Mars Area pushes permanent patrols
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The Adams police have been patrolling the Mars Area School District campus since mid-December, and board members Tuesday night authorized superintendent William Pettigrew to talk with township officials about making the patrols permanent.
The district has been paying Adams $150 a day for the patrols since one of its teachers was quoted in a newspaper story saying she suspects that a former boyfriend committed a murder.
The second-grade teacher at Mars Elementary School said in the story that she gave authorities the name of the man who she believes shot Seneca Valley teacher Steven Russo on Nov. 24, 2010.
The teacher no longer works for the district, but officials do not want to take any chances that the man may look for her on the Mars campus.
"I'm not too excited about hiring any private individual with firearms," Mr. Pettigrew said.
Solicitor Tom King said many schools in Pennsylvania have local police officers who are dedicated to the schools.
"It avoids a whole lot of other issues," including separate insurance for school police and policies necessary to carry a weapon, he said.
Mr. Pettigrew said the officer also patrols inside the schools.
"We are encouraging them to come into the building and walk around and check things," he said.
In other business, board President J. Dayle Ferguson said Victor Morrone, retired superintendent of the Bethel Park School District, has been selected to lead the search for a new superintendent.
Mr. Morrone lives in Middlesex, and two of his grandchildren attend the Mars Area schools, Mrs. Ferguson said.
Mr. Pettigrew, who has been superintendent for 25 years, announced that he will retire on or before Dec. 1, 2013.
Mrs. Ferguson said the board hopes to conduct the first round of interviews in late March and narrow the field to one to three finalists, who will be interviewed in mid-April.The board hopes to extend an offer in mid-May so there will be some overlap before Mr. Pettigrew leaves, she said.
Also, resident Frank Moore of Mars complained about the cost of supplemental contracts for teachers who coach sports.
"Why are they paid so well for nonacademic activities," he asked. "We, the taxpayers, are being stiffed."
Mr. Moore reminded board members of the results of the district's survey in November.
"The overwhelming number of respondents do not want taxes to be raised whatsoever," he said. "The teachers want to stick their greedy hands into my pockets."
First Published January 10, 2013 5:38 am