Franklin board OKs purchase of more emergency systems

Students and staff within Franklin High School will soon have more precise options for calling emergency personnel thanks to the purchase of additional emergency systems, which the Franklin School Board voted to move ahead with on Monday.

The board approved the agreement with Synaptic Security Resources to purchase the BluePoint Rapid Emergency Response System in the amount of $76,545, to be funded through a School Mental Health & Safety and Security Grant from the Pennsylvania Commission of Crime and Delinquency.

Superintendent Eugene Thomas said last week that BluePoint would add police and medical alert systems with pull switches to the already-existing fire alert system in the high school building, allowing emergency responders more specific information on the type of emergency the school was experiencing.

He said the district had met with the company to arrange having the alert systems added over the summer so that they should be in place when the students come back in the fall.

In other building and grounds matters, the school board on Monday approved a payment to AstroTurf Corp. in the amount of $61,917.98 for the resurfacing of the tennis courts, including a change order for additional lines.

And a third payment was approved to Strongland Roofing Systems of Vandergrift in the amount of $56,132.19 for continuing roof repairs at the high school.

Both payments will be taken from capital reserves, and to cover the cost of the ongoing emergency roof repairs throughout the district, the panel approved the transfer of $3,246,124 from the general fund to capital reserves.

The district also approved the list of capital projects for the 2023-24 school year, and board member Andy Boland, the head of the operations committee, updated the board on the status of several ongoing projects.

Boland said the district was looking at replacing the LED high school sign out front, and the materials for the new windows at the high school would start delivering on Thursday, with installations to start July 10.

He also said crews are planning to wrap up some of their work on the high school roofs and move to Central Elementary to finish roof repairs there before school starts.

The district is also putting in new flooring in all four libraries and painting the cafeterias.

In other business Monday, the panel approved re-entering the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) for a second year, which provides free breakfast and lunch for a percentage of meals based on the percentage of low-income students.

The district first approved entering into the program in September after being determined eligible.

This year, the district will receive reimbursement for a higher percentage of free meals, about 85 percent this year as opposed to about 77 percent last year, because a higher number of students this year qualify as low-income.

“We became poorer, so we get more money,” district business manager Kim Eaton said.

In some other matters:

  • The board approved accepting a donation from the Samuel Justus Charitable Trust in the amount of $2,500 for Carnival Day at Central Elementary.
  • A field trip this month for summer boot camp students to “Oh Wow!”, a children’s center for science and technology in Youngstown, Ohio, was approved.
  • Eaton told the board that though the auditor was unable to come to the meeting herself due to being out of town, Joy Strain of McGill, Power, Bell & Associates said the district’s budget had a clean audit.
  • The panel hired four new teachers for the high school. They are Grace Gadsby (English), Brian Reed II (social studies), Logan Hogue (long-term math substitute) and Julia Janiel (learning support).
  • The board approved sending two voting delegates, Alesha Hartsfield and Tracey Leyda, either virtually or in-person, to the annual Pennsylvania School Boards Association delegate assembly in November.
  • The panel approved several job descriptions and personnel matters, and a number of annual tuition and service agreements were given the OK.