Latest News

Elementary Instrument Informational Meeting – Sept. 3

8/27/2015. Filed under Press Releases.

Fourth grade students in the Moon Area School District have the opportunity to do what many successful students have done in the past, play an instrument!

Parents of fourth graders are encouraged to attend the Elementary Instrument Informational Meeting for Parents at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015, in the high school auditorium.

At the meeting, elementary instrumental music faculty will provide a brief overview of the process of selecting an instrument, options on renting/purchasing an instrument as well as a brief overview of the entire instrumental music program at MASD. 

Parents and fourth grade students are encouraged to attend.

Board of Education Meeting: Monday, Aug. 24 | Agenda

8/21/2015.

Click here to view the School Board agenda for Monday, Aug. 24, 2015.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Board Room, located within the central administrative offices.

Next meeting:

  • Monday, Sept. 14, 2015 - Work Session Meeting

Complete list of 2015 meeting dates

Meeting minutes

Latest Elementary Capital Improvement Program updates

8/13/2015. Filed under Press Releases.

 

  • June 9, 2015: Community Briefing from Monday, June 8, 2015
    Note: The next briefing will take place at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, June 24, 2015, in the administration center board room.
  • June 4, 2015: Project schedules have been added to the website: Allard | Brooks
  • May 28, 2015: PDFs of construction contracts have been added to the website. click here to view

Click here for more information.

Revised 2015-16 MASD Calendar

8/12/2015. Filed under Press Releases.

Moon Area School District has delayed the start of the 2015-16 school year by one week in order to allow more time for construction progress at Allard and Brooks elementary schools. The first day of school for students is Monday, Aug. 24, 2015. For middle and high school students, this will be a normal school day. Elementary Orientation has been rescheduled for Monday, Aug. 24 for students in kindergarten through grade 4 – following the same structure as previously planned.

The five student days will be made up through a combination of instructional days and Act 80 days. Act 80 days, for the purposes of state reporting, count as student days; however, they do not count for instructional hours. Pennsylvania requires at least 180 school days with a minimum of 990 hours for secondary students and 900 hours for elementary.

Th
e make-up days are scheduled as follows:

  • Thursday, Aug. 20: An in-service day will be converted to an Act 80 day. Students do not attend.
  • Monday, Oct. 12: An in-service day will be converted to an instructional day for students. The in-service day for teachers is rescheduled for May 31.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 3:  An in-service day will be converted to an instructional day for students. The in-service day for teachers is rescheduled for June 1.
  • Tuesday, May 31: An Act 80 day has been added, which will replace the teacher in-service day from Oct. 12. Students do not attend.
  • Wednesday, June 1:  An Act 80 day has been added, which will replace the teacher in-service day from Nov. 3. Students do not attend.

Every effort was made to preserve the previously scheduled breaks as well as the June 3, 2016, graduation date.

The in-service and clerical day schedule for teachers and staff has been postponed by exactly one week. Convocation will begin at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 19, in the middle school auditorium. The in-service schedule for Wednesday afternoon and Thursday will continue as previously planned and the teachers’ clerical day will occur on Friday, Aug. 21.


2015-16 Revised Calendar

Partial agreement reached in teacher’s contact

8/10/2015. Filed under Press Releases.

The Moon Area School Board and the Moon Education Association, which represents the district’s more than 300 teachers, reached a partial agreement that settles financial issues, including salary and benefits, as well as several other items. Both parties approved the partial agreement on Aug. 10, 2015.

The term of the agreement is retroactive to July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2020 – contingent upon reaching agreement on all remaining items by Oct. 30, 2015. If the district and MEA fail to make a pact by the deadline, the contract will expire on June 30, 2016, and all items will need to be renegotiated. 

“This innovative agreement provides assurances to our community and our teachers that both sides are sincere in their commitment to reaching a long-term agreement that meets the needs of all parties, including our taxpayers,” Superintendent Curt Baker said. “This has been an extremely difficult negotiation. We have arrived at the point where we believe we can get through the year and we’ll continue to negotiate in good faith to reach an accord on the issues that remain.”

Under the new agreement, teacher salaries will increase incrementally between 3.52 and 3.9 percent annually. In addition, employee contributions to health care will gradually increase from 8.4 percent to 10 percent of the premium over the life of the contract.

Moon Area teachers have been working under the terms and conditions of the contract that expired on June 30, 2015. Negotiations between the district and teachers began in January 2015.

Moon welcomes new athletic director

8/10/2015. Filed under Press Releases.

Moon Area School District welcomes Justin Hickey as director of athletics and activities. The school board approved the appointment during its regular meeting on Monday, Aug. 10, 2015. 

“Justin Hickey brings extensive experience in athletic administration, facility management, event operations, student-athlete management, organizational management and coaching,” Curt Baker, superintendent of schools, said. “Moon Area School District and, most importantly, our students will benefit greatly from his focus on player and coach development.”

