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Norwin school director resigns, rips administration

September 7, 2018

A member of the Norwin School Board resigned this week -- but not without first ripping the administration for failing to cut expenditures in a preliminary budget that the school board initially rejected.

First-term school director Shawn Petrisko claimed “the administration did nothing to that (preliminary) budget” to cut a $71.1 million budget the board rejected 5-4 on May 21. The board adopted a preliminary budget in the same amount on May 30.

Petrisko, who does financial planning and analysis for a steel company, claimed administrators showed “a lack of respect to the board” by failing to cut expenses in the rejected budget proposal.

The district’s final 2018-19 budget was $70.9 million.

Superintendent William Kerr disagreed with Petrisko’s assessment, saying the administration “did its best to move that budget” from a 3 percent deficit to 1 percent in the black. The budget raises taxes by 3.1 percent.

The school board has 30 days to appoint a replacement for Petrisko, whose term expires in December 2019. If it is unable to approve a replacement, a Westmoreland County judge will make the appointment.

Personnel move criticized

A Norwin parent, Lori Kukich, claimed the school board “lied” when it approved the reassignment of Lisa Banasick from an assistant principal position at both Hillcrest Intermediate and the Norwin Middle schools to a new position as associate director of special education.

The board assigned Banasick in June to the assistant principal post at both schools during a packed meeting at the Norwin Middle School. Banasick will be paid $113,336 in her new position.

Teachers affected by the reassignment “were back-stabbed and lied to” when the announcement was made last week during a teacher in-service day that Banasick was being reassigned, Kukich said.

The board designated Troy Collier as the assistant principal for both schools, requiring him to split his time between the two buildings. Collier will be paid $118,601 this school year.

In June, Collier, who had been middle school assistant principal for several years, was furloughed from that job and reassigned as a middle school social studies teacher.

“I don’t feel we lied to anybody,” Robert Perkins, board president, said, noting that circumstances had changed since June.

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