WEATHERSFIELD SCHOOLS Board OKs buying for sports complex

The board appointed Joe Stevens football coach.
MINERAL RIDGE -- The Weathersfield Board of Education has approved more than $123,000 in purchases for the Joe Lane Sports Complex under construction at Mineral Ridge High School.
Joe Lane, a local funeral director, has contributed $500,000 toward the $1.25 million complex. The rest is coming from other donations and school district funds.
The board also told Architect Paul Ricciuti of Youngstown to proceed with plans for a $2 million expansion of the 1959 Seaborn Elementary School, to be paid for with a 1.6-mill bond issue approved by the voters in November.
Construction is to begin this fall and would increase the school's floor space by about one-third.
What's included: Included in the expansion, scheduled for occupancy in September 2002, are a media center; art, music and special education rooms; an additional dining room; and two new kindergarten rooms.
The board appointed Joe Stevens, who has served the district as an assistant football coach for the past six years, as head coach after accepting the resignation of Jim Pappada.
Stevens, a teacher at the middle school, has taught sixth-grade the past two years and will teach seventh- and eighth-grade history next year.
Pappada remains as a middle school physical education teacher.
Teachers hired: The board hired the following teachers: Amy Vestal at an annual salary of $24,104 and Jennifer M. Merkich at $30,058, both as teachers of learning-disabled pupils at Seaborn Elementary; Matthew K. Blair at $28,153 as a sixth-grade teacher at the middle school; and Andrew S. Apisa at $24,104 as a math teacher, Nicholas J. Colla at $26,804 as an English teacher, and Sara Ricciardulli at $41,242 as a Spanish teacher, all at the high school.
The board discussed but took no action on a proposal to raise the limit on purchases the administration can make without board approval from $2,500 to $7,500.
Treasurer Angela Lewis said the $2,500 figure is very low and urged that it be raised at least to $7,500. Superintendent Rocco Adduci said most similar school districts near here generally use a $10,000-to-$25,000 threshold.
Board president Douglas Darnall said he is inclined to support the $2,500 threshold because the board has a primary responsibility to monitor district spending.

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