Category: Armstrong School District

Snow Day Make-Ups Puzzling School Officials

Armstrong School District School Superintendent Stan Chapp was hopeful this week will be the last of the cold and snowy weather that would cancel classes and require additional make-up days.

by Jonathan Weaver

While local students might have enjoyed the past eight unscheduled snow days, they are leaving Armstrong School District officials with a jigsaw puzzle to fix.

According to the original school calendar, April 1, 2, 6 and 7, as well as May 22, were the only days characterized as snow make-up days. Students will have to now attend class on those five days, as well as three more to satisfy State requirements, School Superintendent Stan Chapp said.

“At this time of the school year, we typically bring a calendar to the Board to adjust for accumulated school days – but this winter has not been a normal one, and we were afraid if we brought a new one today that it might not be good for very long,” Chapp said. “It doesn’t look good for (this) morning, either.”

Student Transportation Director Jon Fair said administrators can re-arrange some in-service time to allow for classes.

“What we’re looking at doing is keeping March 27 as an in-service half the day – with students attending in the morning so that day would count and April 2 doing the same thing and then that as the clerical day for teachers,” Fair said.

Substitute Assistant Superintendent James Gaggini explained Elementary Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Director Cheryl Soloski hopes to utilize two hours to train teachers after a new reading curriculum was adopted last month.

Chapp said Fair’s idea might also help seniors in the Class of 2015 get on track to graduating as scheduled, but even that is hard to predict. Students might even be scheduled on Saturdays during the remaining three months.

“We’re just not exactly sure where this winter is going to go yet, and we’re even concerned about roads being closed because of flooding. We just don’t know how dangerous those roads are going to be,” Chapp added. “It’s very unusual (but) I think most school districts are in the same boat right now.

“There’s nothing off the table.”

Unless decided by the state legislature, students must complete 180 days of classroom instruction within the school year.
The meeting was led by Board Vice-President Chris Choncek due to President Joseph Close’s absence.

Kittanning Township Elementary Sale Complete

The sale of Kittanning Township Elementary was completed yesterday in the Armstrong County Court of Common Pleas. (KP File Photo)

by Jonathan Weaver

Armstrong School District has now completed its sale of a former elementary school.

Last Fall, school officials voted to sell Kittanning Township Elementary to Tim Fouse Excavating for $88,000.

Monday afternoon, school officials took their case to Armstrong County President Judge Kenneth Valasek.

“The statute under which the school district operates requires the approval of the Court of Common Pleas during a private sale,” Judge Valasek explained.

Solicitor Lee Price represented the school district and asked questions of School Superintendent Stan Chapp – the lone witness during the hearing.

Chapp said it was “absolutely” the best decision to sell the property to Fouse.

The school, currently not used for any school purposes, was closed in June 2012.

School district officials initially sought offers for the property in February 2013. There were two offers quickly received, totaling $50,000 and $65,000 from unknown bidders, respectively, but both were rejected in hopes of receiving a higher price.

For five months, from August to December 2013, the space was leased to a furniture dealer at a final cost of nearly $15,350.

After that lease expired, school district officials again sought sale offers in Spring 2014. An $85,000 offer was received from CWM Environmental, Inc. of Rayburn Township, and that offer was accepted, but later voided after CWM Environmental withdrew their proposal.

In August, three more offers were received, the highest from Fouse at $88,000.

The Armstrong School District will retain mineral rights at the former school.

Fouse, who currently operates his business along Silvis Hollow Road in Kittanning Township, hopes to use the space for storage and to rent offices.

No residents attended the hearing to oppose the sale.

Judge Valasek found all the prerequisites for the sale were satisfied and signed the order

“As soon as he’s ready to go, we’ll be ready to go,” Price concluded. “This was the last thing we had to do.”

The hearing lasted about 10 minutes, but was delayed due to a previously-scheduled private hearing.