Mr. Hickey recently completed his doctoral studies in educational leadership at Clemson University and is currently working on his dissertation. While at Clemson, he was an adjunct faculty member, teaching courses in coaching, and served as managing editor for “Coach and Athlete in Education” magazine, written for high school athletic directors. In addition, as head coach of the university’s rugby team, he led the program to Atlantic Coast Conference Championships in 2013 and 2014. He was recently named Varsity Cup Coach of the Year by his fellow coaches.

“I have a deep passion for developing coaches and student athletes through strong core values,” Mr. Hickey said. “I am excited about the tradition at Moon Area School District, the continued growth and the opportunity to be a part of it now and in the future.”

Mr. Hickey has been widely involved in player and coach development on local, regional, national and international levels with both high school and collegiate athletes. He has worked as an assistant coach for USA Rugby Collegiate All Americans; team manager for the USA Rugby U20 Junior National team; and is the founder and director of Nike Evolution Rugby camps.

This marks at least the fifth WPIAL athletic director to emerge from collegiate athletics. Chartiers Valley’s athletic director, Angela Potthoff, came from Notre Dame, where she served as associate director of operations and technology for the women's basketball team. North Hills’ Dr. Kevin Deitrick was the assistant director for student services in the Duquesne University athletic department. Quaker Valley’s Mike Mastroianni previously served as assistant athletic director for Carnegie Mellon University. Heather Lewis, athletic director for Seneca Valley, is the former head field hockey coach at Bucknell University.

“The role of the high school athletic director has evolved dramatically over the last several years,” Mr. Baker said. “In addition to leading an emerging WPIAL AAAA athletic department, Justin will play an important role within the community as he collaborates and coordinates with numerous individuals and organizations that utilize our facilities and serve our residents.”

“Perhaps the most significant change will be Justin’s involvement in preparing our student athletes for post-secondary opportunities,” Mr. Baker added. “His experience in collegiate athletics is invaluable as students and families seek guidance in college preparedness, the recruiting cycle, athletic scholarships and NCAA guidelines.”

Prior to his time at Clemson, Mr. Hickey served as head rugby coach at Davenport University and as director of athletics for Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Grand Rapids, Mich.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and personal financial planning from Central Michigan University and a master’s degree in education and school counseling from Grand Valley State University in Michigan.

Michigan natives, Mr. Hickey and his wife, Sarah, have a pre-school aged daughter, Payton. They will be relocating to the Pittsburgh area.

Board of Education Meeting: Monday, Aug. 10 | Agenda

8/7/2015.

Click here to view the School Board agenda for Monday, Aug. 10, 2015.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Board Room, located within the central administrative offices.

Next meeting:

  • Monday, Aug. 24, 2015 - Regular Board Meeting

Complete list of 2015 meeting dates

Meeting minutes

Back-to-School Information

8/7/2015. Filed under Press Releases.

Back-to-School Photos



Busing Information

During the first week of each school year buses tend to run late (sometimes up to 30 minutes) - especially the elementary buses in the afternoon. Our school staff will be taking extra time and care at dismissal to ensure that our students board the correct bus in the afternoon. Each day you should see a gradual improvement as we inch closer to the target arrival time.

As primary (k-2) and intermediate students (3-4) will be riding the same buses, primary students will receive color-coded backpack tags to ensure they get off the bus at the appropriate school.

Questions or concerns regarding transportation can be addressed to Sally Currie, transportation coordinator, via email at
scurrie@moonarea.net or call 412-264-9440 ext. 1131. 

Your patience and understanding are much appreciated.



After-School Care:  On-site after school care services are available daily in each of the elementary schools until 6:30 p.m. through the Sewickley Valley YMCA for students needing supervision beyond the pick-up window. For more information regarding after school services, please contact Amee Kuzniarski at 412-741-9622 ext. 133 or Lisa Black at 412-741-9622 ext. 144 at the YMCA.



School Supplies: Other than backpacks and lunch boxes, Moon Area School District provides most basic school supplies. However, many teachers request special items – this information is often sent home on the first day of school. Lists that have been shared with us are linked below and we will add information as it is received:



High School Laptops
: Moon Area High School offers a 1-1 computer program in which students will receive a laptop for school use. In order to receive this computer, students must turn in a completed and signed AUA agreement and insurance agreement along with $40. This paperwork and additional information will be distributed during the first three days of school.



Food Services:  Click the links below for the menus for August-September.

Moon Area School District offers breakfast and lunch each day at a cost of $1.50 for breakfast, $2.85 for elementary lunch and $3.00 for secondary lunch. Those who qualify can receive these meals for free or at a reduced price. Click here for information regarding free and reduced lunch. Parents have the ability to pay online and manage their child’s account, including spending history, low-balance notification, and spending limit settings. 

