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UNITED: School board to hire teachers, aides for new Pre-K program

by on July 24, 2013 10:50 AM

ARMAGH — The United School District school board approved the creation of two elementary teacher positions as well as two qualified aide positions during a regular meeting on Tuesday at the school building.

The positions are being created through a grant received by the district from the Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts program. The program, aimed at helping financially disadvantaged pre-kindergarten children, is set to start at the beginning of the 2013-14 school year.

“The students who would be accepted into the classroom would have to fulfill the obligation of being at least 300 percent below the poverty line,” said district Superintendent Barbara Parkins. “It sounds like you would have to be really poor, but it’s more than you would think to be below that poverty line.”

Parkins was unable to give an exact amount of money received by the grant, but she assured it “will pay for the beginning salaries for two teachers and two aides.” The grant will fund two classrooms of 15 students for the next three years.

“The K-4 program we had before, anyone was eligible for that,” said board President Donald Davis. “While for this one, there are some eligibility requirements. The overall effect is we’re going to be able to do some early intervention with younger students.”

Students who wish to enroll in the program will have to be 4 years old by Sept. 1.

Pre-K Counts grants have also been given to Indiana Area and Blairsville-Saltsburg school districts for the hiring of teachers and the creation of classes within their respective districts.

The board approved the hiring of Gerard T. Kalinyak as director of finance/board secretary at a salary of $89,000 starting Aug. 19. Kalinyak is the former director of finance for the Hollidaysburg School District and has worked with the Johnstown School District, according to Davis.

With this announcement, the board also bid farewell to director of finance Tammy Tuccarello, who resigned, wishing her luck in her future endeavors. The board also approved the following supplemental athletic positions for the 2013-14 year: Zachary Waddell, assistant varsity football coach, at a salary of $3,201; Josh Hammack, assistant football coach, at $3,201; and Mikel Balsley, assistant junior high boys’ basketball coach, at $2,400.

Carol Knupp, president of the United Youth Football and secretary for varsity basketball and baseball, expressed concern regarding the security clearance for volunteers at school games.

While coaches and other athletic employees must pass a clearance before being hired by the school, it was unclear if volunteers must pass the same standards. With up to 15 volunteers per game, according to Knupp, the cost of clearance could get quite expensive.

The school policy states it is not a requirement for volunteers to be cleared as school employees are, according to solicitor Ronald Saffron.

In other business, the board approved:

• The resignation of Zackery Karcher as assistant band director.

• Change orders from John Hall Inc. in the credit amount of $68,937 for HVAC services and from G.M. McCrossin, Inc. in the credited amount of $17,899 for electrical service as part of the elementary renovation project. These amounts will be credited back to the district.

• Donald Davis and Trudy DeRubis as voting delegates at the Pennsylvania School Board Association Legislative Policy Council meeting.

• The dual enrollment agreement between the district and Mount Aloysius College for the 2013-14 school year. This will allow for expanded courses for students.

• The student accident insurance renewal proposal with Bollinger Inc. for an annual athletic premium of $17,747.

• The Act 48 program placement agreement for day treatment services with Adelphoi Education at a cost of $49.46 per day for general alternative education and $53.39 per day for special education services.

The board also authorized the district to participate in the School-Based ACCESS program. The program, which is a partnership between the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare, allows schools to receive federal Medicaid reimbursement for providing health-related services to medical-assisted children as part of their education program.



Jeremy Hartley is a staff writer for The Indiana Gazette.
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