A junior high student walks down the corridor of Mohawk’s new wing, which is accented with school colors.

The Mohawk Area School district will continue its membership in the Pennsylvania School Board Association. 

The board voted 6-1 with Gary Kwolek opposing on Monday to retain its PSBA membership for the 2019-20 school year at the annual cost of $8,809. Kwolek said he believed the contract was too expensive.

Following discussion with superintendent Michael Leitera, the board voted 5-2 with Kwolek and James Capalbo opposing, to contract with PSBA for an administrative regulations manual at the cost of $4,200.

Board members Jonathan Laughner and Stephen Cardella were absent.

Leitera, who with the board and solicitor Jack Seltzer, is reviewing and revising district policies, said continued membership in the organization is essential. He pointed out that PSBA provides training materials for new board members and the information is beneficial to him as it provides guidance and instruction on policies that the board, superintendent or Seltzer deal with rarely.

"State law changes more often than a school district changes its policy book," Leitera said."We must keep up on student discipline, special and readiness index policies and be certain that our school policies align with the school code."

"My first priority as superintendent is to make the school a safe environment for students," Leitera said. "The second is to protect the district from a legal aspect. It's a smart move to have administrative regulations that we can point to on a case by case basis."

He added that established board policies which govern procedures are long-standing and could take months to change if the need arises. Administrative regulation, which are more specific, he said, he can change on his own volition.  

"If (information gleaned) prevents one lawsuit, it is money well spent," said board president James McKim.

District administrators announced Mohawk has received a $7,100 grant through Highmark and are developing anti-bullying programs focusing on seventh- and eighth-graders.

Leitera said the district's buses have been inspected by the Pennsylvania state police, "and passed with flying colors." He commended the drivers and mechanics for their dedication.

He also announced that Phase I of the district's paving program has been completed. He said the paving has been completed around the football stadium, "and it has dressed up the area."

He added that he will be applying for a $20,000 to $25,000 safety grant, this one through the Pennsylvania Department of Education. 

The board also:

•Approved the resignation of secondary special education teacher Carla Krisuk and the resignation of Romney Anderton as middle school student council advisor and the resignation of Lisa DiDesiderio as human resources/payroll/benefits coordinator.

•Approved a family leave request by Courtney Harlan from Aug. 19 to Oct. 18

•Hired Stephanie Presnar as STEAM teacher with art emphasis.

•Continued the district's contract with Lawrence County Drug and Alcohol Commission to for prevention services for the 2019-20 school year for $2,185.

•Approved an agreement with the Beaver Valley Intermediate Unit for special education services for one student for the upcoming school year for $39,800.

•Approved a day student education agreement with Glade Run Lutheran Services.

•Agreed to solicit bids for fuel/gasoline for the 2019-20 school year.


Nancy Lowry is a reporter at the New Castle News. Email her at

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