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Board will consider rating musicals, ranking students

| Thursday, March 14, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

Greensburg Salem officials might be adding a parental rating to the next promotion or advertisement for the high school musical.

During a school board meeting this month, Director Angela DeMarino-Tooch expressed objections to some language used in this month's high school musical, “Footloose.”

She said she fielded complaints from parents who took elementary school children to the musical and heard “inappropriate words.”

“I don't understand how we can give a child detention (for saying such a word) ... but they can be up on stage” and use the same word, DeMarino-Tooch said.

There's a difference between a student using the word in class and on the stage, Director Frank Gazze replied.

Maybe the district needs to let patrons know parental ratings for plays ahead of time, Superintendent Eileen Amato suggested.

“Footloose” has a PG-13 rating, she noted.

During the April 3 school board meeting, directors plan to discuss dress codes for students.

Administrators at the five district schools have made recommendations on the dress code for their buildings and directors plan to review those recommendations.

Most directors have said in the past they don't want to see students wearing uniforms.

At that same April meeting, administrators plan to present to the board a review that they and teachers have done on weighted classes, class rankings and related topics.

Officials had been scheduled to discuss the weight grades and related issues during a school board meeting on March 6, but postponed that discussion because of complications caused by the snowstorm that day, Amato said.

Update on center

In another matter, Central Westmoreland Career and Technology Center has hired CJL Engineering of Coraopolis as a consultant to examine proposed improvements at the school near New Stanton, Amato said.

The project would include upgrading the building's heating and cooling systems and replacing the roof and windows, among other improvements to the mechanical areas.

Previous estimates for the project have ranged from $8.1 million to $9 million.

Under the existing conditions, welding programs cannot run at the center because the exhaust system is not up to code, according to Penn-Trafford Superintendent Thomas Butler.

Nick Petrucci, who is Penn-Trafford's representative on the center's committee, said he is frustrated by the delay in the project because he worries that the center's three boilers might fail before the end of the school year.

Earlier efforts for nine member districts to pay for the improvements through an energy-saving program didn't happen after five of those school districts either voted no or didn't vote on the project. Greensburg Salem directors joined three other districts in voting yes.

All nine must support any project.

Officials of all the districts likely will decide in June whether they support a remodeling project at the center's campus. The center's board set up a revised time line for the potential project last week after hiring the construction manager, Nick Petrucci, Penn-Trafford's representative to the center, told that school board last week.

In the new schedule, the career and technology center's board plans to approve the specifications for a project for advertisement at its March 20 meeting and interview three prospective contractors in mid-May, Petrucci said.

All of the school board members then will be invited to a May 30 dinner to review the proposed project, he said.

“It seems like it's going the right way,” Petrucci said.

The center's board voted in January to rescind a proposed $9 million contract for Chevron Energy Solutions after some of the member school boards raised questions about financing and the fact that only two firms bid on the project the first time around.

Hempfield Area school board Director Bob McDonald said financing was among that district's concerns because officials wanted information about potentially floating a bond. With the Chevron deal, districts would have been required to contribute up-front costs toward improvements that were projected to reduce energy costs in the long run.

Some officials also were concerned about an arrangement in which Chevron would have been the construction manager and contractor through terms of Act 39, the Guaranteed Energy Savings Act.

Petrucci said he thinks officials in eight districts support the project but officials in one district are reluctant to support a plan that costs more than $6 million. He didn't identify the district.

“Believe me, getting nine unanimous is not easy,” Petrucci said.

Contributing to this article was Chris Foreman, a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400 ext. 8671 or cforeman@tribweb.com. Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or bstiles@tribweb.com.

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