Charleroi Area out to talk money

| Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012

Faced with the possibility of reduced state revenue for the second straight year, Charleroi Area school officials are hoping to be creative in the 2012-13 school year budget.

The board will conduct a special meeting March 15 to discuss the budget.

Superintendent Dr. Brad Ferko said district officials are reviewing the governor's proposed budget and what it means for taxpayers.

"We have to look at revenue options for this district to remain responsible to the taxpayers," Ferko said. "We want to be the best district possible for the kids but remain responsible to the taxpayers."

The teachers' union agreed to salary concessions for the current budget, Ferko noted.

Ferko said the board is considering a proposal that would allow the children of district employees to attend Charleroi Area schools by paying tuition.

The board is also looking at renting property, possibly in Charleroi, where the district would operate an alternative education center.

Ferko said administrators and the union representing district bus drivers are continuing contract talks. The drivers are working under the terms of the old pact.

Meanwhile, the board approved changes to the middle school curriculum after hearing from several teachers about two courses they wanted to keep.

The middle school teachers, along with Principal Mary Tickner, spoke in favor of retaining the study island and cognitive tutor programs. These courses, targeted for students at the basic level, are core subject courses offered three times in a six-day rotation for students.

Librarian Vanessa DiCianna asked to salvage the library research class.

The board voted to not offer library research and study skills. The district will integrate those skills into the regular curriculum.

The vote was 5-3 with directors Patsy Brinker, Jim Short and Heather Keranko voting no.

A PSSA skills class will be added.

The board made no changes to curriculum affecting the study island and cognitive tutor programs.

In other news, the board commended Denver Byron for his work as project manager during the recently completed capital improvements project. The multi-million project included construction of the football stadium and renovation of various district buildings.

Board President Ken Wiltz said Byron spent countless hours at the district campus overseeing the projects and saved the district money along the way.

"You did the best to save us time and money," Ferko said. "You always did it with class."

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