Supporters of women’s basketball coach appeal to Blue Mountain School Board


At its April meeting, the Blue Mountain School Board heard from supporters of head women’s basketball coach Ruth Weidman. The athletes and their parents spoke on behalf of Weidman, a longtime physical education teacher and coach, whose position is in jeopardy. The school board voted to open the position to applicants for the 2022-23 school year.

West Update

Cost increases for the Blue Mountain Elementary West building continue to plague the district. Change orders totaling $101,884 were proposed. Officials said he added that the expenses were the result of thefts from the site and the drilling of additional wells. The Board votes to approve change orders after further review. Superintendent David H. Helsel said that despite the added expense, the district is still within the building budget.

The board voted to require that change orders over $10,000 be given in advance, allowing the board to discuss the changes.

Helsel noted that furniture purchases for the new building have been completed.

Facilities Committee

Board member David Lafko discussed facility usage fees and the possibility of charging outside groups by the hour. Lafko said fees would be fairer if charged by the hour, since many groups use the facilities in time slots. The district will open the facilities for rental starting July 1.

Glen Witmer-Belding, director of elementary and secondary education, offered to bring back the BMHS capstone project after those requirements were shelved due to COVID-19 restrictions. The project includes required hours of service, job shadowing and career planning. The project would be spread over the next three promotions.

Witmer-Belding also reported on PSSA 2021 results for grades 3-8. Although scores are lower in many areas than in previous years, they are nearly all above the state average scores and compare favorably to other districts in Schuylkill County.


The board approved the hiring of William Ridge and Matthew Laubenstine as interim co-chief technology officers at a rate of $321.29 per day, split equally between the two.

The board has accepted letters of resignation from Matthew Bertschy as chief technology officer effective March 21. Francis King resigned from his courier/custodian position effective March 30, and Michael Capillo resigned from his position as middle school technology education teacher at the end of the school year.

Jill O’Toole has been hired as a social worker at an annual salary of $59,021 plus benefits, beginning in the 2022-2023 school year.

William Hoynoski resigned as assistant men’s basketball coach and Kevin Berkheiser resigned as assistant baseball coach.

The board approved the following job applications: Stephen Zimmerman as High School Quiz Bowl Advisor, Nicholas Marrongelle as High School English Honor Society Advisor, Jacob Balkewicz as Assistant Baseball Coach, and Alex Gosch as head wrestling coach.

Schedule revision

The board added an Act 80 Day on May 16 of this year in the Elementary Building for professional development and curriculum review purposes. The school year must always end on June 3.

Amendments to Titles I, II and IV

Revisions were approved for the Titles I, II and IV allocations. A decrease of $40,073 was realized for Title I allocation, a decrease of $5,056 for Title II funding and an increase of $14 for Title IV funding.

other business

Council has approved the filing of a writ of execution against Glenn Frantz for unpaid property taxes in the amount of $36,342.

The board approved a contract with ESS Northeast, a technology company, to provide replacement services for the district, including the extended 2022 school year.

The board approved a contract with ESS Northeast, a technology company, to provide replacement services for the district, including the extended 2022 school year.

The next full committee is scheduled for Thursday, May 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the college. The next voting meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 26 at 6:30 p.m. at the college.


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