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is a reminder to parents whose children are attending GNA.
We do not carry
medical insurance on students, but do provide parents with the opportunity to
select a primary excess group insurance plan for students.
school officials breathe easier as budget stalemate ends
P. Buffer - Citizens Voice
Local school officials
can relax now that additional state funding is on the way.
The Pittston and
Hanover area school districts were going to run out of money next month.
relieved that we will finally be receiving funding from the state, Pittston
Area Superintendent Kevin Booth said. Im extremely happy for our students,
especially the seniors who were worried about graduation. Parents and teachers
can rest easy for now. However, I do believe this is a temporary fix to a much
larger problem. Much work still must be done in Harrisburg.
Superintendent Andrew Kuhl was in Harrisburg Wednesday morning for an event sponsored
by the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials. The association
called on Gov. Tom Wolf to sign a $6 billion supplemental budget bill sent to
him by Republican lawmakers last week that provides missing state aid to school
Kuhl was on his way back from Harrisburg when he learned Wolf announced
he wouldnt sign the budget bill, but will let it become law by not vetoing
Its a life preserver in the middle of a choppy ocean,
Kuhl said. We live to fight another day now.
More than 900 concerned
parents and taxpayers attended a meeting Monday at Hanover Area High School on
the impact of the ongoing budget impasse.
The state fiscal year began July
1, 2015, without a budget in place.
In January, school districts received about
45 percent of 2015-16 funding from the state after Wolf unlocked emergency funding
to school districts with partial vetoes of a $30 billion budget.
budget bill includes a $200 million increase for education, according to the Pennsylvania
School Boards Association.
While we appreciate the governors persistence
with pushing for much-needed education funding increases, the $200 million in
HB 1801 will keep doors open and allow schools to focus on educating children,
PSBA Executive Director Nathan Mains said in a news release. There are still
challenges ahead on the 2016-17 budget, which must be passed by June 30 to ensure
that schools can enter into the next academic year with confidence.
Greater Nanticoke Area School District was going to start paying bills from its
reserve fund, and Greater Nanticoke Area Superintendent Ronald Grevera was concerned
the district would cease operations by the end of May.
On Wednesday, Grevera
said this years funding increase falls short but he said, it
is a relief because we will be able to continue to educate our children and keep
our doors open.
On March 14, Wilkes-Barre Area Superintendent Bernard
Prevuznak called the state budget impasse an apocalyptic crisis.
Wilkes-Barre Area School District was going to run out of money in mid-May without
additional state funding.
Im sure this was a difficult decision
for the governor, but school districts were on fumes, struggling to finish this
year, Prevuznak said Wednesday. This allows the funding to keep our
schools going to finish the year. But realize the struggle continues and the fight
goes on. The new budget is just around the corner, and we could be faced with
same predicament. Our stakeholders must unite and continue pushing for the needed
reforms that will bring educational funding back to where it belongs.
on Wednesday announced he will veto the fiscal code, a separate budget document
that included a formula on how the extra money on education would be spent.
state Department of Education is working with the governors office
to ensure funding is distributed in a timely manner to school districts across
the commonwealth, said Casey Smith, deputy communications director for the
A fiscal-code veto could also hold up state aid to reimburse school
districts for construction costs. Hanover Area will now not get $250,000 in the
current budget year from the state in construction reimbursements, Kuhl said.
days: Nanticoke Area celebrates 1989-90 state title run
- Citizens Voice
Imagine: Its March 1990
and you are the pride of Nanticoke.
The fanfare is evident by the oversold
gyms on the road, and the decorated homes and storefronts in your city of 12,267.
You receive fan mail and are asked to autograph pieces of merchandise bearing
your school name and, sometimes, your own.
You reward the frenzied fandom with
what the entire city joins you in celebrating: a state championship.
was an unbelievable experience, one that I will never forget, said Lori
Scally Zaleski, one of five senior starters for the 1989-90 Nanticoke Area Trojanettes
girls basketball team. The gym was always packed. There would be a line
of fans outside the gym, waiting to get tickets for playoff games.
off the bus before the Eastern Final at Pottsvilles Martz Hall, Holly Kozlowski
Udzella one of the teams four 1,000-point scorers recalled
being greeted by an aisle of people five rows deep on each side.
followed that crazed scene was the Trojanettes beating North Schuylkill, 80-68,
and earning a place in the state championship game against Beaver Falls.
behind the 36-point performance of future St. Bonaventure Hall of Famer Casey
Comoroski Hunt, Nanticoke Area defeated Beaver Falls, 77-67, for the PIAA Class
AAA title and a perfect 30-0 record.
No Class AAA boys or girls team from the
Wyoming Valley Conference has since won a state title.
One of the all-time
great teams produced in Luzerne County scholastics, the Trojanettes will be honored
at a boys-girls doubleheader Wednesday against North Schuylkill at Nanticoke Area
as part of a 25th anniversary celebration.
