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Software buy to provide tax credits

| Sunday, May 13, 2012, 8:59 p.m.

Belle Vernon Area School District will purchase new primary school software next year with the help of a local business.

School board members voted to accept a donation of $25,000 in Educational Improvement Tax Credits from Farnham and Pfile, a business that rents and sells light and heavy equipment.

The tax credits enable businesses to reduce their state tax liability through contributions or donations to nonprofit educational institutions.

The donation will be used to buy Compass Learning software for grades 1-5. The software costs about $75,000, but the donation will offset that for the 2002-03 school year.

Two payments of $26,910.19 will be made in the following years. Superintendent Dr. Charles Chandler Jr. said he is confident that the district "can pay this through additional grants in ensuing years," he said.

Director Frank Muccino expressed concern that the district might be stuck with the bill next year, but Chandler said the product is needed.

The software will replace the district's "writing-to-read" program, which Chandler said no longer is being manufactured. "We need to do something," he said.

The administration and others who tested the program are "enthusiastic" about it, Chandler said.

After Director Harve Anderson III asked whether the program would become outdated quickly, Assistant Superintendent Robert J. Nagy said upgrades to the software can be downloaded for free through the Internet.

In other business, Deborah Puglia proposed that board members discuss and perhaps vote on academic requirements for athletes at the agenda meeting.

Puglia said she hoped they could set a higher standard for Belle Vernon Area athletes than the 0.8 grade-point-average required by the state Interscholastic Athletic Association.

"We just want to firm it up," she said.

Puglia said she hoped for a requirement of 6.5 credits for the year, with one credit each in English, math, science and social studies or history. That number is needed for graduation, she said.

Puglia also said she would like to see a C-minus average, or 1.75 GPA, requirement.

She said the board may talk about whether the standard should be applied to other extracurricular activities, such as band.

The board meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. Monday at the administration building.

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