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District: Governor’s Visit Gave Us Chance to Share Views

By Richard Finch Jr.
The Tube City Almanac
September 27, 2019
Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s visit this month to Twin Rivers Elementary gave McKeesport Area School District a chance to share its views on charter schools, Superintendent Mark Holtzman said.

During Wednesday’s school board meeting, Holtzman discussed the Sept. 4 joint news conference with Wolf.

“We were able to talk about some of the things that need to change when it comes to charter schools,” Holtzman said.

At the press conference, Wolf discussed charter school reform including what he called a “fee-for-service model,” that will charge charter schools to resolve payment disputes with local districts, enabling the Pennsylvania Department of Education to recoup costs they are currently incurring from charter schools.

Advocates of the governor’s plan claim it will allow more tax dollars to go toward education.

Holtzman said McKeesport Area School District spends about $7 million on charter school payments for 600 district students who attend either brick-and-mortar or cyber charter schools.

Tiger Fest, Homecoming Slated: Holtzman announced Tiger Fest will be held from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the high school gymnasium on Oct. 2.

Homecoming will begin with a tailgate party at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 5. Former alumni of the cheerleading, dance team, band and color guard will be honored during the homecoming event.

The homecoming parade is at 12:15 p.m. and kick-off against the Indiana Indians is at 1 p.m. Oct. 5.

In other business, the school board approved:

A professional agreement with Catapult Learning, LLC, through June 30, 2020 for support services at Queen of Angels Catholic School; and a professional agreement with Allegheny Intermediate Unit through June 30, 2020 for support services for Hillcrest Christian, Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh, Mary of Nazareth Catholic School, St. Benedict the Moor Catholic School, St. Therese Catholic School and Sister Thea Bowman Catholic Academy.

A subcontract with registered nurse Donna Maguire to provide Nurse Liaison Services for the UPMC/McKeesport Area School District Allied Health Partnership, effective Sept. 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020, contingent upon final agreement.

An agreement with Propel McKeesport Charter School for a five-year period beginning July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2025, subject to the condition that Propel continue to work with district officials to assure the district is only being assessed tuition for McKeesport Area School District resident students.

The hiring of Alex Jenkins effective Oct. 10, 2019 for the position of math teacher at Founders’ Hall at a pro-rated salary of $41,778; Sarah Simsic effective August 16, 2019 for the position of Special Education Teacher at Twin Rivers Elementary at a pro-rated salary of $41,778.

Richard Finch Jr. is a freelance writer who covers news from McKeesport Area School District and North Versailles Twp. for Tube City Almanac. He may be reached at

Originally published September 27, 2019.

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