Greater Latrobe schools to revise starting date to Aug. 25

| Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

After receiving online survey results from more than 1,000 people, Greater Latrobe will vote to again revise the 2014-15 school calendar.

During a board meeting on Tuesday, Superintendent Judith Swigart reported that the two-question survey — which was posted on the district's website for about a week — revealed an 80/20 split favoring an Aug. 25 start date for the school year instead of Aug. 21, which was approved at a March meeting.

“In other words, it will be the same as it has been,” she said after the meeting.

Representatives from the local 4-H Club opposed the earlier start date because it conflicted with the Westmoreland Fair, which is planned for Aug. 15-23.

To account for the later date, the district's spring break will be shortened to three days instead of a full week, also preferred in the online vote that included about 800 parents, Swigart said.

“After the conversation here, (the board) talked ... so we specifically targeted those two specific areas of the calendar, because those were the conversation pieces,” she said.

If this revision is approved at the board meeting on April 15, the last day for students will move up one day from June 3 to June 2, 2015, she said.

Orientation programs scheduled for Aug. 21 and 22 instead will take place Aug. 25 and 26, with teachers still reporting Aug. 18-20, Swigart said.

Administrators said in March that any student participating in the fair would have been accommodated, as those programs were considered educational.

In other business, clerk of the works Kurt Thomas reported to the board that construction at the stadium will be completed in time for graduation on June 11.

Concrete work and metal roofing need to be completed, as well as decorative pieces such as trim and signs, Thomas said.

Electrical, plumbing, mechanical and bleachers are finished with only final “punch list” reviews left, he said.

A construction trailer and fencing have been put into place at the junior high in order to begin work there on the front entrance and hallway, he said. The a $1.1 million project is set to begin during spring break and continue through the summer.

At the regular meeting, the board may approve new financial systems software that would eliminate paper and printing, allow better faculty and staff access to budgetary and payroll, and streamline human resources' applicant processes, said business administrator Dan Watson.

The final price is still under negotiation, but after an initial cost for implementation and training, the annual recurring cost is about the same as the current software, last updated in 1999, he said.

Stacey Federoff is a staff writerfor Trib Total Media. She can bereached at 724-836-6660 or

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