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Uniontown school board has $2M in construction fund

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

With $2 million remaining in its construction fund, the Uniontown Area School Board will meet to discuss capital improvement projects that could be funded with the left-over money.

One of the projects that the district is considering is resurfacing the high school running track.

Joe Eberhart, the district's track coach, told school board members on Monday night that he has been running on the high school's track for about 50 years. He ran on the track in the 1980s right after the surface was completed.

“We had a state-of-the-art track back in the 1980s, but now we need to redo the surface completely,” Eberhart said. “The track has become dangerous. Two student athletes recently suffered stress fractures while running on the track.”

Eberhart said it is Uniontown's turn to host Fayette County's next track meet, but the event will be moved to the Albert Gallatin School District because of the condition of Uniontown's track.

“It needs to be done correctly,” Eberhart said. “It's a question of safety. The track needs to be resurfaced before more students are injured.”

School board members agreed to discuss bid specifications for resurfacing the track at a work session scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday in the high school.

“Bid specifications are needed for the track,” school board member Ken Meadows said. “Are we thinking about how much this is going to cost and where we're going to get the money?”

After the school district pays it bills, Superintendent Dr. Charles Machesky estimated that about $2 million will be left over from the district's $50 million construction/renovation project.

“We have time to check into the cost of resurfacing the track,” Meadows said. “We have until next season to fix it. We need to take it step by step. We need to make sure funds are in place. We need to come up with specifications and advertise for bids for the project.”

In other business, Rich Johnston, a district employee, addressed the school board on the Service Employees International Union's resolution on Gov. Tom Corbett's education funding.

“I am here today because I am concerned about Harrisburg's drastic cuts to public education,” Johnston said.

Johnston said nearly $2 billion in education funding has been lost from the state budget since Corbett took office.

“Due to these cuts by the Corbett administration, school districts like Uniontown have been forced to lay off or not replace teachers and staff, increase class sizes, cut arts, tutoring the sports programs and increase local property taxes,” Johnston said.

Despite the funding crisis created by the Corbett administration, Johnston said, the governor's fiscal year 2013-14 budget includes only a 10 percent restoration of public education funding.

“Instead of continuing along a path toward more public education cuts and local tax increases, we're calling on the Uniontown School District to join school districts around the state in calling on Gov. Corbett and the Pennsylvania General Assembly to increase revenue for public education,” Johnston said.

Machesky said the school district is supporting the SEIU's resolution.

Cindy Ekas is a freelance writer.

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