2009-06-04 / Local & State

Forbes Road Board Alters Principal's Title

Retirement delayed for Byron Helsel; to serve as director of elementar y education
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

Mulling over the proposed retirement of Forbes Road Elementary Principal Byron Helsel, school board members gathered behind closed doors for 90 minutes Monday night and emerged with a different decision that simply altered the school administrator's title.

Even though his duties are slated to remain the same, the 8- 0 unanimous decision by the board resulted in a change of title for Helsel effective July 1. Helsel's new title will read director of elementary education and coordinator of both the special education program and Title funding and curriculum.

Since the board last convened in May, Helsel submitted a letter or retirement that was slated to become effective on June 29. Aside from a stint at the Juniata Valley School District, Helsel has spent his entire teaching and administrative career at Forbes Road.

In other personnel-related matters, the board accepted the retirement letter of longtime music teacher and choral director Donna Ankney. Ankney's retirement is scheduled to become effective June 15.

Ankney will be replaced by Cynthia Robinette, of Everett, who currently serves the district in the capacity of Title 1 aide and secretary. Robinette has certification in both elementary education and music and will begin her duties at step four on the 2009-10 teacher salary scale.

After introducing Robinette to the board, principals Helsel and Fred Foster also introduced new hires Kayla Knepper of Hustontown; Nathan Whitsel of the Mount Union area; and Corey Doyle, also from southern Huntingdon County.

Knepper was brought on board as an elementary teacher, and Whitsel was hired as high school math teacher. Doyle will serve as health and physical education teacher. The trio were hired at the starting teacher's salary.

Reading Recovery teacher Josephine Politis will be retiring effective June 5, while agriculture science teacher Ann Meyer resigned from her position effective June 30. In addition, varsity tennis coach Jessica Vollbrecht also stepped down from her position.

Brandy Kennedy will be volunteering her time as an assistant junior high cheerleading coach for the upcoming 2009-10 school year.

Elementary teacher Carrie Gingerich was approved for a leave of absence this fall as presented to the board.

Librarian Mark Schilajew and math teacher Jason Horton received authorization to transfer 25 unused sick leave days from their former place of employment. Schilajew previously worked at Southern Huntingdon, and Horton was employed at Juniata.

Soon-to-be-retiring Superintendent Dr. Merrill Arnold will continue to offer his duties to the district on an as-needed basis in as a consultant beginning July 1. Arnold will receive a fee of $50 per hour to perform duties specified by the board, which could include "aiding Foster or working on special projects."

Under the category of finance, the board gave transportation contractor Ralph Helman permission to purchase two newer model buses for next year. Furthermore, fellow contractor Dulce Hall is scheduled to begin looking for a new van with lower mileage over the summer months.

A high bid in the amount of $1,383.77 submitted by Parker Hann was accepted as submitted for the Farmall 140 tractor.

Multiple building and grounds requests were approved as presented and include:

• Elementary cheerleading camp in the high school gymnasium on July 13-17 as requested by coach Helen Lutz. The motion was approved pending gym floor refinishing and must be scheduled around a previously scheduled event.

• Teener and Pony League baseball games on the varsity baseball fields during the months of June and July. The teams will play in conjunction with the Bedford County League as reported by baseball coach Randy Gelvin.

• A soccer camp for students enrolled in grades 9-12 the week of August 10-14. The camp will be held on the old soccer field as will recreational soccer one evening per week during the month of July as organized by soccer coach Kevin Bricker.

• Field hockey coach Carol Cline will be utilizing the field hockey field between August 3-7 for camp for girls in grades 5-12. An additional youth camp will be held August 3-7 for girls in grades 3-4 from August 10-14. The field will also be used on Wednesday evenings starting June 10 through July 29 for alumni hockey.

• Annual Back To School Night will be held on August 25 in the high school auditorium as proposed by Craig Cutchall and Robin Feight. The duo was also approved to hold morning meetings in the auditorium on Tuesdays between 7:30 a.m. and 7:45 a.m.

• The junior high boys basketball program overseen by coach Scott Bollman will use the gym during the off season as scheduled by the district's athletic director.

• AAU basketball practices will be held by Tim Newman in the gymnasium during the months of June and July. The events will be scheduled by the athletic director.

With negotiations between the district and teachers still ongoing, it was noted by the administration additional meetings are tentatively set for 4:30 p.m. on June 17, July 15 and August 12. Furthermore, the board will conduct an additional board meeting on Tuesday, June 23, to discuss general matters, including the adoption of the 2009-10 budget and to set the real estate millage rate. The meeting will commence at 7 p.m. in the high school library.

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