Peters Township parents bring complaints to meeting

Special education, textbooks criticized

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Peters Township school directors Monday got an earful from a parent angry over the district's special education program and one upset about outdated textbooks.

Parent Mike Aburachis said he recently moved his two sons to another school due to the district's constant turnover of special education directors. He said he was speaking on behalf of other parents as well, who had asked him to address the board.

Four new directors have been hired in as many years.

"There isn't a commitment to special education from the district," Mr. Aburachis said.

"That's your opinion," school board President Cindy Golembiewski said several times.

Mr. Aburachis said district administrators and board members have made other issues a priority, such as the hiring of a police officer for the high school.

"Somebody has made this a priority, so these initiatives are taken seriously," he said. "If this was a corporate board, somebody would own this issue."

Ms. Golembiewski said the district couldn't comment on the high turnover at the position because it is a personnel matter. The current director, Patricia Kelly, was hired in August.

Superintendent Nina Zetty said the district has increased funding and initiatives aimed at special education programs this year.

Parent Steve Stuck told the board that his daughter has severe learning disabilities and that her special education teachers and classes have been "totally beyond" what he expected.

"She has made progress and she loves school," he said.

Another parent, Betty Kradel, showed the board her son's Advanced Placement Statistical Theory textbook, which had a ripped and shredded binding along with missing pages. Copyrighted in 2000, the book is also out of date, she said, and still considers Pluto a planet, along with other facts that have changed.

"The kids laugh," she said. "They think it's kind of comical."

Her son's book, Ms. Kradel said, was in good condition compared to others in the class.

The board also rejected the lone bid for a new set of doors in the high school natatorium.

The bid of $50,000 was considerably higher than the $10,000-$12,000 budget for the project, which would include a new set of outside doors from the facility to the parking lot.

The natatorium has an inside door, but outside doors were removed about 10 years ago during a renovation project. Since that time, maintenance crews haven't been able to change light bulbs in the facility without using a combination of scaffolding and ladders -- an "unsafe situation," according to board member Sandra Gregg. Crews need a set of double doors to bring in a hydraulic lift to change the bulbs and do other maintenance in the ceiling and ventilation area.

The board is expected to review its options regarding the facility at its next meeting of the Building and Grounds Committee at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 8.

Board members accepted an $8,550 bid to refinish the outdoor basketball courts at the high school from Lutz Tennis & Asphalt Co. of Murrysville. The vote was 8-0, with director Lynn Erenberg absent.

All but $900 of the project will be paid for through a donation from the Peters Township Basketball Association. The district also plans to make $4,000 worth of repairs to the fence surrounding the courts.

education - neigh_south - neigh_washington

Janice Crompton: jcrompton@post-gazette.com or 412-851-1867.


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