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United board looks to replace departing French teacher

| Friday, Aug. 22, 2014, 9:45 a.m.

United School District is looking for a new French instructor after James Dykun, who held the position for three years, recently resigned to accept a similar teaching post at Indiana Area High School.

Dykun submitted his resignation on July 30, and United School Board accepted it with regret at its regular Aug. 12 meeting.

In addition to his classroom duties, Dykun served as adviser to the French Club and worked in collaboration with staff at Indiana Area to arrange stays by French foreign exchange students with host families in both the Indiana and United districts.

Don Davis, president of United School Board, said the district staff hope to continue a working relationship with Dykun because “we did think a lot of him.”

Dykun, who attended the Aug. 12 meeting, said he intends to work with whoever succeeds him at United in order to continue placing French exchange students locally.

Dykun, who resides in Indiana, will have a shorter trip to his new day job. He also teaches evening  French classes at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Superintendent Barbara Parkins said district officials are advertising for an instructor to fill the vacancy resulting from Dykun's departure.

In other personnel matters, the United board approved an unpaid leave for vo-ag instructor Kristie Good under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. The leave is slated to begin on about Oct. 27 and may continue for up to 12 weeks.

The board also assigned existing members of the United faculty to serve as mentors for newly hired teachers. The new instructors and their respective mentors are: Andrew Davis (biology), mentored by Brian Manges; Tyler Stokes (special education), Denesa Sharp; Kristen Fisher (special education), Tara Fabbri for the first semester and Bre Custer for the second semester; Chanie Spearing (elementary), Toni Draksler.

United approved bills and a change order for the ongoing renovations at the high school and laid the groundwork for a proposed bond issue to help finance the project.

The project includes constructing a new school office suite in the space previously occupied by the high school library — along with a new main entrance that will provide enhanced security, requiring all visitors to check in at the office for clearance before gaining access to areas of the school where teachers and students are present.

The school board approved a change order submitted by BCS Construction that will allow for the removal and replacement of an additional 400 square feet of concrete sidewalk at the high school. The change will cost the district an additional $3,444 but is covered under the contractor's base bid that included a field quality allowance for an additional 500 square feet of sidewalk at a unit price of $8.61 per square foot.

The following high school construction bills were approved: Phase One Development Corp., asbestos abatement, two payments totaling $27,312.50; Bob Biter Electrical Enter, electrical work, $8,046; K&K Plumbing Company, plumbing construction, $30,009.17; BCS Construction, security entrance construction, two payments totaling $86,365.44; MARC—Service Inc., high school office renovation, $47,728.62; HHSDR, construction administration phase month 2 of 10, $2,880; AGX, air monitoring/sample analysis, $5,865.

The school board also authorized HHSDR, the district's architectural consultant, to prepare bid specifications for a new folding door in the elementary gym. Davis explained school officials are concerned that the existing door, because of its age, might leave a mark on the newly installed gym floor.

United is anticipating floating a bond issue of $1,085,000 to help pay for the high school renovations. In preparation, the board authorized Davis to execute on behalf of the district a commitment letter for Assured Guaranty Municipal Corp. It also authorized the board officers and G. Thomas Kalinyak, district director of finance, to execute any necessary documents in respect to the bond issue.

United also approved a proposal from Eastern Elevator Service and Sales Company to replace an emergency light unit in the high school elevator at a cost of $461.94.

Under board policy matters, United approved a new job description for supervisor of maintenance and appointed Davis and Trudy DeRubis to represent the school board as voting delegates to the Pennsylvania School Boards Association Policy Council meeting for 2014-15.

United also approved a dual enrollment agreement allowing eligible high school students to take courses at St. Francis College in Loretto.

The school board approved a master agreement with Blackboard for the 2014-15 year at a cost of $3,172.20 for 1,244 recipients. Parkins explained Blackboard provides an Alert Now service that allows United to issue an emergency call-out notification of a school cancellation or delay to all district parents who provide a phone number.

United authorized participation of a high school student in pre-vocational/vocational training in the Cambria County Association for the Blind and Handicapped program at a rate of $60 for vocational assessment testing and $40 per half day of attendance plus transportation costs.

The district also contracted with BAYADA Home Health Care to provide “in-school” nursing services to a district student at a rate of $44 per hour for both RN and LPN services.

United agreed to participate in the ARIN Intermediate Unit 28 Automated External Defibrillator Replacement Consortium for 2014-15 at a cost of $780, with a service cost of $95 for each of four units and $100 per set of pediatric replacement pads.

United approved additional agreements for the following services: Armstrong-Indiana-Clarion Drug and Alcohol Commission, services for the Student Assistance Program Initiative for troubled students in 2014-15; Learning Lamp, provision of Title I instructional services including computer-assisted instruction for two non-public students enrolled at Our Mother of Sorrows School at a cost of $2,618.56; Catapult Learning, Title I instructional services for four non-public students at St. Bernard's and Seeds of Faith schools at a cost of $5,330.64; New Story, services for four students at a tuition rate of $170 per day plus transportation and related service costs as needed; The Meadows Psychiatric Center/Universal Community of Behavioral Health, educational services as needed at a cost of $30 per hour for up to two hours per day on weekdays.

