New state grant will aid special education pupils

The program will help pupils to acquire and maintain jobs.
BESSEMER, Pa. -- A newly awarded state grant will aid Mohawk Area School pupils to a successful future, school officials say.
The district received a $70,000 Bureau of Special Education Transition from School to Community Based Employment grant sponsored by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
The grant will develop a comprehensive school-to-work program that will provide Mohawk Learning Support students the opportunities to acquire and maintain employment upon graduation.
Jamie Stevens, the school district's special education supervisor, said Mohawk was one of 51 applicants in the state for the grant. Only nine received the grant.
New positions
The board approved the creation of three support staff positions Monday. The jobs were created because of the grant. The new positions will allow for part-time job coaches to work in the transition program.
Superintendent Dr. Timothy McNamee said that if the grant was no longer available, the positions would be eliminated.
He said a meeting is being held this week in Harrisburg to set the hourly rate for the job coach positions.
Stevens said the current transition program allows students with disabilities to participate in nonpaid work experiences within the community at various businesses that include Pizza Joe's, Warehouse Sales, Lowe's and Rhodes Estates.
She said the grant would allow students to participate in paid work environments with a job coach while earning elective credits.
Pay raise
In other business, the board awarded McNamee with a 3.5 percent pay raise that will increase his salary for the 2005-06 school year to $101,870. This will be retroactive to August.
The board also created a technology technician position to assist technology coordinator Teresa Duble.
Angelo Sun, who teaches junior-senior high computer classes in the district will be paid $25 per hour on an as-needed basis.
McNamee said this would help eliminate using outside consultants to help Duble.

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