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Toronto board hires two teachers

November 23, 2013
By MARK J. MILLER - Staff writer ( , The Herald-Star

TORONTO - The hiring of two district teachers was discussed during the city school board's Thursday meeting at Karaffa Middle School.

Hired were Leah Giannandrea as a first-grade teacher and John Stevens as special education teacher, according to Fred Burns, district superintendent.

"Both are being paid by the federal government for a one-year contract," said Burns. "No district funds are being used (for the hirings)."

Burns noted the hiring of Giannandrea will reduce the first-grade class size, and it now will be split into three sections.

"We think that will really help reduce class size," he said. "It will go from a single class of 63 to 21 in each class.

"We anticipated 43 (pupils) in first grade this year," Burns continued. "But with open enrollment we now have 63 enrolled in first grade. About half of those are from (outside the district)."

Stevens will be an intervention specialist at both the junior/senior high school and Karaffa, said Burns.

"These positions will last as long as the need exists," he said.

In other matters:

The board approved payment for the 2013-14 school year for students to receive college credits. The cost is by semester, and the first payment is $6,160 for 15 Toronto High School students taking one or more classes the first semester, according to Burns.

"We have students here taking college courses at the high school," said Burns. "This year we're offering college courses here at the high school in Spanish and English composition. Students here can receive as many as 30 college credits while still in high school."

Burns said the district pays for the classes to Eastern Gateway Community College, with a percentage of funds later reimbursed by the college back to the district.

"It's a win-win for our students and the college," he added.

"The board is going to pay for two students to go to the Close-Up program in Washington, D.C., this year," said Burns, adding the Educational Service Center also is paying for a student to attend. "We have 12 students attending this year. That's the most we've had in a long time."

The resignation of Bill Stone as social studies department head was accepted by the board.

The board approved the purchase of a used lift for $5,000 from United Rental to be purchased by the district and reimbursed by the bond issue for maintenance.

The board accepted the following persons as substitute teachers from the coming year: Dana Rex, general education; Adrena Snyder, short-term substitute; Shirley Miller, short-term substitute; and Amy Barcus, visual art.

The board approved Mark Ferrell as assistant baseball coach; and Jim Cicchirillo as senior high assistant boys basketball coach.

The board approved Sheri Cronin as substitute instructional aide for the 2013-14 school year.

Board members received a letter of thanks from pupil Noah Long for the support the district has shown him and his family during his illness. He is the son of Katie Long, district nurse.

The next board meeting will be at 5 p.m. on Dec. 19 in the Karaffa Middle School library.

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