Still no bus contract for Trinity

March 21, 2013

Trinity Area School Board did not award a transportation contract at its voting meeting Thursday.

Three motions to award the bus contract failed for lack of a second.

Board president Scott Day motioned the contract be awarded to First Student Bus Co., then GG&C Bus Co., and finally GG&C and Schweinebraten bus companies.

The school district’s attorney, Chris Furman, said the failure to award a bid was not a surprise.

A motion to award the contract to GG&C and Schweinebraten at the school board’s March 7 meeting ended in a 3-3 deadlock, with three directors with former ties to GG&C barred from voting on the new contract.

GG&C filed a lawsuit against Trinity in December, and the two sides met in Washington County Court Tuesday, where President Judge Debbie O’Dell Seneca directed them to hold a settlement conference.

The conference is scheduled for March 27, where the parties will attempt to reach a resolution of their dispute.

“Obviously, the board is still deadlocked. We’ll see what happens at the settlement conference regarding litigation,” said Furman. “Until then, the board is deadlocked and still deliberating.”

In other business, the school board approved some security measures at the elementary schools and Trinity Middle School. The board approved the purchase of Jamblocks, a lightweight piece of steel that can be slipped under a classroom door to secure it in place.

The device can slow down or prevent intruders from entering, and buy more time for police to arrive. The Jamblocks will cost approximately $12,000 and will be installed during the summer.

The school board also voted to replace the door knobs and door locks at the middle school at a cost of about $27,536.

The safety measures were among those recommended during a safety audit conducted in January by a Pittsburgh security company.

Also at the meeting:

• An agenda item to extend the contract of athletic director Bobby Jones was removed from the agenda. The meeting was continued until April 1 at 1 p.m., where the contract will be voted on.

• A motion to furlough French teacher Sarah Paterra, effective at the start of the 2013-14 school year because of the elimination of the French program, failed by a 4-4 vote.

• A motion to withdraw from the Intermediate Unit 1 Health Insurance Consortium Trust failed for lack of a second.

• Dr. Beth Tully, Trinity North principal, discussed the Blessings in a Backpack program, where 160 schoolchildren who are on the federal free and reduced-price meal program are provided with a backpack of food to take home on weekends during the school year. Improved school attendance, test scores, behavior and health have been attributed to the program, and the school district is looking for sponsors or donations to continue the program.

It costs $80 to feed one child during the school year. To make a donation to Blessings in a Backpack, please call Chairman Sandra Clutter at 724-228-7910.

Karen Mansfield is an award-winning journalist and mom of five who has been a staff writer for the Observer-Reporter since 1988. She enjoys reading, the Pittsburgh Steelers, a good glass of wine and nice people.

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