Carlynton School District


Committee/Voting Meeting

December 4, 2008

Carlynton Jr.-Sr. High School Library
Immediately following Reorganization Meeting



The Carlynton School District Board of Education conducted its Committee/Voting Meeting on Thursday, December 4, 2008 in the library of the junior-senior high school. Attendance included President Thomas Brown, Vice President Patricia Schirripa, and School Directors Thomas DiPietro, Sandra Hughan, Ronald McCartney, Raymond Walkowiak and Sharon Wilson. Also present was Superintendent Michael Panza, Solicitor Greg Gleason, Pupil Services Director Lee Myford and Principals Jacie Maslyk, Robert Susini and Christopher Very. The audience was comprised of four individuals and one member of the press.



Call to Order - The meeting was called to order by President Brown at 7:52 pm.


Roll callThe roll was called by Recording Secretary Michale Herrmann. Directors Roussos and Tassaro were excused from the meeting.


President Brown thanked everyone for entrusting the position of president to him. He offered comments to thank David Roussos for his commitment and diligence as former board president, thanking him for his time, and thanking his family for the valuable time lost with them while serving as president. President Brown said he will conduct his role as president by following the same principles he practiced while serving in the military – loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor and integrity – and submitted that if the board is guided by these values, they will do right by the community.


approval of minutes:

Director McCartney moved, seconded by Director Hughan, to approve the minutes of the November 20, 2008 Regular Voting Meeting as presented.  On a voice vote, the motion carried 7-0.




  • Executive Session – President Brown stated that school code, contractual, and legal issues were discussed in executive session.
  • Superintendent’s Report – Dr. Panza asked the principals to provide their reports. Each provided a recap of information about news and happenings in their buildings.

Dr. Panza then provided a synopsis of calendar events and upcoming activities, including the following information:

ü      The open records policy will be on next month’s agenda

ü      Jacie Maslyk has received several recent honors

ü      Senior Jared Altomore has been selected to All-East Orchestra

ü      Quite a few students made honor roll at Parkway West CTC

ü      The district will host the SAT on Saturday, December 6

ü      Consortium for diesel fuel; should the district lock into a new proposal or go out on its own? Currently, the district is paying$4.30 per gallon; the AIU is offering the opportunity to lock in at approximately $2.30/gallon

Director McCartney moved, seconded by Director Hughan, to participate in the diesel consortium with the AIU and locking in at a rate of approximately $2.30 per gallon for diesel fuel.  On a voice vote, the motion carried 7-0.


President Brown congratulated all the perfect scorers on the SATs and ACTs, saying the marquee raised his curiosity as to who had achieved perfect scores. It was decided to invite these individuals to the next meeting for recognition.


Director DiPietro said he would like to see a comparison of average scores of those who have taken the SAT Prep Course and those who have not. Dr. Susini said he would provide.

·                     PSBA-Legislative – Director Walkowiak reported that the governor has instituted budget cuts. In addition, a national study has ranked Pennsylvania with a “B” for schools/student preparedness; but gave the state an “F” for the cost to educate.




·         Miscellaneous


Director Wilson moved, seconded by Director Walkowiak, to approve the following Conference and Field Trip Requests as submitted, following review by administration:

§   FT…L.Talotta…PPG Place…Ice Rink…12/11

§   FT…L.Talotta…Local Stores…Out-based Learning…12/15

§   C…R.Susini…Embassy Suites…Scheduling Workshop…1/7-9

§   C…L.Talotta…PATTAN…PASA Workshop…1/14

§   C…L.Rowley…Sheraton SS…Federal Programs Mtg…1/26-28

§   C…S. M-Kosko…Sheraton SS…Federal Programs Mtg…1/26-29

§   FT…R.Harey…Heinz History Ctr…History Trip…05/26 (Miscellaneous Item #1208-1 REVISED)  On a voice vote, the motion carried 7-0.

