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UNITED: School directors look to replace nurse

by on November 13, 2013 10:49 AM

ARMAGH — The recent retirement of one of United School District’s nurses has left the school board members looking at some options for filling the vacant position, one of them being to create a nurse’s aide position.

The district had a nurse employed at the high school and the elementary school. State law requires there be one nurse per 1,500 students. United has 1,114 total students, so the district would be within its rights to have just one nurse for both buildings, board President Don Davis said.

“We didn’t like that option,” he said. “Even though our two buildings are relatively close together, the time it might take to cross Route 56 and get from one building to other, in our opinion, was unacceptable.”

Davis said the one option the board thought most about was to create the nurse’s aide position, which members voted on Tuesday, with the intention that the position is to be included in the bargaining unit certified by the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board, PERA-R-96-613-W, referred to as the United Educational Support Personnel Association, PSEA NEA.

The administration and appropriate board members also will have to file a petition for unit clarification with the labor relations board to include the position in the bargaining unit and negotiate with the union to establish the terms of employment for the position.

Davis said the board hasn’t made a decision as to which school would get the nurse and which would be supplied with the nurse’s aide, saying it would be based on student numbers and need as well as history of what kind of needs there have been at each building.

There are more requirements to be a certified school nurse than there are to be a nurse’s aide, Davis said. A nurse’s aide must be a registered LPN.

“We would still have, we would think, adequate coverage at both buildings,” Davis said.

High school Principal Michael Worthington presented to the board the high school’s video entry in the Trib Total Media Lip Dub 2013 Contest before the start of the meeting. The video was submitted for a chance to win a $5,000 cash prize; the contest includes public and private high schools from Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Indiana, Washington and Westmoreland counties.

The video, which students chose to set to Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” out of 15 approved songs, features 335 United high school students representing all clubs and activities, as well as faculty and staff. The video had to be done all in one sequence and could not be edited. Superintendent Barbara Parkins said they did about five or six takes.

The video can be viewed by going to www.triblive.com, clicking on the Contests tab and selecting “2013 Lip Dub” then “View Entries” and searching for United. Voting begins Friday and lasts for three weeks. Viewers can vote up to 10 times a day.

The board on Tuesday recognized Jake Beacker, a member of the soccer team, for setting a record with 59 career goals and cross country runner Ryleigh Ludwig, who qualified for states and placed 82nd out of 216 girls with a time of 21:52.

High school French teacher James Dykun informed the board of a successful French exchange student program this year. Three students hosted French students from the western part of France for two weeks. Dykun said the experience taught the students about living in a multi-cultural world and being a part of a global society.

Board member John Poorbaugh announced that this was his last board meeting due to his term expiring. He chose to step down and pursue other endeavors.

He will be replaced by Tommey Heming. Poorbaugh said that over the past four years he “has been privileged to work alongside this dedicated group of citizens.”

“I am pleased to say that this board has always had the interests of the students and the taxpayers when making the tough decisions,” he said. “I know for sure that the United School District is in better educational and financial shape than it was four years ago when I came onto the board.”

Poorbaugh encouraged board members to “take a conservative approach to the looming budget difficulties that are coming” and said that their great work “must continue, and I feel it will.”

He also thanked his constituents in West Wheatfield Township “for entrusting me with this seat,” as well as the district taxpayers for their support.

The board thanked Poorbaugh for his service, as well as the eight years of service put in by board member Norma Carpenter, who was absent from Tuesday’s meeting. Carpenter was defeated in the May primary election and will be replaced by United alumnus Eric Matava.



Heather Blake is the wire editor and an assistant web editor for The Indiana Gazette. She covers courts, Saltsburg and Homer City borough councils and Penns Manor and United school districts, in addition to writing feature articles. She can be reached at hblake@indianagazette.net.
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