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Elizabeth Forward tax collector to remain until Jan. 31

| Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, 2:37 a.m.

Elizabeth Forward School District will employ the services of Elizabeth Township tax collector Carol Ruscin for an additional month when her municipal term ends.

The school board voted on Wednesday to retain Ruscin through Jan. 31.

In a memo to district director of finance and operations Richard Fantauzzi, Ruscin said she then will turn over her records to the district's delinquent tax collector.

Ruscin told Fantauzzi that an audit would be necessary if she cannot complete her collection of this year's taxes.

Agencies in Allegheny County on all levels were forced to delay tax deadlines because of uncertainty about the court-ordered property reassessment.

Ruscin did not run for re-election. Republican Mary E. Walos is running against Democrat Dana L. Evans in the Nov. 5 elections.

The district could have a contract with its teachers by the November school board meeting. School directors and Elizabeth Forward Education Association accepted a state fact-finder's recommendations, but details have not been made public.

“There is a little bit of negotiations still going on over the (contract) language,” school director Michael O'Rourke said.

O'Rourke said Mark Moses Electrical Services of Baldwin loaned the district a generator for use at William Penn Elementary School. The district plans to seek bids for a permanent one.

The school needed the generator on Monday when copper grounding wire was stripped at a West Penn Power substation, triggering a utility pole fire and knocking out service to 750 Forward Township customers, including the school.

“He's very accommodating,” Superintendent Bart Rocco said of Moses. “It is free of charge.”

Township police are searching for suspects and West Penn Power is offering a reward for information leading to arrests and convictions.

Tonight is the first of two for distribution of free iPads to district middle school students. The other is scheduled for Monday.

High school students received the iPads last week. Student school board representative Alex Thornton said they are working well, and there have been few technical glitches.

“It is helping everyone's creativity,” Alex said.

The district has a new public relations consultant. The board approved a $5,000 contract with Hello Productions LLC of Pittsburgh, retroactive to Sept. 9 and running through June 7.

Hello has offices in Pittsburgh and Raleigh, N.C.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or pcloonan@tribweb.com.

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