New Castle News


February 21, 2013

New Castle Schools: Board looks at consolidation, youngest students

NEW CASTLE — Moving forward on school consolidation without disturbing elementary students is a prime concern of the New Castle school district.

Stanley Magusiak, interim superintendent, this week asked board members what direction they wish to go regarding consolidation and closing buildings. Another public work session has been set for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Croton administration building.

“We’ve all heard rumors,” Magusiak said. “But this is the first time the details have been discussed by the school board.”

He acknowledged “there are a lot of questions.”

Charles Sapienza, district solicitor, outlined procedures required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to close buildings. This includes conducting a public hearing and waiting 90 days before taking action. Sapienza said the timeline could require the district to delay the start of the 2013-14 school year until Sept. 3.

Sapienza also outlined procedures to be followed to furlough teachers and support staff if three of the city’s elementary buildings are closed.

Administrators said they do not yet know how many employees can expect to be furloughed.

Magusiak said administrators will meet with union officials and determine procedures to be followed for those being displaced by school closings.

“We want to be as fair as possible,” board member Mary Ann Tofel said.

 “Seniority will rule the day,” Sapienza said, although other factors that could come into play include dual certification.

The primary center will accommodate children in kindergarten, first and second grades.

Magusiak said third-graders will relocate to George Washington Intermediate Elementary School, which now houses students in grades four, five and six.

He anticipates keeping the third-graders in 10 classrooms on the first floor, away from the older students.

Joe Ambrosini, district business manager, presented board members with a “wish list” of improvements to be made to the intermediate building. Figures, he said, will be provided Tuesday.

Board members also discussed other options, one of which included keeping John F. Kennedy Primary Center on Highland Avenue open. If that is done, board member Allen Joseph noted, Americans with Disabilities Act compliance becomes an issue. He said improvements must be made to bring the building into compliance.

Ambrosini this week also offered the board its first look at the $43 million 2013-14 budget.

If the consolidation does not take place, if there are no teacher layoffs and if all raises, health benefits and retirement obligations remain, he said, the district can expect a $491,000 deficit. However, he pointed out the district has a $14.9 million surplus that could be tapped.

Ambrosini said many questions must be resolved before the budget is completed. The district has until May to put the spending plan on display before final action is taken in June.


Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • money.jpg Up through the ground comes education cash

    Democrats running for governor seem to be competing to convince voters they will dip deepest into the pockets of gas drillers to replace $1 billion that Gov. Tom Corbett has cut from education spending.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • school.jpg Charter school petitions court with signatures

    The New Castle Arts Academy Charter School has petitioned the Lawrence County Court of Common Pleas for an appeal.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • money.jpg Schools wait years to receive state’s share of construction bills

    More than 200 school building projects are awaiting money from the state — in some cases months and years after they cleared all other hurdles of Pennsylvania’s approval process.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Vo-tech staffers receive Pride and Promise awards

    The Lawrence County Career and Technical Center’s joint operating committee has presented Pride and Promise awards to two employees.

    April 1, 2014

  • Rich.jpg Official sorting out vo-tech finances

    Second of two parts: The Lawrence County Career and Technical Center is plowing through a financial quagmire with help from the Laurel School District.

    March 27, 2014 1 Photo 3 Stories

  • Rich.jpg Overtime pay the crux of vo-tech forensic audit

    First of two parts: Lawrence County Career and Technical Center’s former assistant business manager allegedly logged overtime while on vacation, an audit report shows.

    March 26, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

  • Audit report details alleged discrepancies

    Forensic auditors examining Lawrence County’s vocational-technical school funds focused on overtime pay of the assistant business manager.

    March 26, 2014 1 Story

  • Audit shows more than overtime issues

    A forensic audit of the Lawrence County Career and Technical Center finances turned up more than alleged unauthorized overtime pay.

    March 26, 2014

  • Letter.jpg Our Opinion: Recording executive sessions will limit abuse

    Whenever governing bodies have public meetings, they often opt to conduct executive sessions.This is perfectly legal under Pennsylvania law — so long as the basic purpose for the executive session is explained to the public and so long as officials refrain from discussing matters in private that are required to be addressed in the open.

    March 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • State sponsoring dog license poster contest

    The state Department of Agriculture is inviting  students to enter a poster contest about the importance of dog licensing. The contest is open to all Pennsylvania students of grades 1 through 6, enrolled in public, private or home schooled children. The entry deadline is April 30.

    March 20, 2014

House Ads

When will you start mowing your grass?

Been there, done that
Probably this week
Not until May
You mean, when will I HIRE someone to mow my grass?
     View Results