Admission is $4 for adults and $2
for students, and the celebration will begin after the boys game that tips off
at 6 p.m.
In hindsight, members of the team are still amazed but more
aware of what they meant to the community.
Its not until
years later that I have realized the impact we had on our community and the accomplishments
we made, Comoroski Hunt said. Those memories are just as vivid today
as they were 25 years ago.
On the court
The 1989-90 lineup could be
pegged as something of a team of destiny.
The starting five Comoroski
Hunt, Scally Zaleski, Kozlowski Udzella, Ellen Bartuska and Holly Ryncavage
first achieved great success by winning the WVC eighth-grade title.
think we gelled together, Scally Zaleski said. We played together
for a long time from when we were in seventh grade. Everyone had a role. It wasnt
that one person did everything. We all had a role within that team, and we all
respected those roles. We looked to help and support each other.
coach Rose Volpicelli and assistant Elaine DeLuca knew, at the state level, their
team with an average height of about 5-foot-6 would be undersized.
So, as far
as a style of play, it was scrappy.
The Trojanettes pressed and forced turnovers
on defense, played streetball and improvised on offense, and fundamentals
were paramount every step of the way.
It didnt hurt, too, that preparation
started by playing against a second-team that could have been plenty successful
on its own.
We were playing against the second-best team in the state
day-in and day-out (at practice), Kozlowski Udzella said.
set prior to each game, among them: shooting 80 percent from the free-throw line
and 50 percent from the floor (not including layups), and keeping the opposition
to less than 50 points.
More often than not, those goals were reached and the
Trojanettes scored 100-plus points five times.
The always-lopsided scores did
produce some vitriol against Nanticoke Area, but Volpicelli who always
preferred the accolades and positive recognition go to her players took
the brunt of the criticism.
She got beat up pretty bad (in the press)
and she never let it deter her. Shed tell us, Dont let it bother
you, recalled Bartuska, who today works at the Philadelphia Zoo. The
work ethic that she instilled in us, to this day, its so much of who I am.
I havent played basketball in years, but those little things that she coached
us on the fundamentals, the mental game, how we conduct ourselves
that has translated into so much of my life that I owe to her and her coaching
abilities on and off the court.
By the time the state final rolled around,
the Trojanettes were an unstoppable force and led Beaver Falls at the end of each
High drama came in the final seconds, though, when a Beaver Falls
player grabbed Ryncavage by the hair and pulled her to the floor.
foul was called, and Ryncavage bruised ribs, chipped teeth and all
made every free throw.
The day after winning the state final
at a sold out Hersheypark Arena, the Trojanettes came home to a kings welcome.
Zaremba, Vice president of the Nanticoke Historical Society, was then working
as a sergeant with the state police. From inside his marked police car, he met
the Trojanettes bus on Interstate 81 and escorted the Trojanettes into the
streets of Nanticoke, where a massive parade was forming.
that they were part of what was going on, said Zaremba, who recalled former
Nanticoke mayor Walter Sokolowski and U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski riding alongside
him in the parade.
Citizens Voice news reporter Bob Kalinowski, a life
resident of Nanticoke, remembers attending every game that season with his aunt
and grandfather. They went to cheer on his cousin and team member Lisa Przekop.
as a child, I knew I was witnessing something special, Kalinowski said.
Those girls were absolutely my idols growing up. After they won the state
championship, they became legends and were treated like rock stars. It was a magical
time. That team brought immense pride to our city.
last hurrah came before a standing-room-only crowd at Bishop Hoban High School
for the WVC Senior All-Star Classic.
Each member of the starting-five played,
but not at the same time, until all five were inserted with 2:01 left.
was a really packed house, and they got a standing ovation, maybe three minutes,
said former Citizens Voice sports editor Neil Corbett, who hailed the Trojanettes
as perhaps the best basketball team he came across in the WVC. It was incredible
Some team members still live in the area. Some moved away but
get back often.
Today, they are still recognized as members of the historic
It was 25 years ago and people still talk about it. Thats
how important it was to the city, said Bartuska, the center. Looking
back in retrospect its amazing to see how it brought the whole town, whole
to the Editor: Express gratitude to people whose jobs help to keep schools running
Posted: 11:20 pm - November 13th, 2015 Updated: 11:20 pm - November 13th, 2015.
When you think about school, who comes to
mind? Teachers, students, the principal, coaches?
Those are all great choices,
but to keep a school running it takes many more hands than that.
Support Professionals Day will be marked on Wednesday, November 18, 2015. Our
support professionals play a role both behind the scenes and on the front lines.
They often dont get credit for molding the future minds of America. These
people include the cafeteria workers, the custodians and maintenance workers,
aides, monitors and a whole host of other staffers.
