DUKE CENTER — The Otto-Eldred school board started their evening appointing Kelly Bruno for Region III to fill a board seat vacated by Keith Cousins.

The appointment will be through November. This is temporary and any interested individuals will need to contact the McKean County Democratic or Republican committee to be placed on the November ballot to complete the remaining two years of the term.

The board then heard from representatives from Tremco to share a presentation on conditions of the elementary school roof. Two sections need to be addressed in the near future. The original section of the building is a candidate for restoration. The 1980s addition will need to be replaced in the near future. The board agreed to move forward with planning for a restoration, likely at a cost of just over $200,000. Replacing the roof on the addition will cost nearly $800,000. Additional planning will be needed to establish a timeline for this replacement.

During administrative reports, middle and high school principal, Harley Ramsey, reported he has been working with the Otto-Eldred Education Association to develop a memorandum of understanding covering the development and delivery of online courses. Probability and Statistics and Sociology are the two courses being developed at this time. This will provide a model for future courses, allowing the district to keep the content local, save money, and provide teachers with additional opportunities to supplement their income. Seven students are currently involved in this pilot.

Ramsey will also be bringing changes to the board in coming months regarding updates to graduation requirements and mantle requirements. This is part of ongoing efforts to make existing practices clearer for parents and students, while keeping up with changes at the state level.

Ramsey also discussed the growing concern of vaping. He reported that there have been three suspensions due to vaping and two due to off-campus alcohol involvement. Ramsey is currently looking into options for a vaping education program to be presented to the student body.

Another issue that will be addressed is the lack of sportsmanship from parents and other spectators, which is a growing problem. Athletic Director Tim Burris and Ramsey are working with game managers to be more diligent in addressing such issues. Burris and Ramsey are also meeting personally with the biggest offenders as needed. It may be necessary to ban some spectators from events, an issue that may come to the board.

Principal of Elementary and Special Education, Lindsay Burns reported the Sensory Path is up and running and students are loving the new addition in the hallway. “The students are off to a great start. I’ve observed established classroom communities and relationship building as well as a great start to academic material being delivered. The excitement and smiles haven’t left the faces of the students,” Burns said.

During staffing discussions, resignations were accepted from Deb Rhinehart (Kindergarten Aide), Chelsey Murray (High School Science), and Brian VanCamp (custodian). Rea Gibble was approved as long-term sub for the high school science and stem position. Steve Crawford was approved to fill the full-time custodian vacancy. Deb Bird was approved as a para-educator supporting the LSS students at the CTC for 2.5 hours a day. Mike Miller was approved as an after school HS cafeteria monitor for 1/2 hour per day. A various of substitute teachers and support aides were also approved.

A volleyball “Pink Out” game benefiting the Pink Pumpkin Project was approved for Oct. 16th vs. the Bradford Owls. OESD will donate 50% of admissions at the volleyball event. A Pink Out night is also planned for the last home football game vs. Cowenesque Valley.

The National Honor Society banquet was approved to be held at the Old Library Restaurant on Oct. 22 at 6:30 p.m.

In community news, the high school open house is from 6 to 7 p.m. Sept. 18, followed by a “meet the teams” night at the football field. All community members, students and parents are invited to attend. The elementary open house will be held on Sept. 25; information will be sent home with students.

The O-E 21st CCLU and IU9 will sponsor “Drugs 101: What Parents Need to Know” to educate parents about the various forms of drugs and the peer pressures facing students to use them. A mock bedroom of a teenager serves as a backdrop to the presentation. This is a free program and for adults only.

The program will be held today at the Otto-Eldred Elementary School. From 5:45 to 6 p.m. will be a bedroom preview, followed by a presentation from 6 to 7 p.m.