ARIN IU 28 Holds First Convention in Three Years | Local News


SARVER – This could be called a sign that normality is returning after a prolonged COVID-19 pandemic.

For the first time since April 16, 2019, ARIN Intermediate Unit 28 held what was normally an annual convention of school principals from Armstrong and Indiana counties, as well as select communities in Clearfield counties , Westmoreland and Butler.

The rally at Freeport Area Middle School in the village of Sarver in Buffalo Township, Butler County, was, as unit executive director Dr. Brigette D. Matson said, “a good time to take stock of where ARIN stands as a regional educational services organization and to reflect on how we as school board members can begin to think about the legacy we will leave and how we can plan to ensure that our efforts are good for our children and our society.

It was also about 3.5 hours filled with music, conversation, awards and action, including passing a general operating budget of $3,323,887 for fiscal year 2022-23. for IU 28 based in White Township.

“On behalf of ARIN’s Board of Directors and Midstream Unit staff, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support of IU’s general operating budget,” said the Board Chair. ARIN administration, Dr. Frank Prazenica Jr. of Freeport Area, “and for your support of all of the programs and services provided by the Intermediate Unit to your local school districts.”

The budget had to be approved in each of the 11 member school districts – and, with the exception of a handful of absentees, had the approval of every principal in Apollo-Ridge, Armstrong, Freeport Area, Homer-Center , Indiana Area, Leechburg Area, Marion Center, Penns Manor Area, Purchase Line, River Valley and United districts.

The convention approved the election of Prazenica, Apollo-Ridge’s Rebecca Ross, Indiana Region’s Tamie Blank, River Valley’s Molly Stiles and United’s Mark Somers for another three-year term on the board. of UI 28.

He also recognized Prazenica for serving on ARIN’s board of directors for 10 years beginning in December 2021; IU 28 Board Vice Chair Charles R. Glasser of the Marion Center for serving on the ARIN Board of Directors for 10 years beginning in December 2019; Stiles for serving on the ARIN Board of Directors for five years beginning in December 2020; and Ross for serving on the ARIN Board of Directors for five years beginning in March 2021.

Matson also presented the Friend of Education award to Cristine Kostiuk, a 1977 Leechburg Area High School graduate who held various jobs over the years, before spending 20 years as an administrative assistant to the school district superintendent of ‘Apollo Ridge.

Kostiuk also served as president of the Apollo-Ridge Education Foundation.

“During her tenure,” Matson said, “she increased donations for the Apollo-Ridge Education Foundation to $250,000, which paid for vital equipment in the school’s technology education store as well as d ‘other projects throughout the district.’

“Your efforts are so appreciated,” Apollo-Ridge Superintendent Dr. Matt Curci said in a video link from a conference he attends in Pittsburgh.

Matson also provided a state of the unit address, including summarizing the efforts of various unit-supervised programs, the Education and Youth Experiencing Homelessness program serving 55 students from Armstrong County and 53 from Edmonton County. Indiana, the Family Focus program working with 57 families, an ELECT/pregnant teens and parents program serving 47 teenage parents, and an adult education program that enrolled 67 students and 14 graduated with advanced standing .

“In 2021-2022, the business office managed 59 individual budgets totaling $26.9 million,” said the unit’s executive director. “Budgets were funded by federal state and local money.”

There were exhibits from school projects, performances from various Freeport-area student organizations, and a dinner prepared by The Nutrition Group that included Italian and Mexican dishes as well as platters of turkey and roast beef.

When the board met after the adjournment of the convention, it approved a schedule of monthly meetings to be held in 2022-23 at the ARIN IU central office at 2895 West Pike in White Township at 5 p.m. hours on the third Tuesday of each month. The exception will be April 18, 2023, when the reunion follows the 2023 unit convention, scheduled for the Marion Center Area School District.

The unit also plans to hold its 2024 convention in the Indiana area school district.

In other matters at the ARIN Board meeting, the Trustees approved:

• Employment of Amanda Vresilovic for the next five years as ARIN’s Finance Director.

• Allocation of $102,077 to the U.S. Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund for Homeless Children and Youth for the period of July 1, 2022 through September 30, 2024.

• Employment of Emily Bugay as a full-time family educator; and Sheri Cunkelman as a full-time behavior support paraprofessional.

• Change Jenna Burd’s job from full-time Behavioral Support Professional to permanent full-time substitute.

• Bring Allison Brocious, a student at Indiana University in Pennsylvania, as a student volunteer for Spring 2022.

• Have Danielle Boyer from IUP for spring 2022 as a student teacher working with Eric Misko from Homer-Center Life Skills.

• A memorandum of understanding regarding the payment of premiums with the union ARIN Intermediate Unit 28 Education Support Professionals-PSEA.

• Transfers of the Excellence Foundation Money Market Account of $10,267.91 and the ARIN Excellence Foundation Current Account of $239.02 to the ARIN Excellence Foundation, which will now operate as a separate entity.

• An agreement with the Penn Cambria School District for a teacher of blind and visually impaired students for the 2021-22 school year, at a rate of $92 per hour.

• An increase from $3,000 to $19,626 in the contract with Tri-County Workforce Investment Board Inc. for the ARIN adult education program.

• A service agreement with the Tri-County Workforce Investment Board where ARIN Center for Education staff will provide adult basic education and high school equivalency preparation courses for out-of-school youth in the county of Indiana ages 17-24, for which IU 28 will receive $13,122.93 for 2022-23. There is also an option for two additional years.

• A contract with Silver Strong & Associates to provide on-site training of The Thoughtful Classroom program to ARIN instructional trainers.

• A matching $400 matching scholarship of $800 for books for ownership of Reading Is Fundamental Inc. for 2022-2023.

• A transportation advisory agreement with Freeport Area School District retroactive to April 14 and continuing through July 31, 2022.

• A lease agreement with Freeport Area School District for three classrooms, a workroom, and storage space at South Buffalo Elementary School for the ARIN Early Intervention Program, at a monthly rent of $2,000 for the period between June 1, 2022 and May 31, 2024, with an option to renew for an additional 12 months.

• A Curriculum Services Agreement with Freeport Area School District to use ARIN Curriculum Specialist Stacie Isenberg for 65 work days during the 2022-23 school year, for $32,000.

• Adjusted the agreement with Barker Inc., Valley Lines and Shriver Contract Services to allow for a fuel cost adjustment rate of 9 cents per mile in fiscal year 2021-22.

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