Indiana, PA - Indiana County

INDIANA AREA: Replacing 'archaic' alarm systems OK'd

by on July 15, 2014 11:00 AM

The fire alarm systems in the Indiana Area School District elementary buildings have seen better days.

“Archaic,” is how district Superintendent Dale Kirsch described the alarms at Horace Mann School.

“It should be in the Smithsonian,” school board President Thomas Harley said of the alarm system in Ben Franklin Elementary.

That’s about to change. The school board on Monday hired Westmoreland Electric to replace the alarm systems at a base cost of $181,000 plus $500 for additional pull stations, strobe lights or horns.

District officials had expected to spend about $70,000 to upgrade the alarm systems but architects told the administration that an overhaul would not be feasible, said Business Manager Jared Cronauer.

The district has about $600,000 remaining from the recent energy-efficiency improvement project and would use that cash, in a dedicated capital project fund, to pay for the work.

The district architect continues to study the alarm system in Eisenhower Elementary School, Cronauer said. Board members briefly considered waiting for a recommendation and possibly rewriting the project to include all three buildings, but decided to act on the proposal as presented.

The contract was approved on a vote of 6-0, with Harley, John Barbor, Deborah Clawson, Diana Paccapaniccia, Brian Petersen and John Uccellini in favor. Directors Hilliary Creely, Julia Trimarchi-Cuccaro and Robert Gongaware were absent.

The original alarms in the remaining buildings were upgraded in renovation projects.

In other business, the board:

• Hired Patrick Snyder as the district athletic director for three years through June 30, 2017, at an annual salary of $15,880.

Snyder retired at the end of the school year after working 35 years in the district as a health and physical education teacher at the senior high school. He served many years as the A.D. and earned $15,880 for the extra-duty, extra-pay position each of the last two years.

Under terms of an agreement approved Monday by the school board, the district won’t provide fringe benefits but will reimburse Snyder for expenses. The agreement calls for him to serve an average of 25 to 29 hours a week.

• Approved the proposed curriculum for a Contemporary Pottery course to be offered as an art elective for 11th- and 12th-grade students at the senior high school.

Board members said the course would offer broad understanding of the art. Students would apply chemistry, math and geometry skills, Paccapaniccia said.

Barbor said students should be ready to work in the class.

“My son, who is a professional ceramic artist, was extraordinarily impressed with the curriculum presentation,” Barbor said. “He thought it was absolutely first class.

“It won’t just be a day at the beach playing in the sand,” Barbor said.

• Hired Dawn Shaffer as a pre-kindergarten teacher at a salary of $48,000 and Ashleigh Henning as a pre-kindergarten teacher at a salary of $66,105, based on their certification and experience, effective Aug. 20.

• Hired Anita Small and Jill Paouncic as licensed practical nurses at pay rates of $15 an hour.

• Hired Kathy Yosurack as a housekeeper, effective today, at a pay rate of $11 an hour.

• Appointed Crystal Miller as assistant girls’ soccer coach at a salary of $2,675 and Matt Gaudet as assistant cross country coach at a salary of $1,492.

• Authorized administrators to create and fill two part-time para-educator positions. The employees would work up to five hours a day, mainly with the pre-kindergarten program.

• Accepted a donation of a shade structure that will be built as an Eagle Scout project by student Payton Smith, on the grounds of East Pike Elementary School.

“Community support would be appreciated,” Harley said. “In addition to building this, his project includes raising the funds for it.’

• Authorized the administration to set up a college savings payroll deduction program through the Henderson Brothers investment firm.

Kirsch reported that the district expects to finish moving classroom supplies between elementary buildings by the end of this week, in advance of the reassignment of students in the four elementary buildings.

The asbestos removal project at Eisenhower School has been completed, and the staff will be allowed back

Horace Mann and Eisenhower schools will house fourth- and fifth-grade students beginning next month, and Ben Franklin and East Pike will have the pre-kindergarten through third-grade classes.

District resident Douglas Steve, a former school board member, questioned whether Ben Franklin and East Pike have enough classroom space to house all the students expected in the early elementary grades, and asked if the district would achieve savings of $600,000 to $900,000 through the realignment plan.

Kirsch told the board that the cost saving estimate remains unchanged, and said following the board meeting that Ben Franklin and Eisenhower each have one extra classroom available to allow for additional enrollment.

The district has posted details about the impending realignment on the district website at www.iasd.cc under the “Realignment Info” tab on the main site menu.



Chauncey Ross is the Gazette’s fixture at Indiana Area and Homer-Center school board meetings, has been seen with pen and notepad in area police stations and courts, and is something of an Open Records Act and Sunshine Law advocate. He also manages the Gazette’s websites and answers your questions about them.
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