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Minutes - March 13, 2024 Committee of the Whole/Voting


The Hollidaysburg Area School Board met for a Committee of the Whole/Voting Meeting on  Wednesday, March 13, 2024 in the Senior High Library, 1510 N. Montgomery Street, Hollidaysburg.  Ms. Bilek called the meeting to order at 7:35p.m. and opened the meeting with the pledge to the flag.

Roll Call was taken by Mrs. Fiscus with eight members present.  Attending were Ms. Bilek, President, Ms. Costanza, Vice-President, Ms. Sullivan, Dr. Li, Mr. Brenneman, Dr. Wells, and Ms. Luther.  Dr. Sommer participated virtually.  Mr. Snyder was absent.

Also present were Mr. Green, Interim Superintendent, Dr. Palazzi, Director of Curriculum, Mrs. Prosser, Director of Special Education, Mrs. Fiscus, Business Manager/Board Secretary, Mrs. Thomas, Director of Accounting Operations, Mr. Caldwell, Director of Human Resources/Transportation, Mr. Nihart, Director of Physical Plant, Mr. Arthur, Director of Technology, Mr. Walstrom, Mrs. McConnell, Mr. Keagy, and a representative of the Altoona Mirror.  Attorney Carl Beard, Sr., Solicitor, arrived at 6:00p.m.

Public Comment

Mike Fullington of Fullington Trailways, introduced Jonathan Berzas, President and CEO of Fullington School Bus, who thanked the board and administration for the contract proposal and their partnership with district.

Mike Rawlins, HAEA President, addressed the board regarding the board’s appeal on an arbitration decision on a personnel matter.

State Representative Jim Gregory expressed concern over the book Gender Queer and related his own personal circumstances as a young child.

Scott Barger addressed the board regarding restoring confidence in the material that students are being taught is appropriate.

Alicia Andrews commented that the book Gender Queer is part of continuing education through PDE.

Student Representative Report

Per Board Policy 004.2-Student Representatives to the Board, Junior Representative Jefferson McCoy gave a monthly report to the board.

McClure Company Solar and Geothermal Presentation - Mark Gallick from McClure Company presented scoping audit findings along with an analysis of adding a solar field on district property.  The presentation also included an analysis of adding a geothermal heating system to Charles W. Longer and the Junior High buildings.

Business Office Report / Mrs. Fiscus

The board met in executive session Wednesday, February 28, 2024 at 6:00p.m. for personnel and policy discussion, and March 5, 2024 at 6:00pm and March 13, 2024 at 6:00p.m. for personnel.

Meetings for April, 2024:
Physical Plant Committee 
Wednesday, April 10, 2024
Time: 5:00p.m.
Senior High Library
1510 N. Montgomery Street
Hollidaysburg PA 16648

Committee of the Whole/Voting 
Wednesday, April 10, 2024
Time: 7:00p.m.
Senior High Library
1510 N. Montgomery Street
Hollidaysburg PA 16648

All board meeting agendas are available for public viewing (3) days prior to each meeting date on BoardDocs.  BoardDocs web address is Interested parties should enter the public site.

On motion of Dr. Wells, seconded by Dr. Sommer, Per Board Policy 006 Meetings, the board approved the minutes of the February 7, 2024 Committee of the Whole/Voting Meeting.  The motion carried on a roll call vote with eight yes votes and zero no votes. 

On motion of Ms. Sullivan, seconded by Dr. Wells, the board approved financial reports for February, 2024.  The reports included Treasurer’s Report, List of Payments, Investment Portfolio, YTD Expenditures/Revenues, Budget Transfers, Food Service and Senior High Student Store for January, 2024. The motion carried on a roll call vote with eight yes votes and zero no votes.  Exhibit 1

Ms. Sullivan initiated a motion, seconded by Dr. Li, Per Board Policy 006 Meetings, to approve the following contracts/agreements:

Cooperative Agreement with Saint Francis University effective November 1, 2023 through June 30, 2024 for the College in the High School Program for the 2023-2024 school year.  No Cost (Parent Paid) Exhibit 2

Grant Agreement with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture effective July 1,2023 through June 30, 2025 to assist with updates to the Tiger Victory Garden Cost: $7,500 (paid by Grant funds) - No District Cost Exhibit 3

McDonald's Make Activities Count Mac Grant awarded by Local McDonald's Owner Joy Nyanko effective the 2023-2024 school year to support the JH Library and Tiger TV - Grant award: $450  No District Cost Exhibit 4

Affiliation Agreement with Messiah University effective February 7, 2024 through February 7, 2025 to facilitate education and training of students to help meet the needs of the communities No District Cost Exhibit 5

Contract with Figma, Inc. effective February 20, 2024 through June 30, 2024 for a collaborative web application for interface design subscription No Cost Exhibit 6

Contract with Fullington Auto Bus Company, effective July 1, 2024 through June 30, 2029 to provide student transportation services.  Cost: 2024-25 school year $1,692,621 Exhibit 7

The motion carried on a roll call vote with eight yes votes and zero no votes.

