The North Allegheny School District is gearing up for the start of school with the addition of staff, but -- so far -- without acting on teaching positions.
Residents at the July 17 meeting reminded them of their promise to keep class sizes lower.
"Please not do this again to those children at Peebles who sat through classes of 28," Kathy Evans said. Her son's second-grade class had 28 students -- three more than district guidelines.
Mrs. Evans and Chris Disque asked the board and administration to change the guidelines to "hard caps" and change third grade from an intermediate grade with a limit of 30 students to a primary grade with a limit of 25 students.
Mr. Disque also suggested lower class sizes at the beginning of the year to allow for students who move in during the semester.
Last year's first grade at Peebles started with class sizes of 23, 23 and 24 students but finished with 25, 25 and 24 students.
"Had they been at the max [at first], they would have all finished the year above the class size guidelines," he said. "There is too much evidence telling us that we are going to continue to see migration, and it is just as likely to happen during school year as in the summer."
Superintendent Raymond Gualtieri said, in an effort to gauge attendance, the staff at each school has been calling the homes of current students to make sure they are returning.
"We want to make sure we know who was coming," said board President Maureen Grosheider. "Last year, some people did not register until the end of August."
She urged new families to register their children for school in July.
In other action:
• Patricia Tkacik, director of special education for the Mc-Keesport Area School District, was hired July 17 as coordinator of special education at an annual salary of $105,000. She received a supervisor of special education certificate from the University of Pittsburgh, a master's degree in education and reading specialist certificate from Temple University and a bachelor's degree in special education from Penn State University. She replaces Guinevere Maximo, who was named supervisor of special education and pupil services, succeeding Arleen Wheat, who will retire Aug. 30.
• The board filled vacant librarian positions because of retirements or leaves -- Sarah Diehl at Franklin Elementary School, Patricia McNeill at Carson Middle School and Valerie Cummings as a substitute librarian at Hosack Elementary and Marshall Middle School.
• Directors awarded a $141,350 contract to Simplex Grinnell LP to replace the security cameras at the intermediate high school. They also awarded a $209,700 contract to Builders Hardware and Specialty Co. for replacement of all the door locks in district facilities. Both items were recommended as part of a Vulnerability Analysis undertaken after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
Sandy Trozzo, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.