New Castle News

TOP STORIES

February 8, 2013

Public, school officials comment on charter idea

NEW CASTLE — A New Castle music teacher said he sees an arts-infused charter school in the city as “unnecessary and redundant.”

John Onufrak, New Castle school district’s music department chairman, was among those who offered comments, pro and con, about the New Castle Arts Academy Charter School proposed for the downtown.

The school board conducted the second part of a public hearing for the charter school application Wednesday, when several administrators also posed pointed questions about special education concerns and asked why paraprofessionals to aid special needs students were not detailed in the plans. They also asked about budgeting for a school nurse and a guidance counselor, and they drilled charter school representatives about assessment scoring.

Board members Barb Razzano, David DiGiammarino and Allan Joseph did not attend the session.

Onufrak pointed out the New Castle district requires arts for every student from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. At George Washington — housing grades four, five and six — every student must take general music, art and choir, he said.

And because the optimal level to begin learning a band instrument is fourth grade, he said, instrumental music can be elected, and the district has 152 participants.

District arts teachers also attend opera workshops and take students to see operas in Pittsburgh, Onufrak said.

He added the district offers 22 elective arts courses for high school students.

“We feel our curriculum provides the arts to our students in an exemplary way,” Onufrak said.

David Schuler of 1024 Williams St. said he has misgivings about a charter school, because it would pull money from the district.

He said he has heard comments from charter school proponents about “how this will be paid for or assigned later,” regarding questions from the board about what is and is not in the proposed budget in the application.

“If I was applying for a job, I wouldn’t say, ‘I’ll get a license after you hire me,’” Schuler said, emphasizing the school board has to have access to the information ahead of time.

“I don’t find the answers reassuring,” he added, regarding the hiring of a nurse or guidance counselor or about how the arts-infused curriculum would be developed after the school gets its charter.

Shelly DePaolo of Shenango Township said she believes the charter school would suit one of her children.

“I’m a big proponent of the public school, but there need to be other choices for these children who don’t fit into the public school.”

Cindy Biddle, a downtown business owner, said that after hearing the charter school’s presentation, “I was sold. I feel that charter school or public school is an option we need to make.”

Biddle is listed as a member of the proposed charter school’s advisory board.

After hearing the school’s presentation, Terence Meehan, assistant to the superintendent, commented, “I still fail to see the art infusement here. It just says ‘multiple lessons.’”

The school’s application “needs to say how this art is going to be infused,” Meehan said.

Debra Rice, a founder of the charter school, said it would contract with an organization called Art Integration Solutions to work with the teachers on professional development and “they will be the people to teach the art integration.”

“I believe they should have been part of the planning process up to this point,” Meehan countered.

(Email: dwachter@ncnewsonline.com)

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
TOP STORIES
  • StateFair.jpg 'State Fair' coming to Playhouse

    The fair is coming to town. No, not the Lawrence County Fair, although that is right around the corner. This is the Iowa State Fair, and it will be live on the stage of the New Castle Playhouse for three weeks, starting Friday night.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • accountant.jpg DeLorenzo’s status with authority unchanged

    Deno DeLorenzo’s status as a contract employee with the New Castle Sanitation Authority remains unchanged. Authority board members met with DeLorenzo last week regarding an investigation by the Lawrence County district attorney’s office involving Shenango Township funds.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shooting.jpg Detroit area man dies in Ellwood City gunfire

    A triple shooting in an Ellwood City street has claimed the life of a Detroit area man. Gunfire erupted in the middle of Loop Street outside the Walnut Ridge housing project around 10:20 p.m. Sunday, according to state police.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Baptism1.jpg Dipped downtown

    John the Baptist identified himself as “the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’ ” On Saturday, local evangelist Randy Crum once again took a cue from the son of Elizabeth and Zechariah, eschewing the locusts and honey that John was known to munch on but heading out into the wilds to baptize believers and challenge them to share their faith with their community.

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • lamancusa.jpg Tanner, district attorney: No comment

    The Lawrence County District Attorney is keeping mum about a probe into finances in Shenango Township. “We don’t talk about ongoing investigations,” Lamancusa said Friday.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo 5 Stories

  • Shenango1.jpg Shenango Township: Supervisors fire Tanner, release DeLorenzo

    The Shenango supervisors fired township secretary/treasurer Brian Tanner and terminated auditor and consultant Deno DeLorenzo last night.

    July 18, 2014 3 Photos 4 Stories

  • gavel.jpg Shenango to take action on Tanner, DeLorenzo

    Shenango’s supervisors will act Thursday night on the employment contracts of two men being investigated for possible theft of township funds.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo 4 Stories

  • money.jpg Shenango computers, financial papers seized

    Investigators have seized computers and a host of financial paperwork from the Shenango Township Municipal Building.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo 3 Stories

  • money.jpg Second warrant issued in Shenango Township finances probe

    The home office of Shenango Township’s secretary/treasurer is the subject of a search warrant. A warrant was approved allowing investigators from the Lawrence County district attorney’s office to search Brian Tanner’s home office at 658 Melody Lane Extension in Shenango and seize all computers and computer records.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

  • Our Opinion: Who’s watching the money in Shenango Township?

    The Shenango Township supervisors have some explaining to do. And that’s putting it mildly.

    July 15, 2014 1 Story

House Ads
Poll

The film "Into the Storm," about a devastating tornado, opens nationally Aug. 1. What's your favorite storm movie?

Twister
The Day After Tomorrow
The Perfect Storm
Sharknado
     View Results