MARION CENTER — The Marion Center Area school directors Monday added a teacher to the faculty and heard plans to improve a pre-kindergarten playground in preparation for the start of the new school year next week.
The board hired Lacie Cook as a special education teacher at a salary of $46,846, and hired Marca Weiland as an LPN/para-educator at a salary of $11.44 per hour and Nancy Janosko as a para-educator at a salary of $9.44 per hour.
In other personnel actions the directors accepted the resignation of Judy Schurr, an instructional assistant, after 19 years with the district, and approved Nathan Pappal as a volunteer football coach.
Donna Bruder-Smith, elementary principal, and Ken Kirkland, the district’s maintenance and transportation supervisor, briefed the directors on plans to improve the former tennis courts area as a playground for McCreery Elementary students. It will include a Pre-K Counts playground for the youngest students.
Kirkland said efforts have been made to grow more grass on part of the planned playground and a section will be black-topped so the students will have a place to play and get some exercise in wet weather.
Bruder-Smith said playground equipment is scheduled for installation next week. The equipment was purchased with contributions from the PTA and with a $2,700 donation from Akers National Roll Steel and the company’s union employees. Elementary students Amanda Beatty, 11, and Sara Beatty, 6, and their mother, Christine Beatty, 33, were murdered by the girls’ father, Lewis Beatty, on June 1, 2012. Lewis Beatty was employed by Akers National Roll Steel in Avonmore.
Carrie Bence, a deputy director for the Armstrong-Indiana-Clarion Drug and Alcohol Commission, encouraged the directors to again have the district administer the Pennsylvania Youth Survey, also known as PAYS.
PAYS is a voluntary and anonymous survey on how youth view their communities. It is conducted every two years among students in grades 6, 8, 10 and 12.
The survey questions students on drug and alcohol use, bullying and other anti-social behavior and assesses risk factors in their communities. The data collected is used by the commission and the school districts in grant applications.
Bence said the survey is offered without cost to the school districts and students can complete the survey in less than 40 minutes.
In other action, the school board accepted the bid of $4,985 from Marsh Contracting of Dixonville to remove the unused small greenhouse and modular classroom behind the McCreery Elementary-high school complex.
The directors and administrators congratulated Lojjik Braughler, a 2013 graduate, who won first place in Technology Concepts at the Future Business Leaders of America National Leadership Conference earlier this summer in Anaheim, Calif. Braughler won a trophy and a $500 cash award. He will attend Indiana University of Pennsylvania as a computer science major.
District superintendent Dr. Frank Garritano told the directors the summer has been a busy time for maintenance projects in the district’s buildings.
He also said bus schedules and secondary school schedules have been sent. Students will return for the first day of classes on Aug. 28 and they will have an early dismissal on Aug. 30 so they can attend and participate in the Indiana County Fair.