New Castle News


June 7, 2013

Vo-tech budget still in limbo

NEW CASTLE — Now that the practical nursing program is ending, the vo-tech’s director hopes local districts will pass the school’s budget.

“I’m expecting them to pass our budget,” Dr. Andrew Tommelleo said Wednesday night of the Lawrence County Career and Technical Center’s 2013-14 spending plan. “I would be greatly disappointed if they didn’t.”

Two of the eight districts in the county have approved the budget — Neshannock and Laurel. Two others — Shenango and Union — have voted it down. The remaining four — Wilmington, Mohawk, Ellwood City and New Castle — will vote at their June meetings.

If the budget does not pass, the vo-tech school will have to close after June 30. Six of the eight districts must approve the spending plan for it to take effect.

At a special meeting Wednesday, the school’s joint operating committee voted 12-0 to discontinue affiliation with the adult practical nursing program in February.

That decision was prompted after it came to public light in November that the program owes the center more than a half-million dollars in operating expenses and that debt is growing.

The center has been using member school districts’ enrollment money not only to operate the vocational-technical school but prop up the nursing program.

As a result, the vo-tech school owes six of the districts a total of $450,573 in enrollment reimbursements for the 2010-11 school year.

Tommelleo and the center’s joint operating committee members are meeting Friday with representatives of the state auditor general’s office and hope to learn how much is owed to school districts for the 2011-12 school year. Those funds have been tangled up with the nursing program expenses in the budget.

Tommelleo said he expects the center will pay back the districts as funds become available.

He explained he is looking for additional funding, noting the center is starting an adult welding program June 10 as one way to generate new revenue.

At Wednesday’s meeting, the board also cut a full-time secretary in practical nursing, as of June 30.

The decision to close the program came after several of its students pleaded to keep it open.

Tommelleo and board member Robert Curry of New Wilmington both said the school is looking at the possibility of another group running the program.

“We have talked to other schools ... to see if they are interested in taking it over,” Tommelleo said. If that should happen, he envisions the program staying at the school and its new managers paying rent to the vo-tech.

Leroy Cortez, one of the Ellwood City school board’s representatives on the operating committee, blamed Gov. Tom Corbett’s education cuts as a reason for financial woes in public education.

“What we’re seeing in Harrisburg is the actual strangulation of public education.”

State subsidies fund more than half of public education budgets, Cortez said, noting those cuts have prompted Ellwood City and New Wilmington to close schools.

“Just because we’re voting to close (the nursing program) doesn’t mean that’s the end of it,” he said. “We are considering all options.”

He assured the nursing students, “You will graduate and you will be the best nurses out there.”

Curry commented, “Education isn’t free. We’re here to do the most good for the most people. Sometimes that’s not an easy job.”


Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Yauger.jpg Yauger’s Mercer County trial on hold

    A pending criminal trial for the former Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV executive director has been continued again in Mercer County.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Yauger.jpg Yauger now facing federal charge

    With Mercer County court proceedings pending this week, Cecelia Yauger faces federal prosecution for alleged business credit card misuse.

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • school.jpg New Castle board adopts budget despite uncertainty

    The New Castle school board adopted its 2014-15 budget Monday but may have to re-open it next week. The $5.4 million budget, introduced in May, has no tax increase and will not tap into the fund balance. Taxes remain at 17.72 mills.

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Todora.jpg Board, staff bids farewell to superintendent

    Dr. Mary Todora will retire Monday from the Neshannock school district. “I remember eight and a half years ago when Dr. John Dietz (then-board president) called to tell me I got the job. I was thrilled,” Todora said at her final board meeting.

    June 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rich.jpg Vo-tech administrators get bonuses, no raises

    Lawrence County Career and Technical Center administrators will get one-time bonuses instead of raises next year. The joint operating committee approved one-year agreements that would freeze the salaries of director Leonard A. Rich and the principal, head custodian, cafeteria supervisor and computer technician.

    June 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • FrankAloi.jpg Frank Aloi: 50 years of school spirit in Ellwood City

    Frank Aloi is a true Wolverine. Aloi, who turned 73 Friday, spent the past half-century affiliated with the Ellwood City school district and its sports teams.

    June 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • FrankAloi.JPG Frank Aloi Retiring: Ellwood superintendent leaving amid budget woes

    Frank Aloi is retiring next month as Ellwood City’s superintendent of schools. Aloi, a 50-year district employee and its superintendent for nearly 12, submitted his retirement notice to the board during an executive session prior to Thursday’s meeting. His last day is July 16.

    June 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • school.jpg District mulls building sale options

    The New Castle school district is considering selling its three recently closed buildings through a sealed bid process.

    June 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Perfect.jpg Your Education: Shenango grad never missed a day

    They say nobody’s perfect. But for 13 years, Jenna DiGiammarino certainly was. When Jenna left last night’s commencement ceremonies at Shenango High School, she did so not only with a diploma in hand, but also with a flawless record of attendance dating back to Day One of kindergarten.

    June 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • 03.jpg Photo Gallery, Story: Three New Castle schools close today for good

    Today is bittersweet for New Castle Area School District elementary students and teachers. Three buildings packed with history as longtime learning institutions are closing their doors for good.

    June 5, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads

Have you held or will you hold a garage/yard sale this year?

I have and it was a success! It's a great way to get rid of some junk and make a little extra pocket money.
I have, but it didn't go over so well. Better luck next time?
I haven't yet, but I plan to.
I haven't and I don't plan to. It's not for me.
     View Results