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Several special ed classes cut; 12 instructors furloughed

Published March 10. 2011 05:00PM

The Schuylkill Intermediate Unit 29 School Board cut a number of special education classes due to reduction of services requested by school district members and furloughed 12 instructors in action taken at its monthly meeting held at the Maple Avenue Campus in Norwegian Township.

Eliminated were three emotional support classses and three life skills support classes in the elementary and secondary schools. The board also curtailed the Operation Plus and Council House programs and furloughed following staff members, Debra Forney, Heather Haupt, Jennifer Reeves, Gloria Noecker, Jessica Albon, Sherri Meiser, Lori Horst, Maria Strawhorn, Anne Grabowski, Michael Stock, Daniel Scheuer and Kristin Prokop. Also furloughed was Lary Lightfoot, school psychologist. A number of school districts have started their own special education classes.

The board authorized the transfer of all STC special education classes from the Schuylkill Inermediate Unit 29 Special Education Program to the Schuylkill Technology Center Porgram beginning the 2011-2012 school year and is offering employment to all special education teachers assigned to the transfer to be offered employment under terms of the AVTS collective bargaining agreement.

Trisha Fetterhoff, part time teacher at Williams Valley Elementary School resigned; Frank Woodward, administrator of Early Intervention Program; Henry Moyer, special education teacher at Maple Avenue Campus and Melinda Murphy, full-time teacher aide at Pine Grove Area Elementary, are all planning retirement.

The board is seeking to employ a business manager in finance as Charles J. Mannello, CPA, is also retiring. The board also authorized to advertise to offer employment to any properly certified teacher, instructianal aides, Dean of Students and behavioral intervention to staff the Schuylkill Learning Academy Program for the 2011-2012 school year.

Hired were, Regina Sofsky-Casella, Tamaqua, as a permanent substitute special education teacher at the Maple Avenue Campus at $125 per day and Bryan Skosnick, Pottsville, as a permanent substitute Development Intenerant Teacher in the Early Intervention Program at $125 per day.

The board accepted the Technology Integration Mentor grant of $26,000 from the Pennsylvania Department of Education for use to support the Classrooms for Future/21st Centuruy Teacher and Learning Initiative as well as Title IID Enhancing Education through technology instructonal technology coaches by providing regional leadership through visiting schools, hosting local meetings and facilitating regional trainings.

Programs approved for the 2011-2012 school year were, Schuylkill Learning Academy, an alternative education for disruptive youth program for grades Kindergarten through 12th grade which includes academic and behavioral support services for regular education and special education students. Partical hospitalization and day treatment programs will be available as part of the program.

Hired as Home Visitors to provide literacy service which will be paid out of the Youth Service grant were, Kim Sutter, Lisa Silecchia, Nancy Purcell, Michelle Daynorowicz, Donna Allen, Lisa Greenawalt, Michael Maley, Brandon Daynorowicz, Janice Bevan and Linda Lazar at $25 per hour for 300 hours and Barbara Naadko, administrator, at $30 per hour.

The board approved a contract with Conrad Siegel to perform actuarial studies to determine post employee benefits at cost of $7,000; approved a contract with Simplex Grinnel for the annual fire alarm testing and inspection at Maple Avenue Campus at $1,175; approved payment of $312.50 to Mary Ellen Matunis, Shenandoah, for evaluation services provided to the 21st Century Afterschool Program for the Schuylkill Haven Area and Tamaqua Area School Districts.

Ratified a memorandum with American Institute for History Education, L.L.C, Swedesboro, N.J., for the purpose of cooperatively developing a grant proposal for the U.S. Department of Education's Teaching American History Grant.

Dr. Diane M. Niederriter, executive director, reported the three year grant will provide funding in the amount of $1,000,000 for professional development and resources for teachers of history in Schuylkill County.

IU convention

The Intermediate Unit Convention is scheduled for Monday, March 14, in the gymnasium of the Maple Avenue Campus with school board members and supervisors from the 12 public school district which comprise the IU29 invited to attend.

The buffet will start at 6 p.m. and business meeting at 7 p.m. The keynote topic at this year's convention will be "School District Funding -A Conversation with Legislators."

Dr. Williiam Davidson, president of the IU School Board, said it will allow school district board members and administators to engage legislators in dialogue related to school funding. Legislators who announced they wll attend are, State Senator David Argall and State Representatives Jerry Knowles, Neal Goodman and Michael Tobash.

The board accepted a grant through the Schuylkill Community Education Council of $3,783 for equipment in programs of plumbing, collision and repair and health careers. Gary Hummel, Pottsville, was hired as a subsitute custodian at the North Campus, Frackville at $8 per hour. The Schuylkill Technology Center was authorized to operate a "Build a New Future Initiative" to run March 2011 to June 2011 and the cost will be paid by the Northeastern Pennsylvania Labor Management Council.

Kurt Lynch was hired to perform administrative duties with the Building a New Future Initiative Program at $25 per hour beyond the school day. Instructors hired for this program were, Al Wank, Tracy Picht, Phil Kintzel, Dave Hess, Don Stevenson, Frank Rupp, Jessica Albon, Phil Cimino, Tim McGinley, Hugh Dougherty, Elizabeth Worthy and Joseph Delluso at $25 per hour.

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