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Schmotzer announces resignation from Baldwin-Whitehall board

| Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, 8:54 p.m.

After 11 years in office, Baldwin-Whitehall School Board President John Schmotzer has decided to resign.

His last school board meeting was expected to be last night, Wednesday.

Schmotzer, 57, a Democrat, of Whitehall, gave notice of his resignation at last week's school board meeting, citing spending more time with his family and working. Several board members said they were surprised at his decision but wished him the best of luck.

The school board has 30 days from Nov. 14 to appoint a Baldwin-Whitehall resident to Schmotzer's seat. The position has one year remaining on a four-year term.

Schmotzer served on the construction committee for the $65 million Baldwin High School renovation, which was completed in 2009, and the auditorium construction committee for the $2.8 million performing arts center renovation, which was completed in 2010. He served as school board president several times.

Key hires

Baldwin-Whitehall School District will have a new business manager and human resources director in December.

The Baldwin-Whitehall School board hired Mark R. Cherpak as the district's business manager at a salary of $98,000. Ray Rosing, a school board member, was the lone dissenter.

Cherpak will replace William McNamee, who will retire at the end of December.

The school board also approved, in a 7-2 vote, to hire Christopher Constantine as the director of human resources for a salary of $90,000.

Rosing and school board member Nancy Sciulli DiNardo were in the dissent.

Performing arts

The school board unanimously approved a $83,815 bid by Pittsburgh Stage for the stage renovations and replacing the riggings at the Baldwin High School Performing Arts Center.

The district will pay for the renovations from leftover money in the auditorium renovation fund. The renovation was completed in 2010.

Partnership offer

Kevin Rice, director of the Steel Center Vocational Technical School, spoke to the school board at the Nov. 7 meeting about his goals for partnering with the district.

Rice, who assumed his position earlier this year, plans to increase the focus on students, provide them with a high-quality education, strengthen ties between the school and industry, increase the weight of credentials and maintain workplace readiness for students, he said.

Rice said he wants to provide a vocational technical school that supports students who are interested in certain trades, while not making them choose between those skills and advanced education.

Fiscal year audit

Baldwin-Whitehall School District received an unqualified opinion, the highest a firm can give, for the 2011-12 fiscal year audit.

Chad Agnew, of Coltrill Arbutina and Associates presented the highlights of the 2011-12 audit at the meeting.

“The financial statements before you are stable,” Agnew said.

Highlights of the audit include a healthy fund balance and no discrepancies, he said.

“That's a pretty healthy fund balance,” Agnew said. “You're in a good position moving forward.”

Issues to improve upon include fixing issues with accounts payable, payroll liability and updating a fixed assets list, Agnew said.

Fischer said he was pleased with the audit.

“It is a good, clean audit,” he said. “It certainly is a long way that we've come.”

Laura Van Wert is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5814 or at lvanwert@tribweb.com.

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