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Board opens new year, hears gloomy reports

January 24, 2013
By J.T. Whitehouse , Town Crier

The Austintown Board of Education held the first meeting of 2013 and heard reports of what could be coming for Ohio schools this year.

Dr. Tom Stellers, who serves as legislative liaison, reported that changes are coming.

"The largest reforms in school history are coming," he told the audience at Lynn Kirk Elementary School on Tuesday, Jan. 15.

He said the students will be facing more rigorous testing and will be more challenged. Teachers will be facing more job evaluations that 45 other states have already adopted.

His biggest concern was over the district's budget. He said Austintown School District has not received any new tax money since 1996, yet the state has continued to cut state funds going to schools, and Stellers said they may not be done yet.

"Taxpayers and educators alike are concerned about more unfunded mandates," Stellers said. "Funding remains at the forefront [for Austintown]."

During public presentation, it was brought up about how bus drivers had suffered economic loss and also about the district's move to open enrollment.

Superintendent Vince Colaluca replied to the busing issue by saying, "When the state and federal government made cuts, we were charged with making cuts as well without losing any services or programs. Some employees were affected, but the safety of the students was not changed."

On the open enrollment issue, Colaluca said, "We made the decision in 2008 after we asked people for a [new] levy and they said they couldn't afford it. We went with open enrollment and today we have over 600 open enrollment students that bring in $3.5 million."

Board member Harold Porter made it known that he is not in favor of continuing open enrollment. He said all the cars with open enrollment students that come from other communities cause a bigger traffic problem on Idaho Road.

The board approved Austintown schools for open enrollment for 2013-14 school year by a 4-1 vote. Porter casted the no vote.

On another issue, the board approved a bus washing contract for Colleen Murphy in the sum of $6,000 over the next five months. Director of Curriculum Dan Bokesch explained why the contract went to one person.

"Very few ever apply for this," he said. "In fact, we posted it twice and Colleen was the only one to bid. One of the requirements of the contract is that the person must have an Ohio CDL license for buses."

In other business:

David Schnerrenberger was elected as board president for 2013 and Dr. David Ritchie as vice president. Stellers was appointed as legislative liaison and Kathy Mock as student achievement liaison.

The board approved the recommendation to pay the Falcon Pride Online teachers a minimum of $500 per semester should the number of students enrolled for that semester be eight or less.

The board approved authorizing Mal Culp, supervisor of operations and facilities, to complete the demolition bid process on the old AMS building, 5800 Mahoning Ave.

The board approved resignations for the following: Vickie Lucente (food service), Michelle Papp (Fitch teacher and Falcon Pride Online teacher), Christopher Flauto (AMS Blue assistant football coach), Amanda Cleghorn (assistant girls tennis coach), Joseph Carcelli (assistant girls track coach), Janet Booth (crossing guard), and Steven Schwartz (sweeper-cleaner at Fitch).

The following transfers were approved: Jaynth Keevey to paraprofessional at AMS; Arlene Curran to building secretary at Fitch; Cheryl Gennaro to building secretary at AMS; Eileen Farkas to student service secretary at AMS; and Robert Ortiz to sweeper cleaner at Fitch. Margie Melfe was appointed to paraprofessional at Frank Ohl.

Leaves of absences were granted for Nicole Fiddler, John Crow, and Robert Catlin.

The following athletic personnel were approved:

For the 2012-13 school year: head AMS wrestling coach Brian Forgac; Fitch assistant wrestling coach John Burd; AMS Red boys track coach Brian Forgac; AMS Blue boys track coach Paul Cassano; assistant baseball coach Joseph Paris; and AMS assistant wrestling coach Craig Snovak.

For the 2013-14 school year: Assistant football coaches Walter Hurdley and Paul Cassano; head freshman football coach Jeff Gessler; assistant freshmen football coaches Thomas Koniowsky and Andrew Scarmack; head AMS Red football coach Seth Steiner; head AMS Blue football coach John Burd; AMS Red assistant football coaches Brad Clyde and Anthony Parker; AMS Blue assistant football coach Brian Forgac; head boys soccer coach Kenneth Kilpatrick; assistant Fitch girls soccer coach Carlo Trafficante; head girls tennis coach Steven Ward; head Fitch girls cross country coach Amy Diefenderfer; head Fitch boys cross country coach Paul Farr; AMS cross country coaches Robert Lape and John Hudson; AMS eighth-grade volleyball coach Jody Bartlett; AMS seventh-grade volleyball coach Dorothy DelBoccio; head Fitch football coach Phillip Annarella; assistant Fitch football coaches Doug Barnhard, Nico Mancuso, Joseph McMahon, and Alan Mikovich; assistant boys soccer coaches Brian Stiles (Fitch), William Spencer and Edward Stredney; head Fitch girls soccer coach Tex Martin, head Fitch boys golf coach Edward Santor; head Fitch girls golf coach Leonard Gessler; AMS volleyball coaches Alyssa Lanzo (seventh-grade Blue) and Candace Kekic (eighth-grade Blue); head volleyball coach Stephen Mohr; and equipment manager Clarence Campbell.

The following tutors were approved: AMS intervention tutors Jessica Tomic and Nicole Rymer; home instruction tutors Corrine Esenwein, Stephanie Oyster, Stephanie Sanetrick, and Kristin O'Neill; ESL tutor Yvette Gonzalaz.

The following substitutes were approved: (long term) Brittany Hunter and Jessica Uplinger and (non-teaching) Vittorio Rucci-bus driver and Robin Zandarski-food service.

Volunteers James Skok, U.S.M.C. retired (outside door monitor at Watson) and Jake Corbett (baseball at Fitch) were approved.

The board approved the following crossing guards: June Galbraith, Angie Mastroberardino, and Danette Wilkey.

Also approved were Falcon Pride Online teacher and HOPE credit recovery tutor Donna Burnell.

The board set the next meeting for 6 p.m. Feb. 19 at Woodside Elementary.



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