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A former Shenango Area School District board member questioned the current panel's priorities at their regular meeting on Monday.

"I've stayed away as long as I can," Bob Davis said. "I'm not sure where to start, but I think maybe we should start with education. That's why everybody's here. What's happening to the new school?"

Davis, who served on the board for 20 years, came to the board concerned that it is spending money on the recently proposed athletic field and complex while the elementary school has been needing repairs for years.

"Three years ago, you said this place was falling apart, which I agree," Davis said. "Where are you in the planning for a new school?"

The new school would be the next phase after the athletics project was completed, board president Denise Palkovich said.

"The next phase is athletics over education?" Davis asked.

Palkovich mentioned Shenango is the only school in Lawrence County with only one gym.

"Out of the $5 million you've gotten since the loans have been all paid off over the last eight years, let's say, what have you done to the (school) educationally?" Davis asked. "Is it a big fat zero?"

"Probably the same thing you did when you were on the board. I don't know," Palkovich said. "What did you do for education? Did you build the school?"

When Davis was on the board, he said, they agreed that when all of the bills were paid by 2012, they would begin to build a new school.

"You have not saved any money toward a new building," said Davis. "You can't spend every dime that you increased taxes on athletics."

Davis asked how much it will cost the district per year to pay back the funds used for the athletics project.

"You gotta know what it's gonna cost you," Davis said. "You can't tell me you don't know that figure."

 "Your five minutes are up," replied Palkovich.

"You know, I served on this board for 20 years, at no meeting did we stop anybody from talking," Davis said.

In other news:

•A co-op with Ellwood City Area School District for boys and girls soccer was approved. Approximately six boys and six girls will be participating.

•Kara Cutchall was hired as a special education teacher's aide.

•John Dado was hired as a transportation coordinator/grant writer.

•A Students Helping Students Club was approved.

•On Nov. 26, kindergarten classes will hold a Thanksgiving dinner, which will cost the district $250.

•Groups of sixth-graders will visit Inventionland In Pittsburgh on Dec. 3 and 4. The district will pay for transportation.

•Video production students will go to the Pennsylvania School Press Association Conference on Nov. 1 at Point Park University. The district will pay for transportation.


Maria Basileo is a news reporter. She covers Laurel and Shenango school boards and municipal government.

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