Every day these people
wake up to help children across America learn in a fully functioning environment.
Many of these professionals see more students than the average teacher or administrator.|
people consider the important role ESPs play in making sure our schools and students
are successful. They are the vital link between public schools and the community.
They are dedicated to public education and loyal to their school systems. More
often than not, they work in communities where they live. Because of this, most
school employees, students and parents know and trust them.
Educational Support Professionals Day.
J.D. Verazin, President
Area Support Professionals
borrows $9.3M for school expansion
Michael P. Buffer - Citizens
The Greater Nanticoke Area School District will borrow $9.3 million
to fund a project expanding Kennedy Elementary, according to information disclosed
Thursday at a hearing.
A 30-year bond issue will cost $17.9 million in principal
and interest payments, and the state will provide almost $8 million in reimbursements.
No one from the public addressed the board during the hearing.
will allow the district to close K.M. Smith Elementary School after the 2016-17
school year. It is currently used for kindergarten, pre-K and first grade classes
and is the only district facility not on the district campus off Kosciuszko Street
Its located on Robert Street in the Sheatown section of
Nanticoke and also is the districts oldest facility. It dates back to 1930
and has structural deficiencies, including not being compliant with the Americans
with Disabilities Act.
The Kennedy expansion will save $68,400 in annual staffing
costs and $50,000 in energy costs. The new debt will increase the tax rate by
0.3259 mills, and the cost savings will decrease the rate by 0.1909 mills.
net result is an increase of 0.1350 mills. A mill is $1 on every $1,000 in property
The district gets $620,272 from each mill. The school board in
June approved a $26.5 million budget that maintained a tax rate of 10.4932 mills.
which currently is only used for second grade, will be used for pre-K, kindergarten
and first grade after the expansion is done by August 2017.
After the hearing,
the school board conducted its monthly meeting and voted to hire Jeffrey Gregory
as high school principal with an annual salary of $88,000. He will replace Joe
Long, who will become an elementary school principal in the Wyoming Area School
Gregory has been working as the director of admissions at Lackawanna
College and has administrative experience in the Lake-Lehman, Old Forge and Lackawanna
Trail school districts. He lives in Peckville.
School Year Brings Changes
Michael P. Buffer - Citizens Voice
The Greater Nanticoke Area School District
is looking for a new high school principal to replace Long, Superintendent Ronald
Grevera said. The district has hired Sharon Baddick as principal of the Elementary
Center and Educational Center. She was assistant principal at Crestwood High School
and replaced Maryellen Scott, who retired.
The district is planing to expand
Kennedy Elementary School, which will be closed next year for renovations. Construction
is expected to begin at the end of this school year, Grevera said.
building will be for pre-K through 2nd grade. Its currently used for second
Nanticoke Area to put cameras on school buses
Susan Bettinger -
The Greater Nanticoke Area School Board
approved the monitoring of student activities on the district school buses at
The monitoring will consist of both audio and visual
cameras installed on the coaches.
Only Bob Raineri and Frank Shepanski, both
of whom were absent from the meeting, did not vote for the measure.
also approved policy changes that add cyber school attendance requirements. Cyber
school requirements previously had no minimum time of attendance. Beginning with
the new school year, the attendance requirement will be set at 2.5 hours per week
Kenneth James, of the athletic department, asks that anyone who
has knowledge of GNAs former athletes, contribute their information to the
Greater Nanticoke Areas Committee to Honor Past Athletes. James said that
he wants to make sure that no one is forgotten.
Ronald Grevera stated that how students dress needs to be discussed during the
August board meeting. Grevera added that many of the students need to begin dressing
in a more appropriate manner.
The board will meet next at 7 p.m.
on Aug. 13.
Area graduates 179
Eric Mark - Citizens Voice
Nanticoke Area High School Class of 2015 graduated on Thursday in the school auditorium,
in a ceremony so upbeat it almost felt like a pep rally.
The positive vibe
permeated the school hallways in the hour before the ceremony began, as keyed-up
soon-to-be graduates gathered to take photos and record videos with family and
We have a lot to look forward to, said Macey Pudlosky,
one of 179 Trojans in the graduating class.
Her friend and fellow graduate
Katelyn Downs agreed.
Downs, who said her future plans include college and
travel, described her time at Nanticoke High in three words: It was nice.
graduation speakers, both students and adults, continued the cheery theme.
Superintendent Ronald Grevera told the class not to fear the unknown as they head
off to new places, filled with new people and experiences.
He urged the graduates
to be climbers, people who are persistent, tenacious and resilient
and live their life to the fullest. He also told them to believe in
themselves and their self-worth.
Having self-esteem in our abilities
and talents is very important ... to be successful in this world, he said.
valedictorian Chrislyn Cabonilas said that each graduate here has the potential
to do great things.
Salutatorian Katie Sherman told her classmates to
carry Trojan pride with you wherever you go.
