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The Union Area School District School Board awarded May's Pride and Promise Award to 15 cafeteria workers and bus drivers during its Wednesday meeting for their service during the school closure due to COVID-19.

"You're making a massive difference in the lives of so many kids in this school district that if you wouldn't have stepped up and helped out the way you've done, we would have missed out on, I think at this point if we're doing 500 meals a day, almost tens of thousands of meals for kids," said Superintendent Michael Ross. "You talk about being impactful and that's it."

Lawrence County schools have been closed since March 13 due to an order given by Gov. Tom Wolf to combat the spread of COVID-19.

The need to feed children in the district, though, remained.

"It was without hesitation that you did it," Ross said. "The first day we met, I asked if anyone would be willing to help get these meals to kids and every one of you show up every day, time in and time out at your own risk on some level."

The recipients were: Lillian Blackford, Charles Holtgraver, Deborah Boron, Gary Boron, Robert Palmer, Anthony Croak, Sharlene Shiderly, Michelle Borden, Dannual Forsberg, Doug Phillips, Stephen Vastano, Kim Downing, Christine Prue, Penny Quinn and Carol Surrena.

They all received a certificate and a gift card.

Besides meals, crews have also been delivering other school-related materials such as Chromebooks, musical instruments and art projects, Ross said.

"On behalf of the board, we want to say thank you," said board president Michael Hink.

Hink spoke about how thrilled some of his neighbors were when they received their meals and how accommodating the employees were.

"I really think, you know, that goes a long way in saying what our Union School District is about and the people that we have here," he continued. "Thank you again."

The board also adopted the proposed 2020-2021 fiscal year totaling $12,705,095.

The projected deficit over the next fiscal year is estimated to be around $1.1 million, but with a $200,000 budget reserve, a $900,000 deficit is projected.

A $350,000 loss in local revenue is also projected. 

The district's millage will remain at 14.92 mills.

The proposed or amended budget will be formally adopted on June 24.

In other news:

•The board approved a resolution to reflect a 30-day extension for 2020-2021 real estate taxes to discount, face and penalty for one year only, expiring June 30, 2021, due to circumstance relating to COVID-19.

•Jacob Trinca was hired as a secondary English teacher. Michelle Kassi was hired as a life skills special education teacher. Heather Brennaman was hired as a custodian. 

•Sean Lynch's resignation as a day time custodian due to retirement was accepted. It will become effective on Aug. 20.

•The board to approved Sean Lynch, Chad Angiolelli, Anthony Nativio, Dave DeFiore, Ed Krzysik, Heather Brennaman, Cindy Reeves, Raymond Jacobs, Tony Croak, Chuck Holtgraver, Amy Carr, Jackson Miller, Laurie McCullough, Rebecca Black, Alyssa Toy, Stefanie Toy and Michelle Kassi to be summer custodians effective June 1.

•The board approved McKenna Robinson and Hannah Santom from Westminster College to be student teachers for the fall 2020 school year.

•The following resolutions were approved for the 2020-2021 fiscal year: A $5 per person per capita tax on all residents of the district over 18-years-old. A 1 percent tax on wage and net profits earned by every resident of the district. A $5 annual occupational privilege tax to be imposed and levied on each individual engaged in occupation within the corporate limits of the district. A tax of 1 percent on all transfers of real estate.

•Attorney Louis Perrotta will continue to serve as the district's solicitor for the 2020-2021 fiscal year at a rate of $115.00 per hour and no retainer. There is no increase from the prior fiscal year.

•First Commonwealth Bank of PA, Union Township Office, was named as a depository for the funds of the cafeteria, high school activities, athletic, and Letterman’s Club account for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. First Commonwealth Bank was named the depository and treasurer for the general fund and payroll fund accounts for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.

•The board accepted donations from UAAA from July 2019 through May 2020 in the amount of $9,611.56.

•The board approved an agreement between Infocon Corporation and the district for 2020 tax processing services.

•The board approved an extension renewal with The Nutrition Group, Inc. effective July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021, due to COVID-19. The 2020-2021 cafeteria fund budget is $4,391.53.

•The board approved the 2020-2021 Homestead/Farmstead Resolution.



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

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