Armstrong School District to move administration to West Hills
By Tim Karan
Published: Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012, 1:26 a.m.
It'll be like the first day of school all over again next year for Armstrong School District administrators.
The school board approved a resolution Monday night to sell the aging administration building in Manor to Sheetz Inc. for $412,000 and to move the approximately 35 employees and operations of the administration staff to West Hills Primary School in East Franklin.
“The administration building has served our district very, very well,” said Superintendent Stan Chapp. “But we do have an opportunity to put some money back into the general fund and, at the same time, make use of all available space in the district as we consolidate buildings.”
The board voted, 7-1, in favor of the relocation, which Chapp said likely will take place during the summer. He estimated the project will cost about $300,000 to complete, but that the district should benefit from the fact that renovations at West Hills will be mostly cosmetic.
“All we're going to be doing is putting up stub walls and wall board,” Chapp said. “We project that we should be able to put about $100,000 or more in savings back into the general fund.”
Although there were few residents at the sparsely attended meeting at West Hills Primary who seemed opposed to the move, Dave Dunmire of Manorville posed a question.
Dunmire's son is a student in the autistic support class that was forced to relocate from Kittanning Township Elementary to Shannock Valley Elementary in Rural Valley when Kittanning Township Elementary closed before the school year.
Dunmire said he had been told there wasn't enough space at West Hills Primary for the program, while the life-skills support program was moved to the West Hills complex — which houses a separate school for grades four through six.
“Seeing that all the other special-needs classes were (at the West Hills complex), I thought it probably would've been a better fit to have that class here also,” Dunmire said. “If there was no room last year for approximately eight to 10 students, three aides and a teacher, why is there all of a sudden room for 35 administrative personnel?”
Matthew Pawk, coordinator of special education, replied that the decision to move the autistic support class to Shannock Valley had nothing to do with available space.
“We needed a K-6 building to house that program,” Pawk said. “Right now, we have students (in the autistic support class) in kindergarten through second grade. But anytime you move a special-education program, you have to plan for three years because you're not allowed by state law to make another change within that time frame. So if you're thinking about second-graders, they're going to be fourth-graders within that three-year span and we would need an additional teacher in a setting like West Hills Primary where you have (grades) K-3.”
Pawk said the confusion could have stemmed from there not being enough space for the autistic support class at Lenape Elementary in Ford City, where most of the students were moved from Kittanning Township Elementary. He also said that the four life-skills classes were moved to the West Hills complex because there were more students in those classes who required more pre-existing staff.
The school board is next set to meet for its open caucus on Jan. 10.
Tim Karan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Plumcreek fire victim identified
- Man stabs couple who took him in, police say
- Park structure at center of investigation
- Ford City OKs 3 police officers
- Kittanning Salvation Army raises red-kettle goal by 12%
- Kittanning vigil honors mother of 3
- County board seeks members
- District weighs AP test charges
- Belmont Complex plans ribbon-cutting to show off $2M in renovations
- Tentative budget keeps tax steady