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Kiski Area: 'Green' certification not worth greenbacks

Brian C. Rittmeyer
| Thursday, June 16, 2011

Kiski Area School Board is considering not pursuing formal certification that its elementary schools will be environmentally sound, or "green," after an upcoming building project.

The board is expected next week to direct the district's architect not to seek "LEED" certification on the project. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

Certification is done by the U.S. Green Building Council, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C.

Certification means a building conforms to extensive environmental standards.

While not pursuing the certification, Superintendent John Meighan said the district would use as many "green building" principles as the district's budget will permit.

Pursuing the certification would add cost to the project, but district officials could not say how much.

"Just to have a certificate on the wall costs us extra money," board President Robert Keibler said.

Keibler noted that the district's architect, Jay Johnston, of Canzian/Johnston & Associates, is LEED certified.

Board member Keith Blayden said the cost of the certification would be "excessive."

"It's nice to have," Blayden said. "It doesn't really save you money."

The elementary building plan approved by the board calls for closing three of the district's seven elementary schools — Bell-Avon, Laurel Point and Washington — and turning North Washington Elementary into a school for all fifth- and sixth-graders.

Allegheny-Hyde Park, Mamont and Vandergrift would each house kindergarten through fourth grade.

Pay freeze talks

District officials continue to discuss a wage concession agreement with its teachers union, a week before the school board is scheduled to vote on the budget.

"We are having fruitful, continuing discussions," Keibler said.

Union officials have said their desire to extend the teachers' contract by one year as part of a wage freeze agreement has been a sticking point.

Meighan has said if teachers accept a pay freeze for the 2011-12 school year, it could eliminate a number of the eight teacher furloughs the board has already approved.

The board also furloughed two administrators.

Meighan and other administrators agreed to take a pay freeze and presented that offer to the school board, but it was not included in the district's $50.4 million preliminary budget.

The offer is still on the table, Meighan said.

No tax increase is included in the proposed spending plan.

Additional Information:

Coming up

Who: Kiski Area School Board

What: Budget adoption

When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Administration center board room, Hyde Park Road, Allegheny Township

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