In additional personnel matters, the school board approved two agriculture aides for 2014-15: Carole Carney, greenhouse aide; Roy Duncan, vo-ag aide.

The board accepted the resignations of assistant junior high wrestling coach Tyler Capitosti and of assistant band director Bailey Fulkroad. Marissa Kletter was approved as the new assistant band director at a supplemental salary of $1,082.43.

Supplemental posts OK'd

United approved the following athletic supplemental positions and salaries for 2014-15:

Fall athletics — Lance Holupka, head football coach, $4,945.58; John Dunn, head junior high football coach, $3,045.31; Thomas Whitcomb, cross country coach, $2,337.78; Chris Matava, head golf coach (coed golf), $2,259.23; Misty Widmar, varsity volleyball coach, $2,761.66; Cathleen Harr, assistant varsity volleyball coach, $1,902.49; Jennifer Mack, varsity/jv head cheerleading coach, $3,805.01; Katie Mehalik, assistant cheerleading coach, $1,664.69; Jennifer McCully, junior high cheerleading coach, $2,459.57; Candi Nagle, assistant junior high cheerleading coach, $1,940.86; Grace Evans, varsity girls soccer coach, $2,066.90; Daniel Pajak, varsity boys soccer coach, $2,066.90; Misty Widmar, junior high girls volleyball coach, $2,197.49.

Winter athletics — John Dunn, head junior high boys basketball coach, $3,465.39; Mikel Balsley, assistant junior high boys basketball coach, $2,472.79; Toni Draksler, assistant jv girls basketball coach, $3,241.95; Tyler Stokes, head boys varsity basketball coach, $4,890.90; Daniel Pajak, assistant boys varsity basketball coach, $3,210.47; Lee Ann Ault, head varsity girls basketball coach, $4,562.74, and assistant junior high girls basketball coach, $2,521.53; Timothy Riskus, head varsity wrestling coach, $4,518.44; Samuel Buzzinotti, assistant varsity wrestling coach, $3,322.11.

Spring athletics — Robert Penrose, head boys track coach, $4,428.47; Thomas Whitcomb, assistant boys track coach, $2,161.30; Chris Matava, head girls track coach, $4,767.36; Keri Miller, assistant girls track coach, $2,593.57; Jerry Hammack, head baseball coach, $2,853.75; Stephen Barbus, assistant varsity baseball coach, $2,140.31; Thomas Harley, head softball coach, $2,853.75; Dennis Rudnik, assistant softball coach, $2,119.53.

Year-round athletics — Cullen Stokes, athletic director, $6,556.36; Nathan Bevard, game manager (full-time), $30 per event up to $900; William Strong, game manager (as needed), $30 per event up to $900; Lance Holupka, weight room supervisor, $1,181.93.

United also approved the following non-athletic supplemental positions and salaries:

Student activities — Ben Saylor, band director, $3,343.74; Maria Razayeski, yearbook adviser, $2,626.94; Kristie Good, summer agriculture program adviser, $2,000; Michael Wilt, summer driver education, $20.95 per hour; Vicki Stelma, newspaper adviser, $1,456.97; Darla Robinson, junior class prom adviser, $1,114.58; Molly Flanagan, senior high student council (grades 9-12), $1,242.87; Michelle Dunn, drama/musical director, $1,651.96, and drama director for first semester play, $1,243.32; Acey Gongaware, drama/musical vocal music director, $1,651.96; Robert Penrose, tech. assistant for first semester play, $557.29; Michael Lee, computer competition adviser, $281.38; Mikel Balsley, Junior Academy of Science adviser, $273.26; Jennifer Buchkovich, quiz bowl adviser, $278.65; Jody Conrad, National Honor Society adviser, $267.90; Bre Custer, elementary yearbook adviser, $601; Elyse Shearer, majorette adviser, $1,671.88; Addy Stewart and Kimberly Ray, senior class/senior trip adviser, $892.75.

Curriculum support — Jerry Matava, high school social studies department head, $1,641.88; Richard Szelong, high school communications department head, $940.92; Darlene Sexton, high school math department head, $1,002.83; Thomas Whitcomb, high school science department head, $1,002.83; Devon Brendle, high school business/tech. team leader, $765.13; Marci Beyer, elementary specials team leader, $655.82; Gregory Mytrysak, elementary communications department head, $1,112.89; Rita Stahura, K-12 special education department head, $990.45; Ron Ofman, elementary science department head, $1,641.88; Susan Garaventa, elementary math department head, $724.84; Chris Matava, elementary science department head, $823.12; Becky McLaughlin, high school health/PE department head, $881.05; Lorraine Allman, graduation project coordinator, $1,324.51.

Community outreach — Jean Dumm, media coordinator (newsletter), $721.41; Ashley Misterka, media production coordinator (newsletter), $721.41.

The following volunteers also were approved: Melanie Brilhart, Natalie Felix, Jessica Riffer and Veronica Plowman, Parent Teacher Group; Patricia Rich, band/chorus; Meribeth Brown, band; Nicole McCloskey, elementary.

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

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