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Officials renew West Jefferson Hills mass-notification system

| Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Parents and guardians in the West Jefferson Hills School District will continue to receive text messages, phone calls and emails alerting them to cancellations, programs and emergencies.

Board members last week agreed to renew the district's contract with AlertNow for mass notifications, at a cost of $2.30 per recipient.

The rate did not increase from the 2012-13 school year, acting Assistant Superintendent Hamsini Rajgopal said. The contract will run from July 1 and can be renewed each year.

The renewal will include an upgrade to the system, and parents will be required to log their information again, Rajgopal said.

School officials also will be able to send letters via email attachments.

“I think it's a great feature. It's a good system. It has worked for us,” Rajgopal said.

Food service

Those chicken sandwiches and nachos with meat and cheese will cost students in the West Jefferson Hills School District more in the 2013-14 school year.

Board members last week agreed to a contract with Metz Inc. for food service for the next school year that includes a 10-cent increase in lunch prices.

Elementary lunches will cost $2.40, while meals at the middle and high schools will cost $2.65.

The price increase will allow the district to break even on lunches, director of finance Tracy Harris said.

Math curriculum

Newly hired West Jefferson Hills School District Superintendent Michael Panza will review the proposed $125,568 purchase of the “My Math” series from McGraw Hill for elementary students, before the purchase is made.

Board members agreed to the purchase at their meeting last week, contingent on the new superintendent's approval.

Teachers this year have reviewed three options for the new elementary math program, Rajgopal said.

“My Math” was selected based on feedback from teachers and administrators, Rajgopal said.

New bleachers

The new bleachers planned for Thomas Jefferson High School will be constructed so that they can move to a different facility if a new high school is built, officials said.

Board members last week agreed to seek bids for new gymnasium bleachers for the high school as part of the district's facilities master plan capital projects schedule.

Field trip

All 666 students at Pleasant Hills Middle School are scheduled to travel to Washington, D.C., this spring to trace their ancestries.

The trip is part of the school's annual unit in which all subjects focus on one topic for a week.

Fundraisers held to help offset the cost of the trip brought in more than $26,000.

The remainder of the cost — $8,117 — will be paid by the district.

Board members approved the district's support of the trip at their meeting last week. The money will come from the school's annual budget, Rajgopal said.

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or

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