Tyrone to utilize Altoona alternative ed program

Board ‘impressed’ with Kimmel school

TYRONE — The Tyrone Area School Board unanimously approved an agreement allowing district administrators to enroll students in Altoona Area School District’s alternative education program at the William P. Kimmel School.

This school year marks the first that Altoona Area’s alternative education program is open to other Blair County school districts.

Those districts including Tyrone don’t have in-house alternative education programs. Instead they contract the services of private companies.

“Our team looked at the Kimmel program and was very impressed with it,” Tyrone Area Superintendent Cathy Harlow said.

She said the district does not yet have students enrolled in the program, but it is an “off-site placement option” that the district can use throughout the year.

Harlow said the district will also maintain its ability to place students in its current alternative education provider, Nittany Learning Services, in State College.

Last year, the Altoona Area board thought there may be cost savings in closing the Kimmel school at 900 S. Jaggard St. and contracting a private alternative education service. But after more deliberation, the board kept the school open and voted to open it to other school districts to ensure the program is financially viable.

Altoona Area’s enrollment in the program was about 30 students last year. Enrollment may fluctuate as students return to traditional education settings and new students enter throughout a school year.

The tuition rate for Blair districts enrolling students in the Kimmel program is $65 per day for regular education students and $75 per day for special education students.

In addition to Tyrone Area, four other districts have expressed interest in the Kimmel program.

Spring Cove, Hollidays-burg Area, Claysburg-Kimmel and Bellwood-Antis also have inquired about the program, Altoona Area Community Relations Director Paula Foreman said Tuesday.

Mirror Staff Writer Russ O’Reilly is at 946-7435.