BROOKVILLE — A motion to open the high school for walkers during the winter months drew some questions from members of the Brookville Area School Board at its monthly meeting last week.

For several years the downstairs hall of the senior high school has been opened after school to walkers during the winter months. Last year about four walkers used the school.

Board member Frank Bartley said, “It makes no sense to me to have a program with four or five people. It makes no sense to me.”

Other members of the board disagreed.

Kerith Strano-Taylor asked if the program causes a burden for administrators, and when told it doesn’t, she said, “If there is no burden, and it’s from 5 to 7 when no students are here and walkers are limited as to where they can go, I see no problem in opening our building that was paid for by public tax dollars.”

Rick Ortz said he agreed. “If we’re not spending any money on it, if we’re not putting any man power into it, it’s no different than sticking 700 people in the gymnasium for a basketball game.”

Board president Don Gill said, “I like the idea that we are doing something and I don’t think our administration would bring us something they felt would be a hindrance to the any part of the safety of our school.”

High school Principal Ruthanne Barbazzeni said the “building is secured except for the hall where they walk in. There is also the possibility of them to go to the gym when an event is taking place. Other than that the building is secured.” She also said all the lockers in the hallway are secured by combination locks.

“We have not had any issues. The only concern that I would consider would be the liability, and those people that are coming in are signing off on liability, indicating they are walking at their own risk, and there really is no risk. It is not really any different than a person walking into the building for a sporting event,” Barbazzeni said.

The motion was approved unanimously.

The hallway will be available to walkers Monday through Friday between 5 and 7 p.m. until April 30. The school will not be open for walking on holidays, snow days and weather-related early dismissal days.

Student representative Luc Doolittle gave his report, highlighting Homecoming activities and fall sports that are coming to a close. “On behalf of the student body I would like to thank all the coaches and everyone else that was involved in making the sports season such a success,” he said.

Enrollment

Superintendent Erich May gave an updated enrollment report. Currently there are 793 students enrolled in the elementary schools and 667 in the high school. The total is 40 students less than last year’s total enrollment of 1,500 students.

Financial action

The board approved the transfer of $21,446 to the Capital Reserve Fund to pay for the budgeted painting of windows and doors at Northside Elementary School. Total cost was $15,050 for painting the windows and doors, and $6,396 for painting the tower.

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The board voted to refinance the district’s general obligation bonds of 2013 if it will save the district at least $145,000 in interest. The maximum amount of the new loan will be $7,935,000.

Donations

Donations accepted by the board included: $1,000 from the Fraternal Order of Eagles #983 in Brookville as a helping hand to assist students and families in need; $500 from the Brookville Firemen’s Club for Homecoming activities; $100 by PennDOT for participating in its “Paint the Plow” program; and $2,895.22 by the Brookville area Raider Scholastic Foundation for AP exams and vinyl/laser cutter supplies.

Student organizations

Approved was a request from the FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) to attend the State Leadership Workshop, to be held November 3 and 4 in the Pocono Mountains. Seven students will be participating, accompanied by one teacher.

The board approved establishment of a new DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) Club. Assistant principal Kyle Gordon explained that it will be a competitive club, giving students additional help in career preparation.

Future meeting

The next meeting of the Brookville Area School Board will be a work session at 7 p.m. Monday, November 11, in the LGI room at Hickory Grove.

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