PURCHASE LINE: School directors hear pros of ICTC membership
April 08, 2014 10:55 AM
by JEREMY HARTLEY

PURCHASE LINE — Members of the Indiana County Technology Center outlined the benefits and steps required for Purchase Line to become a joint-operating member to the ICTC school board during a work session meeting Monday at the high school.

Purchase Line is the last of the seven districts covered by the ICTC who have not become members. The other districts include Blairsville-Saltsburg, Homer-Center, Indiana Area, Marion Center Area, Penns Manor and United Area.

“When students enroll, they have opportunities to really look at a particular occupational area,” said Carol Fry, director, “and within those areas, opportunities for industry certifications that really provide them with a credential that really will make them employable should they choose to go right into the world of work.”

As a nonmember, Purchase Line pays a per-student tuition rate of approximately $12,000 per year. Members pay around $9,000. According to calculations by ICTC business manager Randy Thornton, the cost for a buy-in for Purchase Line would be “a little over $1 million.” That buy-in would be paid in installments over the course of 20 years, making it an annual payment of “a little over $51,000.”

At the current time, Purchase Line has approximately 20 students attending classes at the ICTC. If the enrollment number remains the same, the cost to the district would be approximately $223,000, according to Thornton. After membership, that cost drops to closer to $170,000. Purchase Line enrollment numbers have been growing, however, from only 5 students in 2011-12, to 14 in 2012-13 to 20 today.

Before the issue is put to a vote by the board, Superintendent Joseph Bradley said he would like to see if he can negotiate a 25-year payment plan.

Next week, the board will vote on the renewal of athletic contracts for the 2014-15 season, including Britney Brownlee, head cheerleading coach, at a salary of $2,000; Steve Woodrow, head boys’ basketball coach, at a salary of $4,300; and Rebecca Hudak, girls’ basketball coach at a salary of $4,386. However, during the public comment section, some district parents have urged the board to reconsider the renewal of Hudak’s contract, requesting that it be reopened to another individual.

“When the girls are playing on the court, and the coach says, ‘I can’t believe you’re losing to Saltsburg,’ loud enough that the whole court and gymnasium heard you, I could have crawled in a corner and thrown my red Purchase Line shirt in the garbage,” said Mark Riva.

Riva, along with fellow parent Ray Fleming, said they and other coaches feel that the talent on the girls’ team is being wasted and no institution of higher education will be willing to look at players from Purchase Line.

“I’ve been around Purchase Line my whole life,” Fleming said. “Have you guys ever had sports this bad?”

Fleming was referring to the current season’s standing at 5-15. He said he worries about girls even wanting to play basketball next year.

Board President Mary Ann Pittman declined to comment on the matter.

The board will consider creating a junior varsity track team for the 2014-15 spring season. Since junior varsity girls’ volleyball has been moved to the fall season, there are currently no junior varsity sports offerings for spring. The board felt it was important to offer some sort of sports for the sixth- and seventh-grade students during that time.

According to Bradley, an informal survey of the students showed a high potential for participation, with more than 40 students saying they would like to join a spring track team. By comparison, United Area School District’s junior varsity track team boasts 45 members.

The board heard bids for both the proposed resurfacing of the track and renovations to the cafeteria.

Two bids were submitted for the track. The first bid, from ATT Sports Inc., proposed a spray resurfacing at a cost of $76,675, or a complete patch and repair option for $123,613 for 4,134 square yards. The second bid, from Nagle Athletic Resurfacing, is for a complete patch and repair option at $115,000 for 4,582 square yards.

The board received one bid for the cafeteria renovation work, which was split into several elements so the board has the option to decide how far renovations will go. Flooring for the entire cafeteria eating area would cost $18,130 for 3,240 square feet, framing and hanging of drywall would cost $6,987, painting the walls as an alternative to drywall would cost $5,214, supplying and replacing two exterior doors would cost $11,984 and the option for any other flooring replacement throughout the school would cost $38,237 for 22,500 square feet.

Bradley wanted to acknowledge and thank the student body for the “ongoing efforts toward our PSSA.” He commended the students for their attendance rates during the rounds of standardized tests.

“We see the students and families really heeded our call to try to schedule things around our PSSA Keystone testing,” he said.

The Pennsylvania System of School Assessment standardized test is administered to all public schools in the commonwealth.

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