The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

January 26, 2013

Boards aiming for safer schools

SHENANGO VALLEY — “In the future every school will be monitored from the school parking lots to the playgrounds,” in addition to cameras inside the buildings, said Wade Hoagland, director of facilities for Sharpsville Area School District.

“School safety is not a fad or trend. It will remain on the radar,” said Lora Adams-King, superintendent of Farrell Area School District.

School security has been on the radar of school officials around the country – and in Mercer County – since a gunman killed 20 students at a Connecticut elementary school in December.

In recent weeks, Sharon schools officials began negotiating with security providers and decided to add keypads to some building entrances. Mercer school directors started discussing hiring a guard or policeman for the first time. In Hermitage, a patrolman is already spending extra time in that city’s schools, and the board has committed to installing keyless deadbolt locks on all classroom doors.

On the agenda for Monday’s school board meeting in West Middlesex is a proposal to add another armed officer from Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Department.

Superintendent Alan Balderelli said the district already pays an armed resource officer to patrol the middle and high schools – housed in adjoining buildings – and to park in front of the high school daily. That officer is retired from Southwest police.

While the West Middlesex board will discuss whether to add an officer, Sharpsville school directors did add one, but also decided to revisit the issue of school security on a monthly basis.

For the first time this past week, an armed Sharpsville policeman was patrolling the hallways.

School board members Tuesday voted to have a policeman in the schools every day through the end of the school year.

Although the final vote was unanimous, board members worried whether hiring a policeman would be the best decision for the school environment, as well as the budget.

School Director Janice Raykie asked, “How is spending $9,000 making our kids more safe than they are now?” She called hiring a policemen for 15 hours a week a “very poor first step.”

Superintendent Mark Ferrara said school security is “not a perfect science” and he didn’t want to create high anxiety. He said he was advised by Sharpsville police Chief Keith A. Falasco and “other experts” to try to keep things as normal as possible.

As in Sharpsville and other Mercer County schools, Farrell school officials are concerned not only about how to improve school security, but also how to pay for it.

“We have every intention of having a security person return to the district,” Adams-King said, adding the district is “anticipating to receive money as a result of the governor’s budget proposal.”

“The issue could come up at the next school board meeting,” she said.

Text Only
Local News
  • CIRT team in Jackson Center Man arrested after shooting standoff

    One Jackson Center man is recovering from a bullet wound, and the borough resident accused of shooting him sits in jail after a long night of drinking that state police say turned into a case of attempted homicide.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sharon Speedway location City on track for new Speedway store

    Speedway is lining up its administrative and bureaucratic cones on plans for the gas station and convenience store chain to zoom into downtown Sharon.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Guards, county OK deal

    County officials and guards at the Mercer County Jail have reached a tentative contract agreement that, if approved, halts the idea of privatizing operations at the facility.

    July 31, 2014

  • Doss: Public has right to know

    A major part of Farrell council’s work session Monday was spent deciding whether or not to inform the audience about an unofficial police proposal from the City of Sharon.

    July 30, 2014

  • Budget falling short despite tax hike

    Farrell residents may have seen an income tax increase this year, but the city isn’t seeing the extra dollars City Manager Michael Ceci budgeted for.

    July 30, 2014

  • oakwood graves 1 Resting together

    Visitors to Oakwood Cemetery would see many  familiar local names if they looked down the hillside to the left just inside the gate on Sharon’s North Oakland Avenue.

    July 30, 2014 3 Photos

  • Police: Kids in car were OK

    The mother of two young children was drunk and passed out when police found them all in a car parked along a city street, Sharon police said.

    July 29, 2014

  • To talk – or not – about police

    The mysterious agenda item, “No. 10,” at Farrell’s council meeting Monday became the center of a heated workshop and business session.

    July 29, 2014

  • Community thanks its first-responders

    Sharpsville honored its emergency responders Sunday at an event that included Mertz Towers residents as special guests.

    July 28, 2014

  • Drilling boom challenges state inspectors

    The state’s 83 well inspectors face a daunting enough challenge keeping tabs on 120,000 active oil and gas wells that have been drilled over the last century.

    July 28, 2014

  • Kidds Mill Covered Bridge A span of time

    Four generations of the Cadman family have enjoyed the Kidds Mill Covered Bridge, which is in Pymatuning Township near where the family’s ancestral farm is located.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • Intruder hurts woman, takes $5

    A home invasion in Hermitage Friday night sent an elderly woman to the hospital and netted the robber $5.

    July 27, 2014

  • national night out March against crime set for Aug. 5

    At the last Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Commission meeting, Chief Riley Smoot Jr. presented the number of incidents for each of the four communities in May.

    Farrell topped out at 819.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • high street trail Peaceful pathways

    History buffs and picnickers in the Shenango Valley won’t have to drive to Sharpsville to hang out at the old Erie Canal extension lock. They’ll soon have the option to walk or roll in on bicycles and even powered chairs to visit Canal Park near the outflow of Shenango Dam.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • balloonquest1 Balloon Quest celebrates 25 years

    Today is the final day of the 25th annual Western Pennsylvania Balloon Quest at Scotland Meadows Park.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo