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CASD parents protest rumored school closures

| Thursday, Nov. 15, 2007

Parents of students in the Connellsville Area School District are already protesting rumored school closures.

Several dozen attended Wednesday's meeting, some circulating petitions to keep elementary schools open.

Board President Francis Mongell scheduled a nonvoting informational meeting at 7 p.m. Dec. 12 in the high school cafeteria to give residents a chance to voice concerns.

Directors have taken no action on any proposals included in a feasibility study performed by P.J. Dick Inc. in West Mifflin in Allegheny County that outlined several options, including consolidating schools and closing one or more to save money.

Connellsville resident Melissa Tzan asked why, if directors were not going to close any schools, they last month included a provision in the heating and ventilation contract renewal with Combustion Service & Equipment Co., Pittsburgh, that the company would not charge for closed schools. Connellsville Township, Dunbar Borough and South Side elementary were included.

Director Jeffrey Harvey said if directors do vote to close schools, Combustion Service would not charge for maintenance, and if the schools remained open, the company would charge for services.

Connellsville resident Erica Snyder asked, "How can I be certain school closures haven't been discussed?"

Snyder said school closures cannot be discussed in executive session. "You are not representing the people when you close schools or reconfigure."

Snyder suggested the district put a referendum on the ballot before closing a school. Directors did not respond.

Directors made a number of personnel decisions during the voting portion of the meeting.

Among them:

= Elizabeth Oliveria was hired as a special education teacher. Director Ed Zadylak cast the only dissenting vote.

= Harold Kooser was added to the school police roster.

= Linda Cordaro was chosen as solicitor for one year for $7,800. Zadylak voted no, saying the position should be advertised and awarded to the lowest responsible bidder. Cordaro has received the same salary since 2003.

The following individuals will serve as volunteer coaches: Thomas Dolde, Ron Doppelheuer Jr. and Matt King, senior high wrestling; Dan Bosnic, senior high boys basketball; and Robert Swope Jr., senior high girls basketball.

In other business:

= The annual reorganization meeting will take place at 7 p.m. Dec. 5 in the high school cafeteria, with a regular voting meeting to follow.

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