DuBois Area School Board holds work session by Glenn Schuckers

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Brigette Matson, and Board president Larry Salone look at elementary enrollment numbers provided by Superintendent Wendy Benton, seated, prior to the September 17 work session. Photo by Glenn Schuckers

DuBois School Board members held a video conference with  representatives of Crabtree, Rohrbaugh Associates, architects working on the renovation and expansion project at the Oklahoma Elementary School. State law requires a public hearing on major school renovations and the project at Oklahoma will include a competition size gymnasium, enlarged classroom capacity and new offices. The proposed cost of the project is $13.8 million dollars with some of the costs being reimbursed by the state.

Since the meeting was a work session no votes were taken, but  the board looked at various items which will be on the agenda at the September 24 regular meeting. 

One of those items was the proposed retirement of current Transportation Director Randy Schmidt. The retirement was effective September 11, 2020. The board will vote on Schmidt’s replacement, current Assistant Athletic Director Andrew Edinger, at the next regular meeting. Edinger’s resignation of his current position will be effective September 25. 

After seeing numerous requests for use of district facilities, board member Sam Armagost asked if groups using facilities such as fields and rooms have to follow District guidelines regarding Covid 19 CDC recommendations. Superintendent Wendy Benton said that any group using a district facility must follow the district rules on health and safety. 

Benton also suggested that the board consider increasing the number of flex days to allow for the increased workload imposed by the changes caused by the virus. She suggested two additional flex days a month in October and November. A suggestion by board member Bob Wachob was to have full-day flex days instead of the current half days saying that it might be beneficial to both the teachers and helpful to parents to have a full day flex day instead of half days. Other board members stated their agreement with that suggestion and the matter will be added to the September 24 agenda. 

Also discussed was the possibility of allowing parents who want their elementary age children  to go back to a regular five day a week in-school schedule. Currently the student population is divided into two “teams” that have class in the buildings every other day. That plan was developed to allow for reduced class sizes in the rooms and has been in effect since the opening of school.

There are currently nearly 200 children in the elementary grades who do not attend in-school classes, and they would be allowed to continue on-line education if the new plan is adopted, but others who are currently attending every other day would be allowed to be in the buildings every day if the parents consent. With the school not having reported any cases of the virus, directors expressed their thoughts that it might be possible to try a new plan for the younger children. 

As  of now there are no changes planned for the middle or high school students who will remain attending every other day with on-line classes  on the days when they are at home. 


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