Blairsville-Saltsburg School District to add pre-kindergarten classes
Blairsville-Saltsburg School District will have a pre-kindergarten class at each of its two campuses after being awarded a competitive state Pre-K Counts grant.
The district applied for the five-year grant in conjunction with Indiana Area School District, through Armstrong-Indiana Intermediate Unit, and winners were notified after the state budget was finalized.
The Blairsville-Saltsburg school board voted 8-0 to accept the grant funds at a special meeting Tuesday morning. Board member Holly Hall was absent. The grant awards $648,800 each year that will be administered by ARIN to reimburse the two districts for Pre-K teachers, aides and supplies.
“Essentially, we are going to create from scratch, as far as I know, the district's first-ever Pre-K program equitably on both sides of the district with a class average probably of about 16 to 18 (students),” assistant superintendent Ian Magness said. “It would be one classroom on each side of the district with a full-time teacher and full-time aide in each.”
Magness said 3- and 4-year-old children of district residents receiving or eligible for government assistance qualify for the Pre-K Counts program. The district will be contacting parents with children already attending school in the district who may also have children who qualify for the program, but Magness urged families whose children aren't in the school system yet to contact the district at 724-459-5500, ext. 8, then ext. 1103.
“These are the kids that usually fall through the cracks because they can't afford to go to a preschool,” board member Holly Gibson said. “Setting them up with a good solid foundation before they get to kindergarten and first grade, that's really important.”
The board accepted the retirement of Blairsville Elementary principal Debra Shirley, who spent 36 years as an employee of the district. Magness said no definite time-frame for hiring a replacement had been established, as Shirley notified the district of her retirement the day prior to the special meeting.
The district also made moves to replace recently-retired football coach and co-athletic director Ab Dettorre at Blairsville. James Buckles moves from co-athletic director to athletic director for the Blairsville campus. Rick Artley, who is entering his 16th year of coaching in the district and served as Blairsville's top assistant coach under Dettorre for the past eight seasons, takes over as head coach. The other assistant coaches on Dettorre's staff will remain on Artley's staff, with seven volunteer football coaches also approved at the meeting.
The district will dip into money set aside for additional expenses during the roof project at Blairsville Middle-High School for three items totaling $8,631. One of the items, board president Ed Smith said, is to fix a mistake in which the letter “S” in signs on the outside of the school was installed upside-down.
The board approved having Adelphoi Education, Inc. provide alternative education, Your Education Success and day treatment services to the district for the 2013-14 school year. The board approved an agreement with The Learning Lamp for an ACCESS coordinator part-time position for 40 weeks at a cost of $13,956.80. The directors also voted to renew the district's subscription to Study Island educational software for 2013-14 at a cost of $17,973.50.
The district will purchase a forklift and van from the 12th Congressional Regional Equipment Company for $3,500 each. The district had been leasing the vehicles previously, Smith said. The district also renewed its agreement with Lifestat Ambulance Service for the upcoming school year in the amount of $2,800.
In other business, the board:
• Approved the Saltsburg Middle-High School marching band field trip to the Fall Fantasy Parade at Kennywood on Aug. 12. The trip will cost the district $750 for transportation.
• Approved Richard Serafin as volunteer coach for the district's volleyball program and Betty Branthoover as volunteer coach for the Blairsville High golf program.
• Approved a Family Medical Leave of Absence for Alissa Joyce, Blairsville Elementary teacher, Aug. 3-Sept. 13 and intermittently through Nov. 4.
• Appointed Mary Whitfield and Anthony Canzano as voting delegates at the Pennsylvania School Boards Association Leadership Conference in October.
• Adopted policies regarding facilities use, electronic transactions records and signatures and volunteers.
• Authorized the establishment of a cooperative sponsorship for girls' lacrosse with the Marion Center School District for 2013-14, in cooperation with the Armstrong and Indiana Area school districts, at no cost to the district.
The board's regular July 17 meeting was cancelled, but it will hold another special voting meeting at 7 p.m. July 31 at Saltsburg High School as the district prepares to hire new teachers for the upcoming school year.
Greg Reinbold is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2913 or email@example.com.
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.
- Blairsville eyes 2-mill tax increase
- Saltsburg grad developing app to help addicts with recovery
- Indiana County man pleads guilty to manslaughter
- Indiana County earmarks funds for improvements to rental housing
- Indiana Area School District contends with 2nd bomb threat
- Small volunteer group has big impact helping homeless, hungry in Indiana County