April 16, 2013 | Vol. 94, No. 89

Students, parents hope board keeps two staff members despite budget

HURLEY — The Hurley School Board heard pleas from students and parents Monday to keep two staff members employed next school year despite district budget concerns.

Cortney Ofstad/Daily Globe
MIKE FONTECCHIO takes the oath to become a new school board member Monday.

Chris Tweiten and Nicole Giancola-Routheaux may have their jobs terminated before the 2013-’14 school year, according to school officials.

“Mr. Tweiten is more than just the (cross country) coach or teacher,” high school student Athena Butkiewicz said. “He is an extraordinary person who is always there when students need him. He relates to students more than many other teachers in the school.”

Parent John Sokol spoke on behalf of both teachers, saying that because of Giancola-Routheaux, his kids are excited about the library.

“Never before have my kids spoke about the library,” Sokol said. “In my eyes, cutting them is unfair. Teachers should be the last on the list to cut.”

District administrator Chris Patritto said the decision rests on what type the state budget.

“I have to bring a balanced budget before this board,” Patritto said. “These are tough decisions, and not one person would disagree with everything you all have said, but we don’t know what’s going to happen this summer with the state budget. We have to make more cuts, depending on our funding.”

No action was taken on either of the positions.

New board member

Hurley resident Mike Fontecchio took the oath as a newly elected member of the board. He replaces Perry Elsemore after defeating him in the spring election.

“Congratulations to Mike, and also the board wants to recognize Perry on his nine years of service on the board. The district is in your debt,” board president Joe Simonich said.

Project bids

The board reviewed five bids for painting the elementary hallways and doors. A motion was made to select the low bidder, however it received no support.

No other motions were made for the project.

“This is an unusual proceeding,” Simonich said.

The board also reviewed two bids for fixing the lights at Veterans Memorial Field. The bids were tabled to get better prices.

Patritto told the board about the possibility of installing a sprinkler system at the field. He said an unnamed resident will install the system for free and the only cost will be the materials.

“The cost is around $11,000, and the Booster Club said it would contribute one-third and the Hurley Quarterback Club will contribute one-third,” Patritto said. “They are asking if the board would contribute the other one-third.”

No action was taken on Patritto’s comments.

Simonich said the project would be discussed during next month’s meeting, once Patritto “nails down some figures.”

Other business

The school board approved the school calendar for 2013-’14, pending the addition of the half-day in-services.