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Leechburg Area School District decides against full-day kindergarten

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Thursday, July 11, 2013, 12:31 a.m.
 

A push for the Leechburg Area School District to offer full-day kindergarten beginning this fall has failed.

Board member Anthony Shea had been behind the effort.

He initially called for starting the program this fall, then wanted to do so only if it could be done without a property tax increase.

Business Manager Mark Lukacs said the district's budget, passed last month, carried no tax increase. Lukacs said he would have recommended a tax increase to hire additional staff, such as a kindergarten teacher.

Chuck Pascal, a former board member and candidate in this fall's election, said money for a teacher would be available if the board chose to hire a teacher instead of a school safety officer.

The district has been planning to have an armed guard hired for the start of the coming school year.

Shea wanted the board to hire a half-time teacher in place of a safety officer but got no support from his colleagues.

Board member Danielle Reinke said she did not know of any benefits of full-day kindergarten over half-day. Larger class sizes were also a concern of some board members.

Later in the meeting, Reinke said, “I don't want to be the school that waits for a Sandy Hook,” and abruptly walked out of the meeting.

She was referring to the Dec. 14, 2012, shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where 20 children and six adults were fatally shot and, in the wake of which, many school districts have taken steps to heighten security.

Superintendent survey

A survey is available to residents as the district continues its search for a new superintendent.

Superintendent Jim Budzilek's last day at Leechburg Area is July 31. He is leaving to become superintendent of Mars Area in Butler County.

The survey asks residents about the “characteristics and experiences” they want to see in a new school leader.

It will be available on the district's website — www.leechburg.k12.pa.us — until July 19.

The survey is also available in the library and at school offices.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4701 or brittmeyer@tribweb.com.

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