At its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday in White Township, the ARIN 28 Intermediate Unit Board of Directors tentatively adopted a general operating budget of $3,323,887 for the 2022-23 fiscal year.
The board also authorized the publicity of the proposed budget and its submission to member districts in Armstrong and Indiana counties for approval.
As proposed, the 2022-23 budget is more than $100,000 below the budget of $3,427,394 approved last April for the 2021-22 fiscal year.
The board also approved revisions to the Intermediate Unit’s policy on mandatory reporting of child abuse and updates to the ARIN IU 28 health and safety plan.
Otherwise, Tuesday’s meeting dealt in-depth with personnel matters, including that of unit commercial director Jason Palazzi, effective no later than February 18.
Palazzi’s employment contract as a full-time business manager was approved last June, with an annual salary of $77,000. Previously, he had been an Accounts Payable Specialist in the Highlands School District, a teacher in the former Blairsville-Saltsburg School District, an accountant for measuring instruments in Blairsville, and a teacher and accountant at Propel Charter Schools near Pittsburgh.
Three other resignations were accepted “with appreciation for their service to this intermediate unit” from teaching paraprofessional Tammy Bachik, part-time adult education teacher Kaela Cardarella and full-time teacher from adult education Ametrine Rei.
Additionally, unpaid family medical leave has been approved for physiotherapist Angela Hegedus.
Conditional approval has been given for the hiring of:
• Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants Tara Slovinsky ($41,212 annual salary) and Tara Zeigler ($35,030).
• Behavioral Support Paraprofessionals Michelle Good and Jenna Burd, each at an hourly rate of $17.09.
• Accountant Emma Simmons, at an annual salary of $40,000.
• Teaching professional Lynette Clawson, at an hourly rate of $11.50.
Sarah Schroth went from family educator/foster care coordinator to regional homelessness coordinator with an annual salary of $45,000; Irene Walker went from behavioral support paraprofessional to homelessness specialist/regional foster care coordinator with an annual salary of $35,000; and Crystal Hoffman rose from accountant to assistant finance manager with an annual salary of $60,000.
The council has also authorized Rajwan Alshareefy’s volunteer tutoring services by ARIN Adult Education Programs.
In other actions, the council:
• Approved rates of pay of $90 per day for paraprofessionals and $125 per day for teachers and clinicians working in the first 20 days of replacement roles.
• Authorized the use of Indiana University of Pennsylvania students Tarrina Christy and Marura Corrozza as trainee teachers for the spring 2022 semester, Christy working with ARIN associate teacher Stacy Harsh and Corrozza working with the associate teacher Eric Misko.
• Granting of “permanent status” to ESL teacher Angela Booher.
• Acceptance of a $5,000 PASmart esports grant from the Emerald Foundation for the 2021-22 academic year.
• Extended until June 30 an agreement with ESS Northeast LLC to provide substitute teachers and paraprofessionals.
• Agreed that ARIN IU 28 will provide a teacher to the Derry Area School District for blind and visually impaired students who are eligible to enroll through New Story, at $92 per hour, until June 30.
• Approved an agreement with Evergreen After School Club where the Middle Unit will provide Evergreen with payroll services until December 31st.
• Authorized ARIN IU 28 Executive Director, Dr. Brigette D. Matson, to enter into a parental transportation agreement with Carol Hartman and to enter into transportation agreements with Eugene Everhart, Ronald Altman, and Marcus Carl, all for the 2021-22 school year approved daily miles and daily rates.
The next meeting will be at 7 p.m. on March 15. If the pandemic situation allows, the meeting will take place in person at the central office of White Township. Otherwise, the meeting will originate from the central office and be conducted virtually by Zoom.