New Castle News

June 4, 2013

Practical nursing students start Facebook page

Debbie Wachter
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Students in the Lawrence County Career and Technical Center’s practical nursing program say they want to be able to graduate.

They are asking the joint operating committee to consider keeping the program open, at least until they have a chance to finish the months they have left in their course.

The students have signed on to a Facebook page to make their desires known. Some indicated they plan to attend the committee’s special meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the vo-tech school library on Phelps Way.

The committee is faced with possibly making cuts in the adult practical nursing program or closing it, after declining enrollment and retention has contributed to a budget deficit of more than a half-million dollars.

As a result, the school has been relying on funds from member districts to pay expenses, and owes nearly $500,000 to those districts in reimbursements.

Two weeks ago, the New Castle school board resolved that in order to approve the career and technical center’s 2013-14 budget, the nursing program would have to go. Talks at that meeting focused on ending it when the existing classes graduate.

The Facebook page was created by practical nursing student Brianne LaScola, with an introduction that reads: “I am creating this group to get the word out about the possible closing of the PN program at LCCTC. If they vote to close, there are current students that will not be able to finish out the months they have left, teachers out of a job and the county that will have a drop in LPNs.”

The page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/groups/467392526680064/.

The vo-tech school needs the approval of at least six of the eight member districts in order to pass its 2013-14 budget by June 28.

So far, only two — Laurel and Neshannock — have approved it. Shenango and Union have rejected the budget, and Wilmington, Mohawk, New Castle and Ellwood City are planning to discuss the center’s budget further at their meetings this month.

One Union school board member said a concern of that board also is the high cost per student that each district will have to pay for 2013-14.

The center’s estimated per-pupil cost is $12,339, including debt service and special education, based on an estimated 385 students enrolled. That amount applies to all districts sending students to the center.

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