Last updated: April 14. 2014 11:49PM - 1652 Views
By Janine Ungvarsky Times Leader Correspondent

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BEAR CREEK TWP. — As the process of finalizing bids and loan paperwork continues, the trustees of the Bear Creek Community Charter School continue refining details of the construction project.

At a meeting Monday, the trustees discussed options for fueling the new school’s emergency generator. Original plans called for a propane-fueled generator, but the board considered switching to a generator run on diesel, possibly even one that is gently used but factory warrantied.

The move could save as much as $40,000 over the budgeted cost for a generator, the board said. The school has only needed to use the generator at the existing school a handful of times in 10 years, administrators said.

The board also discussed offering a 403b retirement savings plan to new hires instead of the Public School Educators Retirement System plan known as PSERS. School CEO Jim Smith told the board that PSERS allows charter schools to offer a 403b plan as long as it mimics the PSERS plan and provides for at least a five percent contribution from employees and a minimum five percent match from the employer, along with other requirements.

Smith said all existing employees would remain part of PSERS and the change would affect only new employees. As a result, there would be no immediate savings from the switch, but there would be savings down the road, Smith said.

The board voted to move forward with retaining a company to assist with the implementation and administration of the new plan.

In a related matter, the board agreed to terminate the existing staff incentive plan, and administrators were tasked with developing a new plan to take effect with the 2014-15 school year.

In other business, the board:

-Discussed the challenges of meeting new federal school food mandates that take effect next year, especially in light of the limited storage for fresh food in the current school building.

-Discussed an issue related to an interest reduction with the school’s current depositor and possible options if the bank does not respond favorably to the school’s inquiries about the sudden and significant reduction

-Ratified the inclusion of Connie Mitchell on the school’s substitute list at a daily rate of $100.

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