Homer Center schools sign 02

A veteran administrator in the Homer-Center School District and a career educator has announced his retirement.

Michael Stofa, principal at Homer-Center Elementary School since 2006, will finish with the district June 30.

The school board on Thursday accepted his resignation notice at special meeting held online on the Zoom app.

“Mike was professional at all times and a pleasure to be around,” said Superintendent Clint Whitesel. “He enjoyed kids and did all that was asked of him.”

Stofa, of Blairsville, served four years as principal of Burrell High School in Lower Burrell, Westmoreland County, before taking the post at Homer-Center. He earlier taught third-grade and middle school classes in the Penn Trafford and Burrell school districts.

He succeeded Edward Meshanko when he joined the Homer-Center district 14 years ago.

In other business, the school board officially shortened the school year for the district’s teachers by canceling their scheduled final day of work on Monday.

Under terms of a memorandum of understanding with the teachers’ union, Homer-Center Education Association, teachers in the 2020-21 school year will work an extra day. Teachers would report Tuesday, Aug. 18, a day that administrators would well serve the teachers in preparation for more online instruction if that condition is re-imposed by the state.

In-person classroom instruction will be allowed again beginning July 1 for schools under the yellow- and green-phase pandemic restrictions, state officials decided Wednesday.

Districts that first adopt health and safety procedures that meet federal and state guidelines will be permitted to reopen their brick-and-mortar schools for classes and other activities.

Plans for group use of Homer-Center School District facilities will come before the board for consideration June 18 at the panel’s regular monthly business meeting.

Football is one of the first groups looking to revive normalcy. The football parents group has planned a youth football camp for July 27 to 30 at the practice field; the varsity team has asked for approval to use the practice field in the afternoons on unspecified dates and Memorial Field for evening activity on unspecified dates.

And when kids return to their classes — and the cafeteria — in the Homer-Center schools, food probably will cost more. The board will consider increases of 10 cents for breakfasts and 15 cents for lunches for 2020-21.