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Flexible Instructional Days may be coming to the Union Area School District.

The school board on Wednesday granted the administration permission to apply for the program, which would eliminate the need for make-up days when school is cancelled due to inclement weather or other reasons.

District Superintendent Michael Ross said that Union has Chromebooks available for students in grades 7 to 12 to take home in the event school must be closed.

Students will be able to access their "FID folder" containing all relevant course material. According to Ross, the folders would be available online as well as offline in the event the township loses electricity. For students in lower grades, folders will be given earlier in the week filled with paper assignments.

If approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the district will be able to implement five Flexible Instructional Days for each of the next three school years.

Mohawk, which also supplies Chromebooks for its students, has elected to apply for the program as well.

"I think they're very individualized decisions, but all the superintendents consult each other during potential cancellation days," Ross said.

School also can be cancelled not only because of weather, but also disease or other emergencies like power outages.

Ross says the program will work to complete the necessary instruction hours mandated by the state as well as to keep students on track with lesson plans.

The Public School Code requires grades one to six to have at least 900 hours of instruction, while grades seven to 12 require 990 hours.

A three-year pilot program with public, private and charter schools was conducted before Senate Bill 440 was signed into law July 2 by Gov. Tom Wolf. The legislation took effect 60 days after the signing on Aug. 31.

Applications from districts were due on Sept. 1 but school boards had until Sept. 30 to approve the motion.

The board also:

•Hired Randy DeJohn as an assistant football coach.

•Approved a tax refund for Mary Penwell in the amount of $300.

•Approved an agreement with Reschini Group to report ACA forms for $500.

•Awarded a judicial sale refund to Larry Strickler in the amount of $122.38 due to a voided sale.

•Approved resignations for David Baxter, an elementary custodian, and Delaney Munnal, an elementary art teacher.

•Approved Maria Thomas and Carly Anderson as the coordinators for the Union Volunteers.

•Approved Bryan Sullivan, Heather Kelly and Kimberly Scurlock to become a part of the substitute support staff list.

•Hired Andrea Pagley to be a building substitute in accordance with the Kelly Services Agreement.



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

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