·         Finance


The following five items were voted upon in one motion:


Director Walkowiak moved, seconded by Director Schirripa, to approve a Rosslyn Farms Real Estate Tax Refund as presented; (Finance Item #1208-1)


To award the bid for the District Energy Management System to Fit Optimized Solutions at a cost of $16,999;  (Finance Item #1208-2)


To award the bid for a Turf Tender to E. H. Griffith, Inc. at a cost of $13,320.30;  (Finance Item #1208-3)


To submit a Request for Proposal for a District Fiber RWAN in conjunction with the Allegheny Intermediate Unit as presented;  (Finance Item #1208-4)

Dr. Panza said a couple changes will be made on the RFP: the date of submission will be backed up to January 14, the meeting on December 22 will be mandatory, and bids will be accepted on a 3, 4, and 5 year level. Director Schirripa, who noted that the project name has since been renamed to “Allegheny Connect,” asked for the contract to include that all work be ready by July 1. Director Hughan asked if any overlap will occur with Comcast and was told by Dr. Panza that the contract with Comcast will end prior to awarding a new contract, but Comcast can bid.


And to approve the October 2009 Cafeteria Report as submitted by Aramark Educational Services.  (Finance Item #1208-5)  On a ROLL CALL VOTE, the motion carried 7-0.


Director Walkowiak moved, seconded by Director Schirripa, to approve the payment of a bill for the athletic department.

Prior to voting, Director DiPietro asked for clarification. Dr. Panza explained the motion was for payment of $81 for a student who worked three volleyball games prior to “officially” learning students will no longer be compensated for working athletic events.

On a ROLL CALL VOTE, the motion failed 2-5, with Directors Brown, DiPietro, Hughan, McCartney and Schirripa voting NO.


·         Personnel


Director McCartney moved, seconded by Director Hughan, to approve Christine Trombetta as Cafeteria Cook, effective November 17, 2008, under the terms and conditions of the Secretarial/Cafeteria/Aides Collective Bargaining Unit Agreement. (Personnel Item #1208-1) On a voice vote, the motion carried 7-0.


Director McCartney moved, seconded by Director DiPietro, to approve Rachel Foltz as a substitute after-school tutor for the Keys to Success program. (Personnel Item #1208-2)  On a voice vote, the motion carried 7-0.


Director McCartney moved, seconded by Director Wilson, to approve the addition to the Supplemental Activities Contract List as presented:

§         Rena Taylor – Auditorium Manager

      (Personnel Item #1208-3) 

      On a voice vote, the motion carried 7-0.


Director McCartney moved, seconded by Director Walkowiak, to approve the letter of intent to retire for elementary teacher Susan Holzer, effective at the conclusion of the work day of February 20, 2009, under the terms of the collective bargaining unit agreement.  (Personnel Item #1208-4)  On a voice vote, the motion carried 7-0.

Board members wished Mrs. Holzer the very best.


·         Policy


Director McCartney moved, seconded by Director Wilson, to approve the revisions to Policy No. 249 – the Bullying and Harassment Policy, as recommended by the solicitor. (Policy Item #1208-1)  On a voice vote, the motion carried 7-0.


Dr. Panza said that all three principals have been asked to visit classrooms to review the revised bullying/harassment policy with students and noted that the policy will be posted in every classroom.

Director McCartney moved, seconded by Director Wilson, to approve and adopt the proposed Nepotism Policy, as submitted by administration.  (Policy Item #1208-2)  On a voice vote, the motion carried 7-0.

Director Hughan said she had a concern with the policy, asking what the procedure will be if a school board member leaves or is no longer in office. Dr. Panza said school code states it is okay to hire at that point.


Director McCartney moved, seconded by Director Walkowiak, to approve the amendment to the junior-senior high school student handbook to permit the carrying of small purses as presented by administration.  (Policy Item #1208-3)  On a voice vote, the motion carried 7-0.

Dr Panza confirmed a small wristlet or pencil bag is permissible, not to exceed eight and one-half inches by 11 inches The wristlet/bag must be kept under the student’s desk with all contents kept in the bag. Director Hughan said this included both male and female students.


·         Student Services


Director McCartney moved, seconded by Director Wilson, to approve and recognize the following Carlynton High School students as independent gymnasts and allow participation in the WPIAL gymnastic program, at no cost to the district, under the following stipulations: 1. Christine Gulakowski is the students’ uncompensated coach; 2. Each student will submit a current physical to be kept on file in the Office of the Athletic Director; 3. Each student meets all academic requirements; and 4. Pending parents’ signature on a waiver to be prepared by the district solicitor:

§         Danielle Barber

§         Brittany Kroh

§         Kathryn Stanko

§         Kari Tedesco    (Student Services Item #1208-1)  On a voice vote, the motion carried 7-0.

