Pathfinder thanks school board for property

John Niederman, the president of Pathfinder Services, Inc., thanked the Huntington County Community School Corporation Board of School Trustees before they took their vote Monday, May 13, on whether to transfer ownership on two parcels of land to the organization.

Niederman spoke during the public comments portion of the regular school board meeting, toward the beginning of the meeting, but the item itself was one of the last on the lengthy agenda. But the board did not disappoint, voting unanimously to transfer the properties located on Lindley Street over to Pathfinder Services.

The parcels are identified as #35-05-11-400-736.901-005 and #35-05-11-400-736.902-005. The value of the properties has been appraised at $4,650.

At its March 12, 2018, meeting, the board passed a resolution authorizing the disposal of the two parcels, and Pathfinder Services expressed an interest in them. Niederman says Pathfinder plans to take advantage of a $550,000 available grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh to build a 4,000 square foot group home for developmentally-disabled clients. It would be the third such home in Huntington, with one located on Jessup Street and one recently built on Cline Street.

“Thank you for your consideration of transferring the Lindley property,” Niederman said. “This land is perfect for that type of dwelling, because it’s going to be a ranch home with a garage and storage.”

Pathfinder Services would have to give the grant money back if it could not find a property on which to build the home, he added.
In another action item, administrator personnel changes all received unanimous approvals from the board. The board accepted resignations from Dr. Russ Degitz, principal at Huntington North High School and also from Mark DuBois, principal at Horace Mann Elementary School. Both resignations are effective June 30.

The resignation of HNHS math teacher Jarod Hammel was also accepted, to allow him to become the high school’s dean of students, beginning with the 2019-20 school year.

Breanne Dyer was named as dean of students at Flint Springs Elementary School. In addition, Rod Richison was officially named as assistant principal at HNHS. Richison, who was serving as the interim assistant principal, will also oversee curriculum and instruction, testing and New Tech.

In other business before the board, several bids were all unanimously approved. They are:

• Replace Huntington North High School gymnasium sound system – bid awarded to Stylus Technologies, of Bluffton, for  $99,929.

• Replace Huntington North High School auditorium sound system – bid awarded to Stylus Technologies for $160,051.

• Replace carpet in Crestview Middle School hallways – bid awarded to Everything Flooring, of Roanoke, for $67.769.

• Replace carpet in Flint Springs Elementary hallways – bid awarded to Everything Flooring for $23,689.50.

• Replace carpet in Lincoln Elementary hallways – Bid awarded to Everything Flooring for $72,845.

At the end of the meeting, it was a vote to purchase band instruments that animated board members, as they voted 7-0 to spend $32,857 with Mynett Music, of Fort Wayne, to replace multiple band instruments. More students are wanting to join the HNHS band, said Scott Bumgardner, assistant superintendent for business and classified staff. He said the band department’s annual budget of $10,000 isn’t enough to replace the instruments needed.

“With a growing band, with the number of band students at both Crestview and Riverview coming in to the high school, that’s a good thing for our school,” he told the board. “These instruments needed replaced. We’ve been borrowing instruments, and we are actually going to put some money into our band program to make sure that our kids have the instruments that they need.”

Band Director Michael Petek said his department is at a point where some instruments that have been in use for several years need to be replaced.

“This isn’t frivolous spending,” he said. “The set of tympani that we just replaced last year retails for $21,000. … That set of tympani was here when the building was opened in 1969. So we are doing what we can to maintain the instruments for our students.”

Board member Gary McClellan said he thought it was great that the board needed to spend money to get students into the band.

“To me, this is not even an issue; this is great,” he added.