NEW CASTLE District to try for preschool program

Board members abolished three positions and hired teachers and a school nurse.
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- The New Castle Area School District is interested in taking over the Lawrence County Head Start Program.
School board members agreed to permit administrators to submit an application for the program.
The district wants to work with Intermediate Unit IV and Lawrence County Human Services Center to take over the program, which provides preschool services for low-income children ages 3 to 5.
Nick DeRosa, assistant schools superintendent, said the district is interested in administering the program because the majority of the children in Head Start eventually attend the New Castle Area School District.
"It would be a continuation of our programs. I think educationally it would be a tremendous help to the children," he said.
What happened: The Lawrence County Head Start program was left without an agency to administer it last spring when its board of directors agreed to dissolve itself because of financial problems. Federal officials took over the program and appointed a Denver company to run it for one year until a new agency could be put in place to operate it.
Last year the program received $2.2 million in federal grant money.
DeRosa noted that taking over the program would likely mean no cost to the district, but the district might provide some services including teachers or administrators to the program.
He said those details are being worked out in a proposal that is now being written in conjunction with the other two agencies.
The assistant superintendent said the three groups decided to partner with each other because they already work together on other projects.
The intermediate unit handles special education for school districts in a three-county area, and HSC handles mental health programs in Lawrence County.
The proposal for the Head Start Program must be submitted by Feb. 15 and the district should know sometime in the spring if its proposal has been accepted, DeRosa said.
Personnel action: In other business, school board members agreed to abolish three positions in an effort to save money.
People in those positions recently retired, board members said. They are a custodian at the high school, secretary in the instructional materials center and a one-on-one personal care assistant at George Washington Intermediate School.
Board members hired several teachers including Deborah Memo of New Castle for vocal music; Kelly Abraham of New Wilmington, third grade; Dinia Flannery of Pulaski, third grade; Kelly Glies of Freedom, Pa., kindergarten; Crista Lombardo of New Castle, kindergarten; John Mozzocio of New Castle, learning support teacher; Alana Perrotta of New Castle, second grade.
Shelly Janiel of New Castle was also hired to be a school nurse.

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