Dr. Panza noted the students will train at an independent facility, but as students of the district, their academics will be monitored as is with other athletes. President Brown added that the agreement is at no cost to the district and similar agreements have been made in the past.


Director McCartney moved, seconded by Director Wilson, to approve the 2009-2010 Program of Studies for grades seven and eight, and grades nine through 12, as presented.  (Student Services Item #1208-2)

Director Schirripa said discussion had been held at education committees to drop the scholars’ science courses for grades seven, eight and nine. She noted that the scholar courses were already modified in the program of studies. She asked why this change would be made now, instead of next year, when the science curriculum is slated to be rewritten.

Dr. Susini said the verbiage of “scholars” is not included in the 2009-10 Program of Studies, but by offering the students Life Sciences, an important component needed for the PSSA will be taught to all students. He added that this does not prevent students from advancing to scholars’ courses in the sciences in grades 10, 11 and 12.

Science teacher Maureen Berlingeri was in the audience and reiterated that the advanced courses currently in place are omitting a key component on the PSSA because students are missing the Life Sciences.


The board then voted on the motion: On a ROLL CALL VOTE, the motion failed 4-3, with Directors Brown, McCartney and Schirripa voting NO.  (Five votes are necessary for approval.)


Dr. Panza asked for consideration to approve the Program of Studies, excluding the section regarding the science courses, because the board does not meet again until mid-January.

Discussion continued. Dr. Susini and  Mrs. Berlingeri went on to explain that the current rubric which places seventh grade students into Scholar Science courses takes into account a students mathematic capability, but does not necessarily gauge the student’s ability in the sciences. Mrs. Berlingeri said that nearly 50 percent of those placed in Scholars Science in seventh grade are dropping out by the tenth grade.  The science department is proposing the changes to the Program of Studies based on the component needed (Life Science) for the PSSA and the goal to offer biology, with a lab, to ninth graders. She said this also alleviates problems with scheduling of Parkway students. She stated the science department has reviewed this carefully and they wish to be pro-active.

Director Wilson asked for clarification: “What I am hearing is the science department wants to offer students in grades seven, eight and nine a broader base in the sciences, in conjunction with the PSSA, but overall, the classes would better prepare students for the sciences in grades 10, 11 and 12, correct?” Mrs. Berlingeri said yes. She added that removing the “scholars” title in junior high would not hinder anyone from achieving scholars in grade 10.

President Brown questioned why the science department would want to remove the scholars program after only four years, when parents had originally asked for it to be implemented.

Director McCartney asked for data to back up their reasoning for removing scholars’ courses. Mrs. Berlingeri said the teachers were able to interpret the need by reviewing the questions on the PSSA and by noting the number of students who are dropping out of the science scholars’ track.

Dr. Panza suggested a compromise could be met if the curriculum for grade seven scholars’ was modified to include a section for Life Sciences, as well as grade eight scholars. In addition, ninth grade biology would include a lab. The teachers would develop the rubric.  President Brown asked that a compromise be made to maintain the scholars’ courses through the upcoming school year until more data is collected and the new science curriculum is written. Mrs. Berlingeri was agreeable with the suggestions.


Director Wilson moved, seconded by Director McCartney, to continue the scholars’ courses in grades seven, eight and nine, with changes to the core material, for the 2009-2010 school year, until more data is retrieved and the science curriculum is rewritten. On a ROLL CALL VOTE, the motion carried 7-0.  


UNFINISHED BUSINESS:  Director Hughan recalled a discussion at the last meeting regarding the situation at Moon Area High School with their Aqua Director, stating that recent information disclosed the individual violated the Ethics Act. She asked that care be taken to prevent any similar incidents at Carlynton.  Solicitor Gleason suggested the issue would best be discussed in executive session.





OPEN FORUM:  Rev. Ed Bowen from the Crafton United Presbyterian Church publicly thanked the students and staff of Crafton Elementary for a food drive; the food was contributed to the food pantry, housed in the church.


Parent and resident Nyra Schell urged board members to remain current with all standards and mandates issued by the State in regards to education. She said she sees a “disconnect” between the elementary schools and seventh grade, as well as a disconnect with the school directors, all of which she believes needs to be addressed.



ADJOURNMENT: Director Hughan moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:29 pm, seconded by Director McCartney. On a voice vote, the motion carried 7-0.