There is no fee to enroll or to view cafeteria account balances/statements. A $1.95 convenience fee is charged for each online payment made via www.parentonline.net. Fees can be avoided by sending payment (cash or checks made payable to Moon Area Food Service Fund) to the school to be deposited in the student’s account. For those who are unable to access www.parentonline.net, balance inquiries and account statements are available by contacting Christie Leininger, director of food services, at cleininger@moonarea.net or calling 412-264-9440 ext. 1129.



Stay Informed:  If you’ve not done so already, families are encouraged to sign up for the district’s email newsletter. Click here to subscribe. Information regarding district news, upcoming events, etc. is sent at least weekly.


 

Should you have any concern about your child’s school, please contact the building principal:

School district files suit against Moon Transportation Authority

8/5/2015. Filed under Press Releases.

Moon Area School District filed a civil complaint against the Moon Transportation Authority in order to recoup approximately $3.5 million of school district revenues. In addition, the school district filed an injunction to prohibit MTA from expending funds on the unauthorized Thorn Run Repair Project. The lawsuit and injunction were filed on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015, in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division.

“We have tried diligently to amicably resolve issues with MTA for the last two years but these efforts have been met with contempt, obstruction and avoidance,” Superintendent Curt Baker said. “While the school district has worked to improve efficiencies and reduce annual operating costs, MTA has accumulated a fund balance that exceeds that of the school district. We remain committed to settling these issues amicably as long as it’s done in good faith on both sides.”

The school district believes that MTA improperly amassed more than $5 million that should be returned to the three contributing entities – Moon Township, Allegheny County and Moon Area School District. Throughout the last year, the school district presented multiple settlement proposals to resolve the issue. However, the MTA has refused all offers.

“We are extremely disappointed with the lack of cooperation. We have worked on multiple proposals throughout the last year and believed that we had reached an amicable resolution that is in the best interest of our taxpayers and community,” Mr. Baker said. “Instead of celebrating an agreement, the transportation authority has opted to create further frustration and conflict.”

The Moon Transportation Authority was established in 1986 to promote economic and infrastructure development. Projects have been funded through a Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance Act deal; whereby, debt is repaid by property tax revenue generated by improvements and new development. These are property tax revenues that otherwise would have supported the school district, township and county. The LERTA has provided approximately $500,000 in annual revenue to MTA.

"This matter, though complicated, boils down to one simple fact. Over the years, the MTA has diverted from the schools, township and county more money than was needed to complete agreed-upon projects,” Mr. Baker said. “MTA is not only refusing to refund what they haven't used, but also is demanding that additional funds be diverted."

In addition to the original 20-year LERTA, Moon Area School District entered into a 10-year extension agreement and a sunset agreement to fund specific projects approved by the district. The 10-year extension agreement, approved in January 1991, provided funding for improvements at the Hookstown Grade Interchange, Flaugherty Run Fly Over Ramps, McLaughlin (Air Cargo) Interchange, and/or Beers School Road Interchange. According to the complaint, since the passage of the 10-Year Extension Agreement, MTA has completed three projects, only two of which were among the approved projects listed in the agreement.

In February 2007, the school board approved a Sunset Provision for the Thorn Run Transportation District to Dec. 21, 2021, to accommodate the development of the Cherrington Parkway Extension Project. Although approved by the school district in 2007, work began in July 2005 and was completed in 2008. The Cherrington Parkway extension project was not among the four authorized projects in the 10-Year extension that was approved by the school district in 1991.

Since the completion of the Cherrington Parkway Extension project in 2008, MTA has not broken ground on any new projects. However, according to MTA’s financial statements, it has continued to pay significant amounts of professional fees and interest on existing debts despite the fact that it had sufficient funds to pay off all debts and the fact that it was not working on any of the 10-Year Extension approved projects.

According to the complaint, from 2008 to 2013, MTA spent a total of $2,556,359 on operating expenses, including $1,202,285 on engineering fees, $296,447 in legal and professional fees, and $413,241 on government relations fees. During the same time period, the MTA has spent more than $850,000 on interest payments attributable to debt obligations – despite the fact that MTA had the financial means necessary to pay off all of its debt.

Due to its fiscal concerns, the school district employed a third party auditor to perform a forensic audit of MTA in order to thoroughly examine MTA’s financial activities since 2008. However, according to the complaint, MTA would not grant access to any documentation, all of which qualify as public records under Pennsylvania’s Right to Know Law. 

“Elected representatives are expected to be good stewards of taxpayer funds,” Mr. Baker said. “However, the Moon Transportation Authority refuses to be responsible to its primary funding source.”

