Category: Armstrong School District

Bids Opened for New Riverhawks Uniforms

Armstrong School District administrative secretary Susan Ferguson makes a note to Kittanning Senior High Principal James Rummel as he reviews a bid for production of the new Armstrong Riverhawks athletic uniforms.

By Jonathan Weaver

A Texas-based company submitted the lowest total bid to produce the new Armstrong Riverhawks athletic uniforms for the 2014-15 school year.

So that uniforms would be available in-time for the fall 2014 sports season, Kittanning Junior High Principal Kirk Lorigan, Ford City Junior/Senior High Principal Michael Cominos, Kittanning Senior High Principal James Rummel and administrative staff opened bids for the uniforms yesterday afternoon at the district administration office on the West Hills school complex.

BSN Sports – based in Farmer’s Branch, Texas, but with a regional office and sales representative in Collier Township (Allegheny County) bid the lowest at slightly more than $83,600.

Century Sports of McMurray (Washington County), slightly more than $103,100 after a discounted rate and Pacific Athletic Wear, based in Costa Mesa, Calif., bid more than $103, 250.

The three bidders who successfully bid were bidding to manufacture uniforms for nearly 30 district sports teams between the junior high and varsity level – including more than a dozen total in the fall season.

“I was surprised there were only three that bid on all of it, to be honest – I thought there would be more – but overall, the bid came in lower than we were anticipating, so we’re actually very happy with that, Rummel said.

“(BSN Sports) has a very good reputation as one of the biggest suppliers of Nike merchandise,” Rummel said.

Administrators projected the equipment would cost about $100,000.

Although four other companies submitted bids, specifications indicated they were only to manufacture uniforms for certain teams, such as swimming, girls` tennis or cheerleading – a violation of the bid requirements.

“When you can bid on the entire athletics, they can give it to you at bulk-rate: cheaper price – that’s why we decided to go that route,” Rummel said. “If we did that each sport individually, I guarantee you (the final cost) would’ve been a lot more than (BSN’s total bid).”

A bid was also disqualified since the company substituted material from Under Armor rather than Nike. In June, Rummel announced plans to utilize the patented-swoosh material.

“We thoroughly previewed a lot of different uniforms and that’s what we came up with. The quality, the price, everything worked out well with that,” Rummel said. “If (the price for the disqualified bid) had been significantly-less, we certainly would have looked at it, maybe even got some samples in it, but we’re happy to go with the Nike – that’s what we wanted.”

Rummel also showed examples of both custom and stock uniforms to school board directors at the open caucus session, and projected that a cost-savings based on some stock uniforms would allow for the purchase of junior-high uniforms.

Custom-made items will be shipped within 120 days of the order, whereas stock items delivered within 90 days, Cominos said.

“We’ll work with their representative on that closely,” Rummel said.

Administrators are not currently looking to add any additional sports teams.

“We’re not adding any sports we don’t already have – I have boys` volleyball but through a co-op through the two schools (as well as) girls’ soccer, boys’ soccer – this is just what we have,” Cominos said.

Ford City High is also represented with a solo gymnast (who has her own coach and buys her own uniform), as well as a female lacrosse player who competes in Indiana, Pa.

The proposals and a recommendation will all be submitted to Armstrong School District board directors at their August meeting.

A committee will be formed later this school year to decide what to do with Kittanning and Ford City memorabilia. Other equipment might be able to be refurbished as well.

Band uniforms should be completed in early-2015, according to Cominos.

School Superintendent Stan Chapp noted that depending on funds, marching band uniforms for WSHS will possibly be reviewed for the 2015-2016 school year.

Local School Budgets Receive Funding Spike

Senator White speaking before school board members (KP File Photo)

School districts in Armstrong and Indiana Counties – as well as across the state – will see increases in state support for the upcoming school year under the Fiscal Year 2014-15 budget recently signed into law, according to Senator Don White.

Overall, House Bill 2328 – which was approved by Governor Tom Corbett two weeks ago – allocates more than $10 billion in state funding for support of Pennsylvania’s public schools. This represents an increase of $305 million over last year – the highest amount in Commonwealth history. The final vote by the Senate passed 26-24.

“This was a very difficult budget year as we faced lackluster revenues and steep increases in pension and service costs,” Senator White said. “In spite of that, I am pleased we were able to provide additional funding for local school districts. Special education funding had not been increased for several years and the Ready to Learn program provides some flexibility for school districts to invest the state money in areas that show demonstrated positive results in helping students to succeed.

Armstrong School District especially will see the largest increase across the nearly-20 regional school districts – nearly $500,000 toward special education and Ready to Learn Block Grant funding that supports programs and services to increase student achievement.

Schools can use their Ready to Learn Block Grant funding to enhance learning opportunities for students through initiatives, such as ensuring that all students are academically performing at grade level by third grade in both reading and math, supplemental instruction in biology, English language arts and algebra I and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education, among others.

Armstrong School District now receives more than $33.5 million in special education, Basic Education and Ready to Learn funding.

Senator White cautioned taxpayers that this funding lift may not last forever, but that this is a start.

“The vast majority of the school districts I represent continue to experience declining enrollments, meaning the 2014-15 budget provides them with more funds to educate fewer students,” Senator White continued. “They will all receive increases in overall state funding complements of the Pennsylvania taxpayer. However, I continue to caution all the districts I represent that this approach may not last forever. Pressure continues to mount in an effort to change the way Pennsylvania funds their schools to a per-pupil formula. Nevertheless, I will fight hard to ensure the districts I represent are not financially-harmed because of declining enrollment.”

The budget also provides $1.05 billion for special education, an increase of $20 million – the first increase in six years. This additional funding will be distributed to schools based on categories of support for students with disabilities as outlined by the Special Education Funding Commission.

Apollo-Ridge, Freeport and Leechburg Area School Districts in Armstrong County also received funding increases in special education and Ready to Learn funding, but all received less than $135,000.