Armstrong to decide Monday on Elderton charter school
March 08, 2013 10:40 AM
by HEATHER ROTH

FORD CITY — The future of a charter school in Elderton could be decided Monday, when the Armstrong School District Board of School Directors will either approve or deny the application.

The deadline to make a decision is Tuesday.

The board did not discuss the application at the Thursday open caucus meeting, but solicitor Lee Price asked the directors to review a document he said outlines the reasons to deny the charter school.

The document was not made public. But Price told the directors that it was prepared by himself and the administration in case the board voted against the school. If the board approves the application, no further explanation is necessary, he said. But if they deny it, they are required to list their reasons.

Price asked the directors to send their comments to the administration; those comments will then be made public and discussed at Monday’s voting meeting.

Also Monday, the board will vote on policy changes reflecting efforts to increase school security. The policy changes include new criminal clearance requirements for staff and add a photo ID requirement for all school visitors.

Jon Fair, director of student transportation, child accounting and safe schools, told the board a security committee meets twice a year to review procedures. Other changes the committee is pursing include creating a digital copy of the emergency preparedness plans and building information, available to emergency management and law enforcement on a secure server in the case of a emergency; mandatory active shooter training for all staff; and the placement of cards listing how to respond to a shooter in each occupied room.

Superintendent Dr. Stan Chapp said the administration continues to look into options, including security officers in the buildings, and is waiting to see what moneys there may be available from the state. He said it would cost at least $300,000 to put a guard in each school.

‘We want to do something, we want to do the right thing,” said Joe Close, school board president. “We need to get our arms around what we need to do, what we need to put in our buildings.”

The board also is expected to vote Monday on the proposed colors for the district’s new high school: royal blue and orange. Kirk Lorigan, Kittanning Junior High School principal, told the board the committee settled on those colors through a survey of the student body, then a round of voting on the final two color combinations. Efforts to settle on a mascot and a name are ongoing.

Lorigan also told the board that the Armstrong School District Foundation is preparing to start a capital campaign to raise money for the athletic facilities at the new high school. The facilities are not part of the current project.

“We feel strongly that if we can do anything and help out and help with the cost of those facilities, it needs to be done,” he said.

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