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Bus, other policies acted on

School directors Monday passed a motion requiring bus drivers from First Student, the company providing district bus transportation, to stay with students who have been taken to a game until it's time to take them home.

School director Frank Pearsol said a bus driver who took girls' soccer team members to Yough High School went to a second assignment before returning to Yough to pick up the team. As a result, soccer players waited about an hour after the game until the bus returned, he said.

Mr. Pearsol said athletes take shelter in their buses if lightning storms occur, and had no bus to shelter in if a storm had occurred that night. There was no inclement weather that evening, he said.

• Directors approved revisions to the district's dress code and electronic device policies.

Additions to the dress code now say students won't be allowed to wear flip-flops and sandals to industrial arts, physical education or science lab classes, where there is a chance of injury. Students who do not listen will receive a zero for their work during that class.

But the revised policy also states that, other than the special classes, flip-flops are allowed at the high school.

All shirts and tops must now have sleeves; and shorts, culottes, skirts and dresses must be no shorter than fingertip length or no more than 4 inches above the knee. The previous dress code required them to be knee-length.

Clothing with rips above the knee will not be allowed if skin is showing and underwear should not be visible, according to the new policy.

Under the district's revised electronic device policy, students attending Green Valley Primary School and Logan Middle School still won't be allowed to take digital cameras, cell phones, CD, Walkman or MP3 players, iPods, dolls, toys, electronic games or trading cards on buses, in backpacks or to school.

However, high school students will be allowed to use cell phones, MP3s, iPods, computer tablets and e-readers during gym class, lunch, library and computer labs under the new policy.

At an earlier meeting, assistant superintendent Don MacFann said teachers indicated students could use cell phone apps as part of certain lessons. The changed policy will allow students to do so.

The use of cell phones to take photos, record audio or video on school property or at school activities elsewhere will still be prohibited unless authorized by a principal.


Church plans first pasta dinner

Sacred Heart Parish will host its first Gnocchi Dinner from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 22 in the church school's cafeteria on North Seventh Street.

Parishioner Jim Carasella and his family have made 150 pounds of homemade potato gnocchi and sauce for the event. In addition to dinner, there will be a basket raffle.

Proceeds from the event benefit Sacred Heart's 125th anniversary celebration in 2014.


Auto Zone vote coming

Council will vote later this month on a proposal to construct a new Auto Zone building at 4830 William Penn Highway.

Plans were presented to council last week by developer Carmen Didiano, who said the 7,000-square-foot building will use two colors of brick on the exterior and meets code for parking, stormwater management, windows and for roof parapets designed to hide rooftop heating and cooling equipment.

Auto Zone has offered to buy and plant trees on a small grass strip owned by PennDOT that sits between the parking lot and the road.

• Council reviewed plans for a new, four story self-storage facility to be located at 6335 William Penn Highway. Developer Steve Mitnick described the proposed Storexpress building as a state of the art, drive through self-storage site. Mr. Mitnick requested that council consider waiving code requirements for the amount of glazing as well at the type of materials used on the exterior of the building. The municipal planning commission had previously approved the requested waivers.

Council members expressed concerns about the appearance of the 115,000-square-foot building if it is constructed in two separate phases, as proposed. Mr. Mitnick said the construction of the second phase would be based on successful occupancy of the first phase. Council asked Mr. Mitnick to submit a description and rendering of the building when the first phase is complete before voting later this month.

• Mayor Robert Brooks presented members of the Westmoreland Conservancy with a proclamation honoring its official accreditation by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. The commission awards community institutions that meet national quality standards for protecting both natural and working lands.

The Conservancy is seeking volunteers for its work. Details:

• Council approved multiple contracts for capital improvements.

Santamaria Landscape & Cement Contractors was awarded a $76,625 contract for the reconstruction of ADA compliant wheelchair ramps at the municipal building and Murrysville Library.

A contract for crack sealing was awarded to Matcon Diamond Inc. for $32,000 and a $31,495 contract was approved for Green Acres Contracting Services Inc. for installation of a guide rail along a section of Roundtop Road.


Libraries may get change in funding

Libraries serving students in the district may soon see a change in the funding they get from the district.

Board chairman Jay Tray said Monday that officials are looking at revising the district's funding formula for the libraries based on student membership.

The district allots $12,000 out of the approximately $100,000 that it budgets for community services to Penn Area Library and Trafford Community Public Library. Because it serves more students, Penn Area receives 70 percent of the allocation.

But, it has been brought to the board's attention that Manor Public Library receives no money from the district although its student membership has increased. Manor's library is located in the Hempfield School District, but due to its close proximity to the district border it's attracting Penn-Trafford students as well.

Mr. Tray said he's reviewing data and found that Trafford's library stands to lose under a new funding formula.

Mr. Tray said the district is also looking at devising a similar formula for funding for community recreation programs.

• The district is seeking alumni of the current high school and the former Penn Joint and Trafford high schools to participate in a homecoming parade Oct. 4.

The parade will begin at 6:30 p.m. An alumni reception will follow in the Warrior Center, next to Warrior Stadium. Alumni planning to participate should email by Oct. 1.

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