News Column

Greater Johnstown school board OKs deal with hospital

June 19, 2014

By Frank Sojak, The Tribune-Democrat, Johnstown, Pa.

June 19--JOHNSTOWN -- The Greater Johnstown school board on Tuesday approved an agreement with Conemaugh Health System in which Conemaugh will make annual payments to the school district in lieu of real estate taxes.

The five-year agreement will pay the school district $202,000 for the 2014-15 school year, said Schools Superintendent Gerald Zahorchak. The amount increases $5,000 in each of the succeeding years, he said.

The agreement, however, would become moot once the sale of Conemaugh Health System to Duke LifePoint, a for-profit company, is completed, he said. At that point, each of Conemaugh's properties would be taxable.

In other business, the board named the head of the middle school marching band, Eric Pfeil, as director of the high school marching band.

Pfeil replaces the current band director, who has resigned.

Zahorchak said the board, administrators, music instructors, parents and others in the community have been working to enhance and expand the district's music program.

"Pfeil has developed a strong band program at the Johnstown Middle School that is fed by a very powerful elementary school music program," Zahorchak said.

By 2017, the high school should have more than 100 instruments in the marching band alone, he said.

"This was done by design," he said, adding that he praises the school board and others for that effort.

Members of the community helping with the music program include the Rev. Sylvia King, pastor of Christ Centered Community Church in Kernville, and the Johnstown Rotary Club, he said.

King has organized after-school and summer music programs for children and the Rotarians are supporting a program to repair instruments, he said.

"A lot of people are pitching in," Zahorchak said.

Music is an important subject because it teaches discipline and others values, he said.

Frank Sojak is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at


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Source: Tribune-Democrat (Johnstown, PA)

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