Ms. Luther initiated a motion, seconded by Dr. Li, to approve the following:

A Resolution to Authorize Participation in the Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8 Cooperative Bidding Program for the purpose of purchasing paper supplies for the 2024-2025 school year. Exhibit 8

Federal Program Budget Adjustments:

2023-2024 Budget:
ESSER III:  $3,669,815 (Increase)
Title I:  $27,509 (Decrease)
Title IV: $950 (Decrease)
Title II: $7,451 (Increase)
Title II: $11,193 (Increase) - 2022-2023 Carryover
School Mental Health and Safety and Security Grant PCCD $202,330 (Increase) - 2022-2023 Carryover
Title I: $13,927 (Increase) - 2021-2022 Carryover
PDE Safe School Targeted Equipment: $50,000 (Increase) -2022-2023 Carryover
ARP ESSER 7% Learning Loss: $167,938 (Increase) 2022-2023 Carryover
ARP ESSER 7% Summer Programs: $41,931 (Increase) 2022-2023 Carryover
ARP ESSER 7% After School: $32,960 (Increase) Exhibit 9

The Appalachia IU08 2024-2025 General Operating Budget which totals $6,594,381.77 for both revenues and expenditures representing a 13% increase. Exhibit 10

The motion carried on a roll call vote with eight yes votes and zero no votes.

Election of Appalachia IU08 Board Members for 2024-2025

The Hollidaysburg Area School District shares an IU8 board member seat with Williamsburg-Community School District on a three-year rotating basis.

Our current IU08 Board representation term will end on June 30, 2024.  Hollidaysburg Area School District is on a three-year rotation basis with Williamsburg Community School District.  The next term of July 1, 2024 to June 30, 2027 would go to the Williamsburg Community School District.  However, Williamsburg does not have a representative to fill the opening, so a board member from Hollidaysburg will fill the position.

From July 1, 2027 to June 30, 2030, the rotation will be back to the Hollidaysburg Area School District to have a representative to the IU08.

Ms. Costanza initiated a motion, seconded by Dr. Li, to approved Michele Luther as the Hollidaysburg board representative to IU08 for the term of July 1, 2024 to June 30, 2027.  The motion carried on a roll call vote with eight yes votes and zero no votes. 

On motion of Dr. Wells, seconded by Dr. Li, the board approved the following:

Per Capita Tax Exonerations 2023-2024 Exhibit 11

Blair County Tax Assessment Appeal Settlements:
Tax Assessment Appeal filed to Blair County Docket No. 2022 GN 3855 Stuckey Factory, LLC. at the assessed value of $5,612,800.
Tax Assessment Appeal filed to Blair County Docket No. 2023 GN 3151 Curry Realty Two, LLC. at the assessed value of$275,000 Exhibit 12

Per Board Policy 706.1 Disposal of Surplus Property/Textbooks/Supplies, the disposal of various obsolete equipment and books. Exhibit 13

The motion carried on a roll call vote with eight yes votes and zero no votes.

Superintendent’s Report / Mr. Green

On motion of Ms. Luther, seconded by Mr. Brenneman, the board approved a new course:  AP World History 10, which replaces AP European History. The motion carried on a roll call vote with eight yes votes and zero no votes. Exhibit 14

Mr. Green provided information and explained the participation process regarding the NAEP Exams for 4th grade students at Frankstown.   Mr. Green reported that after investigation there were no controversial questions on the exam.  An opt-out option was discussed as well as assurances for having a district representative in the room.  

Mr. Green noted that an Administrative Regulation was added to accompany Policy No. 913 which addresses non-school related flyers and informative information.   An  Administrative Regulation  provides more direct guidance and procedures.

Mr. Green presented information on the Keystone State Challenge Academy. Located at Fort Indiantown Gap, the academy is a tuition free program designed to give challenged teens a second chance at obtaining their basic education, learn leadership, self-discipline, self-respect, and responsibility. The program is geared towards 16-18-year-old students who are disengaged in school and at risk of dropping out.  Dr. Wells noted that students stay on district roles with no negative impact to the school district.  Ms. Sullivan shared her concern for this to be a way of funneling kids into the military.

