Kevin Edmondson

After two-and-a-half years as an administrator in the Indiana Area School District, a year-and-a-half at Indiana Area Junior High School and a year as principal at Horace Mann Elementary School, Kevin Edmondson resigned to take a new position as assistant high school principal in the Forest Hills School District outside Johnstown. He was applauded by IASD board members and officials Monday night because, as he put it after the school board meeting, "I tried very hard to make an impact in this community as much as I could." The board authorized the Indiana Area administration to advertise for his replacement.

Indiana Area School District’s board of directors approved two motions regarding the Eisenhower school renovation project Monday night, while tabling a third.

Based on recommendations of the board’s Buildings, Grounds & Transportation Committee, small rooms will be built on the roof of the Eisenhower building to house mechanical equipment, and geothermal will be eliminated as an option for the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system at Eisenhower.

Both received 7-1 votes with School Director Cinda Brode the lone no vote and Board Vice President Julia Trimarchi Cuccaro absent.

Board President Walter Schroth was disappointed with the lack of federal or state funding available for geothermal, noting state funding available for both for-profit and non-profit entities, but not educational ones.

Noting how federal and state officials are pressing for ways to deal with climate change, Schroth said, “if they want locals to make it a priority, provide the funding.”

By a 5-3 vote the board tabled the district using the concept of a storefront window design for Eisenhower as a way to bring more natural light into the building.

Buildings, Grounds & Transportation Committee Chair Terry Kerr said the architect had been asked to provide mark-ups for the project, but only was able to provide sketches so far. School Director Tom Harley suggested accepting the proposal “pending approval of a final design” for Eisenhower.

“I’d rather hold off, Tom,” Kerr responded.

Kerr, Brode and school directors Tamie Blank, Jim Shaffer and Dr. Sue Rieg voted to table the motion, while Harley, Schroth and School Director Ron Airhart voted no.

The board meeting came after the first day of a new arrangement between Indiana Area School District and the Indiana Borough Police Department that expands IBPD’s coverage to the schools located in White Township (Ben Franklin Elementary, East Pike Elementary and the senior high school).

Superintendent Michael J. Vuckovich sent out a letter to parents regarding the agreement, which is described as a systematic and collaborative approach to district-wide security, based on four central pillars: Presence and Relationships in our Schools; Awareness and Capacity; Professional Learning and Collaboration; and Threat Assessment and Response.

It expands IBPD’s proactive efforts including regular walk-throughs during the school day and exterior security checks, as well as coordinated patrols and support at after-school events, to all district schools.

Also, as Vuckovich noted at Monday’s meeting, there is the goal of intentional relationship-building activities with students which includes access to Axel, the IBPD therapy dog.

The effort is funded by a Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency grant.

Personnel matters took up much of the agenda in what was deemed a “special meeting.” Included were resignations of:

• Kevin Edmondson as principal at Horace Mann Elementary School. He has been hired as assistant high school principal in the Forest Hills School District in Cambria County.

• Scott Mosgrove as senior high social studies teacher, Lori Shields as junior high science teacher and Lawrence Nath as senior high English teacher.

• Paraeducators Murjanatu Faruk and Bethany Elliott, each due to other employment, and Eileen Shock, due to retirement.

• Food service truck driver Bernie Parker.

The board also approved a custodian substitute list as submitted, and the employing of paraeducators Anna Blose, Tommy Dubose, Ashley Bacher, Marquis Johnson and Shila Jones, at $12.75 per hour subject to a 60-day probation period.

The board also approved:

• A resolution to participate in the ARIN Intermediate Unit 28 Cooperative Purchasing program, which Business Manager Jared Cronauer said is mainly for copy paper purchases.

• A five-year student placement agreement between the district and Arizona State University.

• Final reads on policies dealing with Principles for Governance and Leadership; Interscholastic Athletics; Enrollment in District; Eligibility of Nonresident Students; Attendance; Graduation; Dress and Grooming; Suspension and Expulsion; Students Experiencing Homelessness, Foster Care and Other Educational Instability; and Transportation.

• A field trip request from the senior high varsity baseball team for approximately 22 players and four coaches to practice at the Baseball City Spring Training facility in Tampa Bay, Fla., from March 15 to 19, at no cost to the district.

The next meeting is the regularly scheduled session, set for Feb. 13 at 7 p.m.