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INDIANA AREA: $10,000 grant to aid phys ed program

by on August 12, 2014 11:00 AM

The Indiana Area school district has a little extra jingle in its pockets today as the district has been named the winner of a grant for support of physical education.

Consol Energy announced on its website that Indiana is the winner of one of two “Power Up” grants of $10,000 following almost one year of online voting for schools that applied for consideration.

Indiana school board members learned of the grant from Athletic Director Patrick Snyder, in an email message relayed to the district office through Superintendent Dale Kirsch.

“All our children are winners today,” Snyder told the board.

The energy company offered one grant for a Pennsylvania district — 43 joined the competition — and a second grant for a school in Ohio, where five districts were in the running.

Most of the school districts in Indiana County were among the nominees.

Consol officials this morning said the company planned to make a formal announcement of the winners in September.

At the school board’s monthly business meeting, Kirsch reported the district has achieved $812,000 in savings on staffing costs for 2014-15. The district hired 19 people to fill 28 full-time vacancies and saved $594,000 through attrition, and an additional $218,000 by instituting a lower step on the salary scale for beginning teachers.

In other business, the board:

• Rescinded a motion approved in July to hire Jill Paouncic as a licensed practical nurse, at her request, and voted to hire Tracey Harper as an LPN at an hourly rate of $15.

• Hired Peter Woytowish as a part-time health and physical education teacher in the elementary schools at a salary of $25,000, and Amy Schoebert-Rebyanski as a part-time elementary health and physical education teacher at a salary of $30,352.50.

• Increased the salary for Lisa Friedhoff, an elementary literacy coach hired in July, to $72,205, based on updated education credentials.

• Approved Jonathan Anna as an assistant football coach at a salary of $2,046.

• Designated 13 district administrators as truancy officers authorized to issue summary citations in district court when a student has been unlawfully absent more than three days or is found in possession of tobacco products on district property.

• Approved the attendance of directors Tom Harley, John Uccellini and Diana Paccapaniccia at the Pennsylvania School Boards Association conference Oct. 21 to 24 in Hershey at a cost to the district of $1,000 plus travel expenses.

• Authorized an increase in the credit limits for the district’s procurement card program from $161,000 to $350,000. The district assigns credit cards to buildings and departments for official use in purchasing goods and services that offer discounts for use of a credit card, or that are available only through use of a charge card.

The district earned $1,200 in rebates for credit card purchases in the past year, Kirsch said.

All the actions were approved on unanimous votes of the full, nine-member board.

The board also conducted a first reading of revisions to several policies that have been updated to reflect changes in wording recommended by the PSBA.

Changes to a policy governing graduation need to be enacted before the school year begins, according to the board’s Personnel and Policy Chairwoman Hilliary Creely.

The revisions clarify that students are eligible for graduation and to receive a diploma if they attend high school classes part-time but also are enrolled in another education program or employed at a job at the same time.

The wording may further be tailored to indicate what kind of employment is acceptable, Creely said.

“A student may qualify for graduation by attending the district school part-time when lawfully employed part-time or when officially enrolled part-time in a post-secondary institution,” Creely said. “We are looking forward to receiving the administrative procedures to implement that. … We believe that there will be room for the superintendent to have discretion. ... I expect this will be a tightly regulated option.”

Policy changes are not formally enacted until they are presented for a second reading and a vote by the board.

Chauncey Ross is the Gazette’s fixture at Indiana Area and Homer-Center school board meetings, has been seen with pen and notepad in area police stations and courts, and is something of an Open Records Act and Sunshine Law advocate. He also manages the Gazette’s websites and answers your questions about them.
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