On motion of Mr. Brenneman, seconded by Dr. Li, the board approved the following:

Per Board Policies 230.1 Student Expenses for Conferences/Competitions and 121 Field Trips, the 2024 Spring Sport Master Field Trip Schedule. Exhibit 15

Driver's Ed End of Course Skill Test and Driver Test Route

Approval from the Department of Transportation to participate in the Driver Education End-of-Course Skill Test for the 2024-2025 school year. This approval will continue to allow our PA certified driver's education teacher William Calvert, to administer driver's testing to obtain a PA Driver's License.  Exhibit 16

The motion carried on a roll call vote with eight yes votes and zero no votes.

Ms. Costanza initiated a motion, seconded by Dr. Li, to deny HAEA Grievance Number 2324-2.  The motion carried on a roll call vote with eight yes votes and zero no votes.

Mr. Green advised that concerns among school districts regarding the total solar eclipse on April 8 will be discussed at an upcoming consortium meeting.  The board will be presented with more information after the meeting.

Per Board Policy 614 Payroll Authorizations, Dr. Wells initiated a motion, seconded by Dr. Li, to approve personnel actions 1-77 dated 3/13/2024 REV 3/13/2024 at 2:39PM.  Mr. Caldwell announced that Item 3 Interim Elementary Principal (TBD) is Tim Gildea.  The motion carried on a roll call vote with eight yes votes and zero no votes for all actions except Item #90 which carried on a roll call vote with seven yes votes and one abstention. Mr. Brenneman cast the abstention.  Exhibit 17 and 18

President’s Report

Dr. Li initiated a motion, seconded by Mr. Brenneman, to adopt the following Resolution:

RESOLVED this 13th day of March, 2024, this Board supports the Principles for Governance and Leadership adopted by the Board and signed by individual school directors.

Pennsylvania school boards are committed to providing every student the opportunity to grow and achieve. 

WHEREAS, our actions, as elected and appointed board members, ultimately have both short and long-term impact in the classroom.


Lead responsibly

  • Prepare for, attend and actively participate in board meetings
  • Work together with civility and cooperation, respecting that individuals hold differing opinions and ideas
  • Participate in professional development, training and board retreats
  • Collaborate with the superintendent, acknowledging their role as the 10th member of the board and commissioned officer of the commonwealth

Act ethically

  • Never use the position for improper benefit to self or others
  • Avoid actual or perceived conflicts of interest
  • Recognize school directors do not possess any authority outside of the collective board
  • Accept that when a board has made a decision, it is time to move forward collectively and constructively

Plan thoughtfully

  • Implement a collaborative strategic planning process
  • Set annual goals that are aligned with comprehensive plans, recognizing the need to adapt as situations change
  • Develop a comprehensive financial plan and master facilities plan that anticipates short- and long-term needs
  • Allocate resources to effectively impact student success

Evaluate continuously

  • Make data-informed decisions
  • Evaluate the superintendent annually
  • Conduct a board self-assessment on a recurring basis
  • Focus on student growth and achievement
  • Review effectiveness of all comprehensive and strategic plans

Communicate clearly

  • Promote open, honest and respectful dialogue among the board, staff and community
  • Acknowledge and listen to varied input from all stakeholders
  • Promote transparency while protecting necessary confidential matters
  • Set expectations and guidelines for individual board member communication

Advocate earnestly

  • Promote public education as a keystone of our commonwealth
  • Engage the community by seeking input, building support networks and generating action
  • Champion public education by engaging local, state and federal officials

Govern effectively

  • Establish and adhere to rules and procedures for board operations
  • Develop, adopt, revise and review policy routinely
  • Align board decisions to policy ensuring compliance with the PA School Code and other local, state and federal laws
  • Remain focused on the role of governance, effectively delegating management tasks to the administration

The motion carried on a roll call vote with eight yes votes and zero no votes.

New Business

Dr. Li asked to follow up on the book Gender Queer. She understood it was used in a training session for teachers and proposed that in the future the board have a discussion or make an administrative regulation regarding it.  Dr. Palazzi responded that the book in question is part of a continuing education course at the state level that teachers can sign up for but was never offered in the district as teacher professional development. 

The board acknowledged the resignation of Jaime Hartline, Foot of Ten Principal and wished him well.

There being no further business to be brought before the board, Ms. Bilek declared the meeting adjourned at 6:15p.m.

Autumn Fiscus
Board Secretary