grade at the high school,” she said. “This (board position) gives me a chance to give back to the greater community by making a positive impact on education and the next generation.”

Among its actions, the board moved on several financial issues, including approval of the proposed 2018-19 General Fund budget of $52,195,668 with real estate mills of 15.1. This constitutes a 2 percent tax increase.

At an earlier committee meeting, the board enjoined the board to continue refining the proposed budget to reduce the percentage of the tax hike. The vote on the final budget will take place at the June 14 meeting.

The board also renewed Nutrition, Inc.’s food service management contract for the next school year. Lunch prices will remain the same with elementary lunch, type A at $2.25; secondary lunch, type A, $3.35; breakfast, $1.10; and teacher lunch, $3.35.

It approved renewal of the vision insurance contract with Capital Blue Cross for next school year at a monthly premium of $3.75 for single and $7.49 for family.

Also approved were tax exoneration requests for 2017- 18 per capita taxes; 2018-19 Lancaster- Lebanon Public School joint purchasing bids for copy paper, instructional supplies and trainer medical supplies; and the 2018-19 Lebanon County Career and Technical School budget.

‘Soft Soil Caverns’

The board took action on a number of fronts at its May 3 meeting, including sinkholes, the much discussed high school One-to-One initiative and appointment of a new board member.

Bernie Kepler, Assistant Superintendent reviewed a geophysical report submitted by ARM Group, Inc. following a study of a sinkhole problem at Palmyra Middle School, which is presently in the throes of renovation and the addition of a new classroom wing.

Kepler translated colorful slides showing bright demarcations of the strata beneath in the area of an injection well. He pointed out a wide swath of light blue around the school and parking lot and said that area is all soft soil 20 to 25 feet deep.

“The scan shows soft soil caverns running from east to west. Stormwater runs east to west and washes away the soil under the parking lot,” he said. “This is responsible for depressions in the parking lot, which is scheduled to be repaved this summer.

“Before we try to remedy the situation, we have to do something with the injection well. First would be to drill deeper than the existing well, making it 100 to 200 feet. The new deeper well would maintain stormwater as it is supposed to.”

Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds Heath Dresch said there will be an increasing volume of water coming from the roof of the new addition. Depending on the capabilities of the existing well, the need for an additional well is a possibility.

Kepler shared ARM Group Inc.’s recommendations.

Phase One, drilling the existing well and determining its capability, will cost $25,000 to $40,000. If it is determined that a new well is required, Phase Two would be three days of site work at a projected $17,000 to scan the area for the location of the second well. The actual drilling and testing of the second well is $25,000 to $80,000.

He said the board could take action by phase as needed.

“If the first well, after being deepened to below bedrock, is close to capacity, we should think about drilling a second one,” Dresch said.

Darcy Brenner Smith, Director of Business Affairs, said the district has $151,000 in reserve for sinkholes.

“It is unlikely that we will be paving the parking lot this summer,” Kepler said. “We will have to get bids from the drilling companies. It depends when they are available.”

The board moved to go forward with Phase One of the project.

In other action, the board approved the One-to-One initiative for Palmyra High School that will furnish laptops for each high school student.

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