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The former district superintendent and business manager at Indiana Area School District has taken temporary reign of the business office at Indiana County Technology Center while the current business official is away on leave.

Dale Kirsch, who retired from Indiana in August 2018 following 35 years as a school administrator in the region, has been assigned to assist at ICTC in the absence of Rachel Hrabovsky under a contract with the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officers (PASBO).

The “interim services agreement” has Kirsch on the job as needed for an average of 24 hours a week; ICTC pays a fee of $62.50 an hour to PASBO.

Tech Center Administrator Michael McDermott told the joint operating committee of school directors representing the seven participating school districts on Tuesday that ICTC is enjoying a seamless transition in business operations.

Construction work at the ICTC campus along Hamill Road is simultaneously winding down and ramping up as two new education centers on the grounds reach new stages of development.

The new headquarters of Indiana County Conservation District, including the center’s administrative offices, environmental specialty services and an education center for Indiana County farmland and waterway protection programs, will be ready for occupancy by the end of November, McDermott said Tuesday. Work on site, he predicted, would taper off for the winter and pick up again in early 2021 for final landscaping.

Meanwhile, heavy equipment and stocks of building supplies have been moved on site for construction of the planned new Indiana County branch campus of Westmoreland County Community College and the hoped-for site of the Challenger Learning Center for space and science education.

In other business Tuesday, the ICTC committee:

• Was advised that a 150-day written notice of renewal of the employment agreement with McDermott will be due soon.

• Was reminded that the labor contract between the school and the ICTC Education Association, the teachers’ union, expires Aug. 31, 2020.

• Appointed executive secretary Melissa Carnahan as the secretary test proctor for the adult education program at $20 an hour.

• Hired Eric Rising as a part-time adult-education SVI instructor at $25 an hour and no benefits, on an as needed basis.

• Accepted with regret the resignation of practical nursing program secretary Linda Wheeler effective

on Friday.

• Hired Jenna Letham and Dave Reed as part-time cleaners at $13.05 with no benefits, paid by the CARES Act grant, effective Oct. 6.

• Hired Paula Carnahan as a part-time cleaner as needed at $12.65 an hour effective Nov. 2, a position funded by the CARES Act grant.

• Directed McDermott to advertise for and hire a practical nursing program secretary under terms of the support staff labor agreement.

• Accepted a donation of two 3-D printers valued at $600 to the ICTC Machining Technology Program from Landon and Lauren Bailey.

The Baileys and their son Hunter were active in the regional “COVID Avengers” initiative to produce face shield frames as personal protective equipment (PPE) for first responders in Indiana County and elsewhere at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, McDermott told the board.

• Ratified a memorandum of understanding between the school and the teachers’ association outlining certain working conditions and requirements that may be made necessary due to constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic. The document lays out the possibilities, mainly concerning online education, as though they are part of the collective bargaining agreement through June 30 or whenever government intervention ends, when the provisions would expire.

McDermott also reported Tuesday on behalf of ICTC Adult Education Division Director Kayla Fuller that the evening nursing education satellite program has begun operation in Connellsville, Fayette County.

In earlier business sessions, the ICTC board:

• Hired Christina Shupe as a cosmetology instructor substitute for the adult education division at $15 an hour with no benefits.

• Hired Bryant Small as a part-time SVI instructor in the adult education program at $25 an hour with no benefits.

• Granted a pay increase of $5 an hour to part-time adult-education program welding instructor Lou Toth, setting his pay at $25 an hour.

• Accepted a bid by Laerdal Medical Corporation, of Wappingers Falls, N.Y., to provide a “SimMom” brand mannequin simulating a pregnant patient for obstetrics instruction in the nursing program at a cost of $71.034 to be paid with grant money available.

• Approved an annual contract with Citizens’ Ambulance Service to provide emergency medical treatment and transportation as needed at a cost to the school of $600 for 2020-2021.

• Accepted a grant of $368,502 under the CARES Act to help defray the cost of programs and services offered in preparation for, response to or recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

• Renewed the center’s student chapter memberships in the Pennsylvania Builders Association, the SkillsUSA competition program and the National Technical Honor Society for 2020-2021.

• Adopted revisions to the center’s policies.

• Saluted staff member David Roberts, a recent recipient of the Paul Harris Fellow award from the Rotary Club of Indiana.

• Hired Lacey Chaussinand as an adult program practical nursing instructor for the 2020-2021 year at salary and benefits of $55,202.

• Hired Jennifer Bondra as a part-time instructor for the adult education medical-assistant program at $20 an hour and no benefits.

• Appointed faculty members Tim Bash, as the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) advisor at $600; Keith McCracken and Kelly Fox as NTHS co-advisors at $300 each; Melaney Brubaker as the School Scribes Program advisor for $600; Chris Shirley and Sandy Zulick as Skills USA Competition advisors at $1,200 each; and Erin Zack as a supplemental health nurse at $1,495.

• Ratified bus service agreements between ICTC and Smith Bus Company Inc. and Tri-County Transportation.

The ICTC continues to operate in person classes five days a week, McDermott said.

“I credit the instructors for organizing classrooms and the students for their enthusiasm, cooperation and understanding needed to operate under certain conditions, and to continue to function and continue to do so.

“Our goal is to maintain daily face-to-face instruction; it’s how we operate best. However, we are prepared if we have to, to go virtual,” McDermott said.

Staff Writer/Web Editor

Chauncey Ross represents the Gazette at the county courthouse; Indiana Area and Homer-Center schools; Blairsville, Homer City, Clymer, Center and Burrell; and is something of an Open Records, Right to Know and Sunshine Law advocate in the newsroom.