Stimulus money and reserve funds will help a deficit of nearly $1 million in the Northgate School District’s proposed 2009-10 budget.

According to Northgate superintendent Dr. Reggie Bonfield, the proposed budget shows expenditures of about $19.1 million and revenues of about $18.2 million, leaving a deficit of $960,167.

Bonfield said that he hopes to recover some of that deficit with the anticipated federal stimulus money and that the district will transfer the remaining money from the reserve funds rather than increasing the property tax millage rate.


Dozens of police officers from multiple jurisdictions surrounded a Division Avenue home in Bellevue for more than four hours Tuesday evening, only to find that the robbery suspect believed to be inside had gotten away -- but not for long.


It was a bad week for trees in Ben Avon.

On Sunday, a large tree on Ohio River Boulevard fell over, reportedly due to being rotted, onto a vehicle. No one was injured.

Monday night, a tree on Church Avenue near Virginia Avenue also fell, this one blocking the street and causing a power outage when wires were pulled from a transformer.

Ben Avon Volunteer Fire Co. responded to both incidents.



A former member of the Northgate School Board, now living in the Avonworth School District, urged the school board Monday to find alternatives to a planned .75 mill property tax increase.

"In the current economic times we are facing, it is critical every step is taken to avoid the simplistic view of just increasing the tax rate," said former Northgate School Board finance chairman Keith Egyed. "I would stress that you find a way not to increase taxes."


Northgate officials have long lamented the fact that some $160,000 is spent each year to cover the tuition of district students who attend cyber charter schools rather than Northgate’s own facilities. The expenditure of stimulus funds for special education students, however, could open a door that will close off that drain on the district’s budget.


The Avonworth School Board approved, at its regular meeting on April 13, a contract with Williams-Scotsman for two modular classrooms.

The trailers will allow the district to handle an overflow of students at the elementary school while officials decide how best to expand the school permanently.

The district will pay $165,000 over the term of a four-year lease, then pay $1 to purchase the classrooms, according to director of fiscal management Brad Waters.


Avonworth School Board approved the purchase of 17 new textbooks for the 2009-10 school year at its regular meeting on April 13.

The total cost of the new books is $97,413.25.


Avonworth School Board has approved the creation of three new teaching positions for the 2009-10 school year.

At the board meeting on April 13, a full-time elementary school teaching position and a global studies and communications position were authorized, both by a vote of 8-1, with board member Jeff Schmid voting against both.


Northgate School Board Fine Arts Committee chair Shirl Reinhart announced Monday that next year’s Art Odyssey will be held on a Friday evening for the first time.

Speaking at the school board’s committee of the whole meeting on April 13, Reinhart said that teachers had asked for the switch from Saturday to Friday.

The theme for next year’s event will be “In The News.”


With Avonworth High School’s unused metal shop equipment on its way out, the school board has authorized a contract with an architect to reconfigure the empty space.

The district will enter into a contract with Timothy Morgan to redesign the area. He will be paid $9,800.

Although the motion was approved unanimously, some board members voiced concerns. Board members Lynn Evans McGrath and Marybeth Sommers agreed that it seemed that the board had rushed the decisions to get rid of the shop equipment and redesign the room.


After talking to other school administrators and considering several factors, Northgate School District’s superintendent is now recommending that the the start time for classes not be changed.


Solicitor William Andrews told Avonworth School Board members at their April 13 meeting that delinquent tax collection has increased from last year.

Andrews said that $18,000 more was collected this year.

Andrews also said that the district's tax assessment program is moving forward and has resulted in 68 new residential assessment appeals for the 2009 year. Appeals are filed when the sale of a home is more than $15,000 higher than the assessed value, he said.


Bellevue police arrested two people on March 19, after officers responded to a report of a vehicle being broken into on South Harrison Avenue. Nathan Bane, 27, of Cliff Avenue, and Danielle Skovran, 23, of Teece Avenue, were arrested and face various charges, including theft, receiving stolen property and criminal conspiracy.

A vehicle on Madison Avenue was reported vandalized on March 18. A 17-year old male was cited for criminal mischief in the incident.

A bicycle was reported stolen from a home on Grant Avenue on March 22. The bicycle was recovered a short time later.


History comes from any number of sources -- good teachers, good books, the History Channel. And sometimes it comes directly from those who lived it. Students in Jeff Boggess’s U.S. History classes at Avonworth High School recently completed a project that made them the historians as they interviewed individuals who experienced World War II, both as civilians and as military personnel.

Now in its fourth year, the project parallels class study that includes discussion and debate of the more controversial aspects of the war, such as the dropping of the atomic bomb and Japanese internment.


The Kilbuck Township Supervisors have accepted recommendations by the township's planning commission that will slightly ease restrictions on how property can be used within a proposed "municipal and fire overlay district."

The district was created after Kilbuck's zoning board denied a variance that would have allowed the fire station on Eicher Road to be sold and used as a commercial property. Currently, all property along Eicher is zoned for residential use only.


A vote by Ben Avon Council to have new playground equipment installed at Avon Park turned into a motion to dissolve the lease for the park between Ben Avon Borough and Kilbuck Township.


Northgate and Avonworth school districts will receive hundreds of thousands of dollars as a part of President Barack Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that was signed into law on Feb. 17. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), at least $2.6 billion of the stimulus funds will be allocated to Pennsylvania's schools.


PennDOT District 11 is advising motorists that various lane closures and restrictions will occur nightly on Route 65 (Ohio River Boulevard) in the Borough of Avalon, beginning on Monday, March 23.


Two residents of Kendall Avenue reported Aug. 13 that their vehicles had been broken into during the night.

An Irwin Avenue resident also reported the same day that her vehicle had been broken into during the night and items had been stolen.

Charles Miles, 21, of Walnut Street, Pittsburgh, was arrested Aug. 13 on a narcotics charge after officers responded to a report of a fight on Lincoln Avenue.


The project manager responsible for overseeing two Bellevue construction projects explained recent problems that have arisen and apologized to residents for weekend disruptions during a special meeting of Bellevue Council on Thursday, May 13. The bottom line, however, is that the cost of the projects will push closer to the $1 million mark.


Bellevue Council has voted to appeal to the state legislature to legalize pre-lien interest and penalties after it recently was revealed that the borough has been illegally charging such fees for decades on garbage and delinquent sewage accounts.


A new assistant code enforcement officer (CEO) for the Borough of Bellevue was hired at Council’s May 4 meeting after two executive sessions were held to interview candidates for the position.

Hired was James Delcroix of Bellevue, who CEO Mike Lutz said recently returned to his hometown after working in Texas. According to Lutz, Delcroix has an extensive background in lighting and related electrical matters.

The hiring of Delcroix was approved by Council in an 8-1 vote, with Council member Joe Scioscia opposed to the hiring of any additional full-time employees by the borough.


The Avonworth School District has announced the receipt of a $1,000 grant to be used in the District’s English as a Second Language (ESL) program.

"Our ESL program is steadily growing," commented Superintendent Dr. Valerie McDonald, "and we are honored and grateful to have received this grant."

The grant was awarded to some members of the consortium of districts that use ESL teachers from the Allegheny Intermediate Unit (AIU). It will be used to help off-set the costs of baseline data collection in the district’s ESL program.


The union representing Avonworth School District teachers called together community leaders last week to urge the adoption of "behavioral expectations" for students.

Avonworth Middle School teachers brought together school board members and district administrators, along with parents, police and other community leaders, in an effort to stem a growing tide of minor disciplinary problems before they become a flood.