New Castle News

June 15, 2012

Union board hears plea to save position

Lugene Hudson
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — A proposal to cut an instructor and program caused concern with one visitor to Union Area School Board’s work session this week.

The position of family consumer science instructor has been held by Jodi Pardick. In light of budget restraints, it has been proposed that Pardick’s job and the class be eliminated, saving the district $75,000.

The school board in May introduced the district’s $10.4 million 2012-13 budget that calls for no tax increase. The board will  vote on the spending plan at next week’s regular board meeting.

The district plans include the furlough of two teachers aides.

Township homeowner and longtime resident Carole Iwanejko objected to the elimination of Pardick’s position, calling the course an imperative subject. She asked the board to reconsider, and she read from a letter she sent to board president John Bertolino.

“I believe strongly that this class is an essential part of the education of our children and their development as responsible citizens,” Iwanejko read, adding children today must have the know-how and practical knowledge of day-to-day living.

“Parents are time-starved and, as a result, our children suffer. Students today really need this kind of preparation for leaving high school and becoming an adult.”

Iwanejko pointed out the class teaches not only cooking and sewing skills, but also finances and balancing a checkbook, nutrition, how to buy a car and get a loan, interviewing and writing a resume.

She suggested the board look at other ways to cut costs such as not resurfacing the track or not purchasing a new van, which are budgeted items.

Superintendent Dr. Alfonso A. “Butch” Angelucci commented that decisions to cut positions are never easy.

“It’s not something the board likes or wants to do,” he said. “It took hours and hours of discussion and was not a snap decision.”

He indicated that work on the track had been put off for several years and it needs to be useable for students and the community.

The van will be used to transport special education students and is a cost-saving measure, Angelucci continued, noting it is less expensive than contracting services the district has been utilizing.

A petition addressed to John Bertolino is circulating on  Facebook to try to prevent Pardick’s class from being removed from the curriculum. The comments there refer to Pardick’s teaching skills and the importance of growth and development that the class provides.

So far, more than 260 people have signed the petition.

West Washington Street resident Stacey Biondi, who did not attend the meeting, said she opposes cutting anything that represents educational value.

“This class provides what students need for everyday life,” Biondi said.

Randi Daugherty of Scotland Lane, a 1989 Union graduate, also believes the cut is unnecessary.

“I took the class and it teaches day-to-day basics and is more than just a replacement for home economics,” Daugherty explained. “We rely on the school to teach our children the basics of living in the real world.”