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United school board split on information technology service agreement

| Thursday, June 13, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

A motion to approve a new two-year contract with In-Shore Technologies for information technology management services failed to gain the needed majority of votes from United School Board members at the panel's regular Tuesday meeting.

But board President Don Davis said school directors have more time to discuss whether the Johnstown firm may ultimately continue serving the district, as a current agreement with In-Shore runs until October.

With Norma Carpenter absent, the board was deadlocked 4-4 on the proposed new contract. John Poorbaugh, Ronald Moyer, Robert Lichtenfels and Robert Dill voted against the agreement, which would have extended from July 1 of this year through June 30, 2015.

The cost for In-Shore to provide “standard IT management services to all employees and non-employees who are part of the school district” was pegged at $74,250 for the first year of the proposed contract and $74,500 for the second year.

In-Shore has served United for about two years, according to Superintendent Barbara Parkins. She explained district officials had hoped to have the new contract with In-Shore begin in July, as do many of the district's other contracts and its fiscal year, rather than beginning in October.

Speaking for himself and Parkins, Davis said, “We're satisfied with them.”

The board did vote 5-3 to have In-Shore use SmartResale and EWaste to dispose of the district's technology waste for the 2013-14 school year. Poorbaugh, Moyer and Lichtenfels voted against that item.

The board unanimously voted to continue using National Network of Digital Schools, under the name Lincoln Interactive, to provide an online curriculum and courses for students from grades K-12.

United began using the company's services this past school year to provide its own online option for children in the district who might otherwise consider enrolling in an independent cyber school. Parkins noted that students who choose the district's online course offerings from Lincoln will be able to graduate with the same United High School diploma provided to those who attend in a traditional classroom setting.

District officials noted only four students currently are enrolled in United's online program. “We'd like to get more people involved,” Davis said.

Parkins noted the program can make a difference for some students, including those that are “struggling toward the end and are thinking they may drop out. It saved at least two of our kids this year.”

The board approved a color scheme for the new elementary school gym floor and approved a contract with Mid-State Construction to install the replacement flooring at a cost of $137,600. The contract stipulates that final closeout of the project will occur no later than Sept. 23, but Parkins said the plan is for all work to be completed well before then — before classes resume in the fall.

The board recognized two district athletes — Shawn Lichvar and Kennedy Fletcher — for their outstanding achievements at United High School. Principal Michael Worthington listed their many accomplishments.

Lichvar, who graduated last week as a member of the United Class of 2013, has excelled in cross country and track and is the sole six-time state qualifier in United history.

This past school year, he individually qualified for state competition in both cross country and track. In track, his qualifying time of 2:00.2 in the 800-meter event was shy by just a tenth of a second for breaking the school record.

Lichvar, who next will compete in cross country at Penn State, also was a state qualifier for cross country individually in his junior year at United and with the school's team in his freshman year.

He qualified for the state track meet as part of United's 4x800 relay team in his freshman and sophomore years.

In her just-completed junior year at United, Fletcher qualified for states by placing second in two field events at the district level. She had a discus throw of 107 feet, 7 inches and a javelin throw of 109 feet, 10 inches.

At states, she placed seventh in discus, with a throw of 116 feet, 2 inches, and eighth in javelin, at 118 feet, 9 inches.

Bill Lichtenfels, United's former track coach who still assists as a volunteer, presented the board with three banners honoring three of the district's early standout track and field teams coached by Tom Madill.

The banners, which will be displayed in the high school gym, recognize the 1958 and 1959 teams that claimed consecutive state championships and the 1957 team, which was the state runner-up.

“They were called the farm boys by many of their competitors,” Bill Lichtenfels noted.

He was accompanied to the meeting by United track alumni Lanny Dixon and Ernie Widmar, who were both part of a relay team during the school's late 1950s championship run. Dixon served on the United school board in the 1980s, and Widmar is retired from a 37-year career at neighboring Blairsville High School that included coaching track for 14 years.

In another athletic matter, the school board hired Lance Holupka as United's new head football coach, at a salary of $4,801.53. A United graduate and former assistant coach, Holupka succeeds Greg Mytrysak, who recently stepped down as head coach.

United accepted Chris Matava's resignation as junior high boys' basketball coach.

United agreed to use the Champion Lakes Golf Course, free of charge, for golf matches and practices during the 2013-14 school year.

The school board granted tenure status to four instructors who have each completed six semesters of satisfactory employment — high school Spanish teacher Darla Kiefer and elementary teachers Casey Buchkoski, Kayla Erwin and Megan Rensko.

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, unpaid leaves of up to 12 weeks each were granted to elementary vocal music teacher Kristi Chaney, retroactive to May 23, and to high school English instructor Jody Conrad, beginning Sept. 6.

Regarding employee benefits, the board renewed a contract with Vision Benefits of America for two years, extending through June 30, 2015. The agreement includes a monthly rate of $11.75 per composite unit.

Delta Dental insurance rates and Blue Cross/Blue Shield rates also were renewed — for one year, through June 30, 2014.

United agreed to purchase a worker's compensation insurance package issued by Highmark Casualty Insurance Group and the Reschini Group, at a cost of $26,702 for a one-year period extending through July 1, 2014.

Renewal rates with Sun Life Insurance were approved through June 30, 2015

The district contracted with BAYADA Nurses Inc. to provide nursing services for 2013-14 at $44 per hour.

Vantage Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation will provide athletic training services for United athletes for a three-year period beginning with the start of the district's 2013 football camp and continuing until the last day of the 2015-16 school year. There will be an annual cost of $5,500.

Camco Physical and Occupational Therapy will provide physical and occupational therapy services to students with special needs at a rate of $56 per hour from Aug. 1, 2013 to July 31, 2014.

Jeff Himler is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2910 or

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