The Class of 2015
includes 33 members of the National Honor Society.
The ceremony was broadcast
live to those who gathered in the school cafeteria after being turned away from
the auditorium, where every seat was filled.
Nanticoke Area plans $8.9M school expansion
Michael P. Buffer -
Greater Nanticoke Area School District plans
to close K.M. Smith Elementary School and spend almost $8.9 million expanding
The school board approved the plan Thursday and expects
a state reimbursement of more than $3.1 million. The district needed to make a
decision soon because the state is imposing a July 1 moratorium on the PlanCon
state funding process for school construction projects.
K.M. Smith currently
hosts kindergarten, pre-K and first grade classes and is the only district facility
not on the district campus off Kosciuszko Street in Nanticoke.
on Robert Street in the Sheatown section of Nanticoke and also is the districts
oldest facility. It dates back to 1930 and has structural deficiencies, including
not being compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
plans to borrow money to fund the
$8 million expansion of Kennedy, which currently
is only used for second grade, Superintendent Ronald Grevera said. After the expansion
is done by August 2017, Kennedy will be used for kindergarten, pre-K and first
The elementary center, which is currently for grades 3, 4 and 5, will
be realigned for grades 2 through 4. The education center will go from grades
6 and 7 to grades 5 through 7. The high school will remain for grades 8-12.
district will review its options in the near future on what to do with the K.M.
Smith property, school board President Ryan Verazin said.
The school board
in March voted to pay EI Associate Architects $10,000 to conduct a building feasibility
study. The completed study included two other options rejected by the board: spending
more than $13 million to renovate both K.M. Smith and Kennedy; and closing K.M.
Smith and spending more than
$16 million to build a new school on land by the
Nanticoke Area school expansion approved
new school, but J.F. Kennedy would be expanded and K.M. Smith closed under a plan
approved by the Greater Nanticoke Area School Board at a special meeting Thursday.
If the proposal moves forward, its estimated to cost the district about
$5 million, with ground broken this time next year.
The total is estimated
at about $8 million but were expecting about $3 million reimbursement from
the state, Superintendent Ronald Grevera said of the choice made after reviewing
proposals in a $10,000 district-wide feasibility study.
The state reimbursement
is a key reason the board held a special meeting to vote on an option. Gov. Tom
Wolf has proposed a moratorium on the reimbursement program, known as PlanCon,
and the state Department of Education has advised that any district hoping for
state money should submit initial paperwork, known as PlanCon Part A, by July
Wilkes-Barre Area School District is facing the same deadline, though with
a much steeper price tag, on its high school project, most recently estimated
to cost as much as $100 million. That board has narrowed choices to building one
or two new schools on the sites where Coughlin and Meyers high schools currently
sit, and expects to make a final choice as early as this Wednesday.
Nanticoke feasibility study by EI Associates offered three options for elementary
schools (there were also options to partially or fully renovate the high school):
Renovate K.M. Smith for pre-kindergarten through first grade and Kennedy for second
grade for a total cost of $13.16 million, about $8.4 million after state reimbursement.
Close Smith, renovate Kennedy with additional classrooms, and build a new pre-k
through first grade school on land by the high school for a cost of about $16.26
million, $11.5 million after reimbursement.
Close Smith and expand Kennedy
to hold the students, the option selected. The expansion would occur primarily
at the front of the building along Kosciuszko Street, eliminating a small parking
lot but creating a courtyard surrounded by the school.
Grevera said option
three made the most sense not only because it was the least expensive, but because
it would merge all the schools onto a single campus-like setting,
It also provides rooms for pre-kindergarten, assuming talk in Harrisburg about
providing money for such classes becomes a reality.
We know the research
shows the earlier you help students the better, and in our community with 60 percent
of our students eligible for free or reduced lunches, it makes sense to get started
on that, Grevera said.
If money doesnt become available, the school
could still be used to house other grades.
Eliminating one building also cuts
down on the transitions children must make as they move up the grades.
Kennedy houses only second grade, meaning students must transition to the building
for a single year before moving to the elementary center. The plan would allow
the school to house pre-k to first grade or kindergarten to second, with the other
elementary grades split between the elementary and educational centers.
an educational standpoint thats a very good thing, Grevera said, noting
research suggests more transitions reduce academic achievement.
The pre-k rooms
would each have their own restrooms so students wouldnt have to leave the
Along with the threat of a state moratorium on construction renovation,
theres another reason to do something now: Interest rates on borrowing are
And while state predictions frequently proven unreliable in this
area suggest the district may see an increase in enrollment, Grevera said
it looks like a small rise followed by some reductions, so a change in demand
for more space seems unlikely.
If everything goes the right way, this
time next year we should be breaking ground, Grevera said. The feasibility
study estimates construction could wrap up by August 2017.