Governor Mifflin Community Center

Rendering of the new Governor Mifflin community center.

SHILLINGTON, Pa. — So far, work on the Governor Mifflin School District campuses is proceeding on schedule. That's the news the district's school board received at its workshop meeting Monday night regarding ongoing construction and renovation projects.

One challenge, though, is that costs for construction materials continue to escalate, said Dave Schrader, president of the Schrader Group, which is managing the projects.

Pressed by board member Jill Koestal, Schrader assured the board that his company continues to work to keep costs down as much as possible within the allocated budget for the projects.

One example of looking for cost savings, he said, involves the new community center, for which he said it's likely that planning and design could be finished early, before the end of the year. That would allow bids for construction to go out in January or February in order to beat additional cost increases expected in the spring.

Schrader reported that the first of three funding opportunities from the Commonwealth Financing Authority in the amount of $891,608.34 was submitted by July 30, 2021, as required. Also, a request for a Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside for $706,881.50 is being drafted, and the pre-application was submitted Aug. 16.

Supply chain issues, Schrader noted, have delayed completion of work at the middle school and district administration office, as well as at the high school. He does, however, expect those projects to be completed on time.

Boiler replacement and a liquified petroleum tank system at Brecknock Elementary School are also impacted by supply chain issues, Schrader said, but they are the only significant delays with the elementary school's renovations.

Other business

Resident Annette Baker asked board members if they were aware of the impact of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate on teacher retention and if there's a plan to cover vacancies of non-vaccinated teachers.

"That's the million-dollar question," Superintendent Bill McKay replied "We don't have answers yet, and we're awaiting guidance from the state."

Another resident said she had seen students at the elementary schools playing outside at recess wearing masks and felt that impeded their ability to get fresh air. McKay replied that masks are not mandated outside and it is each pupil's choice whether to mask.

In voting actions, the board elected Hannah Palange and Lydia Kitsch as student representatives to the board for the 2021-22 school year.

Also, the board approved revised 2021-22 substitute rates for food service and paraprofessionals at $12 per hour, and operations and secretaries at $13 per hour.

Items for next voting meeting

The board will consider renewal agreements for the 2021-22 school year with Gehman's Mennonite School, Brecknock Township, Lancaster County, for the transportation of 16 students, at a cost of $16,850,40; Shalom Mennonite School, East Earl Township, Lancaster County, for the transportation of 10 students, at a cost of $6,750; and Ephrata Mennonite School, Ephrata Township, Lancaster County, for the transportation of three students. at a cost of $45 per day.

The board also will consider a purchase, from Singer Equipment Co., of a dishwasher for Brecknock Elementary, at a cost of $50,218.26.

In addition, the board will consider a renewal agreement with Hogan Learning Academy in Rockland Township to provide special education services for any appropriately-identified students during the 2021-22 school year, at a rate of $425 a day.

Also, the board will be asked to approve agreements with New Story School in Wyomissing to provide special education services for two students during the 2021-22 school year, at a rate of $385 per day; the Devereux Foundation to provide extended school year special education services for two students for a period in July and August, at a rate of $273.49 a day, per student; and Cottage Seven Education, LLC, to provide special education services during the 2021-22 school year for five students. Transportation agreement for up to six students is $225 per day, total.

The board will be asked to approve a renewal addendum agreement with Pressley Ridge to provide special education services for a student during the 2021-22 school year. Tuition is $25,000 per semester, and $2,450 for the summer, 2022 extended school year program.

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