TASD answers questions from Bald Eagle citizens

Pyramid Healthcare opened their facility in Bald Eagle on August 26 and the uproar hasn’t slowed down.
At last month’s meeting of the Tyrone School Board of Directors, Bald Eagle residents posed questions to the Board about the contract that was made with Pyramid Healthcare.
Yesterday, Dr. William Miller, Superintendent of Schools gave The Daily Herald a copy of the School District’s responses.
The availability of the minutes from Board meetings were called into question. In her comments to the board, a Snyder Township resident asked that the Board Minutes are made public within three to five days after the meeting.
According to the written response the School district replied, “The widespread practice under ‘Robert’s Rules of Order’ is that the minutes are reviewed at the opening of the next meeting and after corrections, are publicly pproved by the Board. Minutes are not made available to the public until after the Board amends and approves them.”
One resident said the minutes are incomplete. “Based on the copy of the minutes of the last Board meeting made available last week, it was found to be incomplete. A group of concerned citizens from Snyder Township were present at that meeting and voiced their opinions regarding Pyramid Greentree Village and not a single word of these conversations appeared in the minutes.”
The District responded, “The Sunshine Act simply requires the substance of the Board’s business be recorded. At a minimum, this would require recording all motions, both substantive and procedural, including who made and seconded each motion and the eventual resolution, as well as the names of citizens who spoke officially and the subject of their testimony.”
Helen Mengel asked for a copy of the Due Diligence Process.
The District replied with this research that was done.
• Visitation to the Clearfield facility in February and March.
• Administrative meeting with Pyramid personnel to discuss details of educational program, therapeutic component of services and cost of services.
• Compared services and cost to other facilities.
• Generated list of positive aspects of the program. (Including: Process for transitioning students back to the District, Strong therapeutic services, Highly qualified staff, Opportunity for students to participate in field trips and outdoor educational activities, Work collaboratively with District personnel, Provide continuous feedback on student progress, cost effective, flexibility and priority of student placement.
• Informal meetings with School Board in May, 2002.
• In June 2002, information sent via ‘Board bulletin’ to School Board regarding Pyramid services, etc.
• Confirmation of placement location and opening of facility in August, 2002.
Ed Schenck, requested information on several additional topics.
Schenck in a written letter to the Board asked for a copy of the request for quatation or bid (or equivalent) which includes the date, the services requested, timing/schedule for starting, when quatations are due, etc.
The District’s reply was: “Section 807.1 of the Pennsylvania Public School Code requires that all furniture, equipment, textbooks, school supplies and other appliances for the use of the public school, costingten thousand dollars ($10,000) or more shall be purchased by the Board of Directors only after due advertisement. Written or telephonic price quotations from at least three qualified and responsible vendors shall be requested by the Board of School Directors for all purchases of supplies exceeding four thousand ($4,000) but are less than the amount requiring advertisement and competitive bidding. Services are not required to be bid or quoted.”
Schenck asked how $50,000 in annual cost savings that Dr. Miller indicated to us on August 13, 2002 calculated?
The District replied, “During the 2001-02 school year, the District had six students placed in programs at neighboring Districts (Hollidaysburg and Centre County). The tuition cost for these students averaged $87.23 per day and transportation totaled $20,352.19. The daily tuition cost for these students to attend Pyramid at the Greentree facility for 2002-03 for the $24.90 for regular education and $76.00 for Special education students. There is no cost for transportation.”
Scnenck asked if the contract compliance was met on August 26, 2002 and for a copy of the monthly billing statement.
The District responded that the contract was reviewed and approved by the District solicitor on August 12, 2002 and there has not been a bill from Pyramid Healthcare to date.
The School Board will hold its work session September 30, 2002 and their Board meeting on October 8, 2002.