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Kiski Area football field funding debated

| Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2009

Kiski Area School District Superintendent John Meighan on Monday stressed that the focus of the Kiski Area Education Foundation will remain on education.

Meighan's comments were made a few days after he had noted the nonprofit foundation could assist in raising money for a potential artificial turf football field.

Meighan said the foundation could act as a liaison between the school district and alumni, particularly those who participated in athletics and may be interested in donating money to improve Kiski Area's athletic facilities.

Meighan said the bulk of the foundation's fundraising, including all money raised through the district employee campaign, would continue to benefit academic ventures such as scholarships, mini-grants and a proposed professional-in-residence program.

School officials have said they'd be interested in installing an artificial turf field if they could get enough donations to pay for it. The field alone is estimated to cost between $600,000 and $900,000.

If the district opted to install the field at the high school complex rather than upgrade Davis Field in Vandergrift, the cost could climb to $4 million.

Monika McKillop of Washington Township, a former board member, asked the board to devise a long-range plan for district athletic facilities before making a final decision on the turf.

She encouraged them to consider building the sports facility at the high school to allow for more school-related activities. She said it could include upgrades such as a better track, concession stand and restrooms.

McKillop said if any money is spent, it should be enough to meet long-term needs.

"Let's do it right," she said.

Board Vice President Keith Blayden said the issue, along with track and tennis court improvements, would be discussed at the next student activities committee meeting at 6 p.m. Jan. 6.

In other business:

• The board agreed to reimburse former board member Patrick Leyland $1,911 for expenses he incurred while serving the board from 2006 to 2009.

Leyland said the money would cover meals and travel costs he incurred while attending conferences and workshops.

The board's solicitor has said the expenses were legitimate, but the board may draft a policy requiring board members to submit reimbursement requests during the fiscal year in which they are incurred to prevent accounting problems.

• The board agreed to allow the new high school Principal Chad Roland to transfer 40 sick days from Burrell School District to Kiski Area.

Roland, 33, of Oklahoma, started in Kiski Area earlier this month. He last worked as an assistant principal at Burrell High School.

Board member Ron Ferrara said Kiski Area would be required to transfer at least 25 sick days under state law.

The transfer was approved 7-1 with Benjamin Silvestri voting against it. Board President Robert Keibler was absent.

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