Ellwood City school board to consider boiler project Feb. 23

Eric Poole epoole@ellwoodcityledger.com

PERRY TWP. -- The Ellwood City Area School Board will likely award a bid for the boiler replacement project at Perry Lower Intermediate School in a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 23.

The meeting had been originally scheduled for 6 p.m., but some board members are planning to attend a meeting that night of school board representatives in Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV to discuss a collective school board reaction to statewide fiscal issues. That meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at the intermediate unit headquarters in Grove City.

Perry has been operating on a backup boiler for heat since last month, when tubes inside one of the two boilers were found to be irreparably corroded. Both of the school's boilers were installed in 1967, and buildings and grounds Superintendent Steve Schuster said last month that it isn't known how long the remaining boiler will continue to function.

The board opted last month to replace one boiler at an estimated cost of $90,000. Replacing both boilers would have cost about $150,000.

School schedule

The 2016-17 school year will begin on Wednesday, Aug. 24, for Ellwood City Area students, with teachers in class two days earlier, under the school schedule approved Thursday by the board.

Thanksgiving break will run from Wednesday, Nov. 23, through Monday, Nov. 28. With Christmas and New Year's falling on successive Sundays, the holiday break will begin Friday, Dec. 23, and run through, Monday, Jan. 2.

The final day for students will be June 1, 2017. Snow make-up days are scheduled for Monday, Feb. 20; Monday, March 13; Thursday, April 13; and Monday, April 17.

New venue

The board held its meeting Thursday at Perry instead of its usual location at the meeting hall in Lincoln Junior-Senior High School. School board President Renee Pitrelli said the Perry meeting was the first of three sessions that will be held in the district's elementary schools.

In May, the board will hold a session at Hartman Intermediate School, followed by a meeting in September at North Side Primary Center.

"It's good for us to be in the schools," Pitrelli said.

Art Club

In a unanimous 7-0 vote, with LeRoy Cortez and Anthony Buzzelli absent, the board approved a contract that will allow the Ellwood City Art Club to hold meetings and instructional sessions in a basement art room at Lincoln Junior-Senior High School.

The room has gone unused at the school since art classes were moved to other parts of the building. The art club will use the facility on weekends and evenings.

As part of the agreement, the district waived a provision that would have required the art club to pay $100 a month for the space.

Personnel moves

Board members approved the following personnel decisions at the meeting Thursday, with all votes unanimous unless otherwise indicated:

Softball coaches were approved at the following salaries: varsity head coach Gary Rozanski, $4,900; assistants Rick McClintick, $1,325, Robyn Nicklas, $1,000, and Kay Bellissimo, $975; junior high head coach Bill Garroway, $1,850, and junior high assistant Merle MacDonald, $600; volunteer assistant varsity coaches Bob Sudano, Amy Lutz and Curt Agostinelli; and volunteer junior high varsity assistant coach Susie Blyth.

Baseball coaches were approved at the following salaries: varsity head coach Jeff Fotia, $5,100; varsity assistant coach Vic Sharek, $1,925; junior varsity head coach Bob Varatti, $1,475; and junior high head coach Ralph Detullio, $875. Approved as volunteers were Russ Ochsenhirt, Tony Biega, Rob Wilson, Sonny Olayer, Joe Ricciuti and Brad Welsh.

Middle school volleyball head coach Jenna Ricciuti at a salary of $1,325 and assistant coach John DiBuono at a salary of $975 were also approved.

Track and field coaches were approved at the following salaries: varsity co-coaches Al Campman and Tom Natale, $2,750 each; assistants Tony Nocera, $1,625; Jim Thompson, $1,375; assistants Patty Petrak, Dave Braymer and Matt Jadlowiec, $975 each; and junior high head coach Dave Braymer, $1,700; and junior high assistant coach April Nichols, $875. Approved as volunteer varsity assistants were Chris Ludwig, Frank Ambrosia and Emily Toland.

The following staff members were approved for time off through the federal Family Medical Leave Act: Lincoln teacher Mike McCullough, 12 weeks starting in mid-March; Hartman teacher Cara Atkinson, 12 weeks starting in early March; North Side aide Stevilynn Gwin, from Feb. 8 to Feb. 19; Hartman teacher Darin Morella, starting Feb. 5; and Jacque Bulger, effective Thursday. All of the leaves were approved unanimously except for Darin Morella's, which had board member Matt Morella, Darin Morella's son, abstaining.

Brandy Tillia was hired for a three-hour-per-day cafeteria position at North Side. Matt Morella, who is related to Tillia, abstained from the vote.

Denette Orr was added to the nurse substitute list.


  • Senior Carrington Ketterer received a $200 scholarship. A player on the Wolverines girls basketball team, she became the sixth girl in school history to score 1,000 points in her varsity career.
  • Senior Nick Ioanilli received a football scholarship to play at Colgate University.
  • Ellwood City Elementary Parent-Teacher Organization organized Hartman's annual Snowball Dance last month. More than 150 students attended.
  • The parent-teacher organization donated $5,000 for Google Chromebooks at Hartman.
  • Hartman and Perry received a $24,012 Safe Schools grant, which will be used for installation of panic buttons and emergency strobe lights at the schools.
  • The district received a life skills training grant from the Center for Study and Prevention of Violence. The grant will be used for instruction of life skills in grades 6 to 8.