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Indiana Area School District has again contracted with Armstrong Lock and Security LLC to staff the district with armed security officers.

The agreement calls for staffing of officers in all six schools at $34 an hour on days when school is in session and for extracurricular activities deemed necessary by the school district administration.

The officers’ duties will include indoor and outdoor patrols; assisting building principals in investigations of student misconduct; cooperating with juvenile probation officers assigned to students; promoting a positive relationship between the security officers and students, parents, faculty and staff; maintaining a positive role model to students through daily interaction and engagement at school events; and developing a rapport with students to prevent or minimize dangerous situations that may occur on school grounds.

Under authority of the school district, the officers will carry firearms while on school property or in school buildings but the authorization, however, “is limited to the individuals who have completed firearms training pursuant to the Lethal Weapons Training Act (Act 235) and maintain current Act 235 Certification,” according to the contract. “Assigned officers will complete Basic SRO training as mandated by PA Senate Bill 621.”

The guards also must pass criminal and child-abuse clearances and undergo FBI fingerprint criminal history checks.

Armstrong Lock and Security is required to carry necessary insurance covering the agency employees working under terms of the agreement.

The agreement gives the school district the final right to remove any personnel under terms of the contract and requires the company to provide replacements.

In other business, the school board:

• Approved revisions to the Attendance, Behavioral Guidelines and Discipline Policy Handbook for district students in 2019-20.

• Ratified an agreement for the district’s participation in the Dyslexia and Early Literacy Intervention Pilot Program for 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years at a cost of $80,000 funded by a state grant.

Approved a number of extra-duty, extra-pay assignments:

• Julianne Laird, senior high music vocal groups, at $1,697

• Zachery Karcher, senior high music assistant band director, at $2,666; junior high music marching band director, at $2,069; junior high music concert band/special groups, at $1,325

• Craig Olear, senior high music band front assistant, at $3,219

• Tegan McCune, junior high dramatics technical assistant, at $1.325

• Martin Christian, junior high musical vocal director, at $1,583

• Jason Rummel, junior high musical orchestra director, at $1,583; junior high music orchestra and instrumental groups, at $1,325; junior high music vocal groups, at $1,325

• Dan Petroff, assistant baseball coach, at $3,002

• Dennis Schultz, assistant baseball coach, at $3,002

• Steve Cochran, head track coach, at $7,086

• Bill Waryck, assistant track coach, at $3,002

• Matthew Daymut, assistant track coach, at $3,002

• George Caroff, assistant track coach, at $3,002

• Lisa Kinter, assistant track coach, at $3,002

• Candice Lockard, assistant junior high track coach, at $3,002

• Jeff Duffee, assistant junior high track coach, at $3,002

• Scott Mossgrove, assistant junior high track coach, at $3,002

• Al Lockard, assistant junior high track coach, at $3,002

• Phil Palko, head boys’ tennis coach, at $6,007

• Mark Bungo, assistant boys’ tennis coach, at $2,276

• Harold Wilson, head softball coach, at $7,086

• Holly Myers, assistant softball coach, at $3,002

• Dana Kundla, assistant junior high volleyball coach, at $2,276

The after-school sports and activity positions were approved on a vote of 6 to 2, with directors John Barbor, Barbara Barker, Julia Trimarchi Cuccaro, Tamara Leeper, Ute Lowery and Doug Steve in favor. Board members Tom Harley and Terry Kerr voted no. Board President Walter Schroth was absent.

All other items of business were ratified on votes of 8 to 0. The board:

• Accepted with regret the resignation of administrative assistant Peggy Kane, effective Aug. 23, and directed the administration to post and advertise the vacant position

• Authorized the administration to hire a half-time speech and language teacher for 2019-20

• Heard a presentation on the Indiana Ready, a workforce preparation component for area students, by Indiana County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Mark Hilliard

• Appointed federal programs director Justin Zahorchak as the Foster Care Liaison and education director Robert Heinrich as Homeless Liaison for the district

• Hired Stephen Himes as a food service truck driver effective Aug. 5 at $13 an hour

• Employed Alphonse Borowski as a custodian effective Aug. 13 at $12 an hour

• Designated 12 district administrators to file citations in the District Court for truancy and tobacco violations by students

• Ratified lists of school bus drivers and substitute nurses, custodians and security officers for 2019-20.

Staff writer/Web Editor, The Indiana (Pa.) Gazette

Staff Writer/Web Editor

Chauncey Ross represents the Gazette at the Indiana Area and Homer-Center school boards and White Township, Center Township, Homer City and Burrell Township, and is something of an Open Records, Right to Know and Sunshine Law advocate in the newsroom.