In its suit, the district alleges that “according to MTA’s balance sheets, despite the MTA’s representations that it required the five-year sunset term in order to pay for the Cherrington Parkway Extension project, as of 2008 when the project was completed, the MTA had sufficient funds on hand to pay off any debt attributable to the Cherrington Parkway Extension project and all other debt it held at that time.”

To date, the only potential project that MTA has discussed is a possible repair and reconfiguration of the Thorn Run Road Interchange. However, the school district contends that this is in not an approved project under the existing 10-year extension nor does it meet the intent of a LERTA project as it will not result in growth of the district’s tax base.

Moon Area School District first sought to terminate its participation in the LERTA in July 2013. The school board passed a termination resolution, which stated that “having determined that all transportation facility projects authorized by the Moon Area School District for the MTA have been completed and the MTA has the financial ability to pay all outstanding debt service costs and expenses, the provisions of the Moon LERTA are declared null and void immediately upon adoption of the Termination Resolution.” The resolution ordered MTA to pay off all outstanding debts and obligations and refund any appropriate remainder to the district. However, MTA refused to recognize the termination resolution.

In August 2014, the school district offered the following settlement proposal: 

  1. MTA will settle promptly all of its outstanding debt obligations.
  2. If there are any liabilities or potential liabilities that cannot be resolved immediately, funds sufficient to cover these liabilities will be placed into an escrow account. If funds are left over after these matters are resolved and payment is made from the escrow account, the remainder will be added to MTA’s Fund Balance.
  3. A portion of the remainder of MTA funds may be used to fund the Thorn Run Interchange project so long as the scope of the project is defined as part of the final settlement between the parties.
  4. All future tax diversion from MASD to MTA will cease; however, if the Thorn Run Interchange project exceeds the MTA fund balance, then amounts not diverted will be available to the project so long as MASD is not the sole funder of cost overruns. If the project costs do not exceed the MTA fund balance, then any remaining balance will be returned to the school district, township and county, proportionate to their respective tax diversions.
  5. MASD will consider participation in future infrastructure projects; however, MASD funding will require the following:
    • The MASD Board votes in a public meeting to participate in such projects
    • MASD participating is on a single-project basis.
    • Funds contributed in excess of project costs are refunded to MASA
    • Representation on each project’s governing entity includes (i) the possibility of representation from both Moon and Crescent townships and (ii) MASD has appropriate representation on the governing entity’s board. (Note that the MTA, as presently constituted, does not allow Crescent Township residents to serve on the MTA Board even though Moon Area School District serves both communities.)

To date, MTA has refused all attempts at compromise. School district and MTA officials continued meeting throughout the spring with no progress being made. On July 20, 2015, the school board passed a resolution halting the diversion of all tax revenues to MTA under the LERTA.


McCormick teacher honored as hero

8/5/2015. Filed under Press Releases.

A McCormick Elementary teacher has been selected as the 2015 Heroes Breakfast Educator Award winner. Fourth grade teacher Lauren McCutcheon will be honored at the seventh annual Heroes Breakfast on Thursday, Sept. 24, at The Rivertowne Brewing Hall of Fame Club in PNC Park.

The Heroes Breakfast, a program of the American Red Cross of Southwestern Pennsylvania, was established to raise public awareness of local heroes and volunteers who carry out the mission of the Red Cross every day. Since the inaugural event seven years ago, the local American Red Cross has celebrated more than 30 extraordinary individuals who have made a personal commitment to creating safer and stronger communities and providing help when disaster strikes.

The Educator Award recognizes an individual from the field of education who went above and beyond his or her work, particularly someone who exemplified the Red Cross mission. Miss McCutcheon was nominated by Dr. Julie Moore, McCormick Elementary School principal.

“Lauren McCutcheon meets and greets our entire student body each morning at our school, as she makes sure students in kindergarten through fourth grade are ready to begin their day, learning, exploring and growing,” Dr. Moore said. “She is the student council sponsor, Study Island facilitator, and an academic coach for reading and literacy.”

In addition, Dr. Moore praised Miss McCutcheon’s commitment to helping others far beyond the classroom walls as a key reason for her nomination.

“Lauren extended her talents, kindness to others, and goodwill as she mentored and spent time fundraising for St. Jude’s including organizing Quarter Wars, Pink Out Day, and Green Out Day,” Dr. Moore said. “Miss McCutcheon also started a school store where students could by items, with proceeds benefiting St. Jude’s, and had our fourth grade students participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.”

Last fall, Miss McCutcheon and McCormick Elementary students participated in the St. Jude Give Thanks Walk and presented a check for $1,000 to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The following awards will be presented at the 2015 Heroes Breakfast: Educator, Firefighter, Good Samaritan, Lifetime Commitment to the Red Cross, Medical Professional, Military, Professional Responder and Youth.

For more information about the 2015 Heroes Breakfast, please contact Karianne Fischbach at 412-263-3166 or Karianne.Fischbach@RedCross.org.

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