New Castle News

Schools

June 17, 2013

Vo-tech budget an issue for interim director

NEW CASTLE — The first order of business for the new vo-tech school interim director may be to address the 2013-14 budget.

The Lawrence County Career and Technical Center’s spending plan must be passed by at least six school boards in the county and a majority of the 72 members on the eight school boards in the county must vote yes. The deadline is June 30.

Otherwise, the center would have to cease operations after June 30, which is the end of the fiscal year.

On Thursday, the center’s joint operating committee appointed Domenic J. Ionta as interim director, following the resignation of Dr. Andrew J. Tommelleo. The change comes in the midst of financial turmoil at the vo-tech school.

The school districts’ share of the center’s $6.8 million budget is $4,750,356, based on their estimated student enrollments for next year.

The New Castle, Ellwood City, Neshannock and Laurel districts have approved the vo-tech budget. Union and Shenango have rejected it, and the Mohawk and Wilmington boards plan to vote at today’s meetings.

The Ellwood City board approved the budget 7-0 Thursday. New Castle unanimously approved it Wednesday.

While some districts, such as Ellwood City and New Castle, are content the adult practical nursing program and its expenses no longer will be affiliated with the center after February, other districts are still concerned about the money the vo-tech owes them for enrollment differences, and the per-pupil cost to send their students there next year.

The center owes the districts $450,572 in refunds for the 2010-11 school year for differences between projected and actual enrollment.

Despite multiple requests for the amounts owed for the 2011-12 school year, center officials have not provided them.

The center had been using the districts’ operating funds to subsidize the nursing program when it fell a half-million dollars into debt to the center.

Tommelleo had said last week he would provide the 2011-12 refund figures, but did not. The records were requested of superintendent of record, Dr. Alfonso Angelucci, Thursday night, and he said he would direct the assistant business manager to provide them. As of Friday afternoon, they had not been provided.

David DiGiammarino, committee member and New Castle school board president, said he has not received the figures and expects they will be presented to the joint operating committee at its meeting Thursday.

By that time, the districts all will have voted on their 2013-14 budgets and the proposed vo-tech budget.

“That’s part of the whole problem,” Union school board member John Bertolino commented Friday.

He said that at Union’s meeting Wednesday, there was no discussion about reconsidering its earlier vote rejecting the budget.

Bertolino had said he does not agree with such a high per-pupil cost.

The vo-tech’s 2013-14 budget is based on a per-pupil cost of $12,339, which was based on a projected enrollment of 385 students.

DiGiammarino said after a New Castle board meeting last week that he had voted for the center’s budget with the students in mind, to keep the school from closing.

Likewise, Leroy Cortez of Ellwood City, a member of the joint operating committee, said Friday he has not been given the 2011-12 reimbursement figures either, but he encouraged the Ellwood board to adopt the center’s budget to avoid what had happened two years ago — the school closed for the summer because not enough of the member districts had approved the spending plan.

“At least, with resignation of the director, we are now able to make a turn and head in the other direction,” Cortez said, adding he foresees a lot of changes for the 2014-15 school year.

“My goal is to provide vocational education for students of Lawrence County,” he said. “We’ve made one right decision, but there is a lot of work to be done to keep that school open. From my point in Ellwood City, we’re going to do everything we can to do that.”

(Email: dwachter@ncnewsonline.com)

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Schools
  • 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
Poll

Are you concerned enough about the Heartbleed bug on the Internet to change all of your social media and website passwords?

Yes. It’s always a good idea to change passwords regularly anyway. I just have so many, I’m not sure where to start.
No. From what I’ve read, companies are still trying to figure out how to fix the flaw. The bad guys will just have access to my NEW passwords, too.
Not sure, but I blame Al Gore. He invented the Internet, right? How’s he going to get us out of this mess?
     View Results