At the November 8 school board meeting, Superintendent Joseph Kovalchik discussed the Seemsville Road project and violence in district schools following questions from residents.
East Allen Township resident Maggie Kemp lives near the potential Seemsville Road project and questioned the student capacity of the potential school, as well as the board’s intention for other elementary schools and the administration building.
In 2018, the board began looking into facilities concerns across the district using information from a 2000 study.
The middle school and Lehigh Elementary were the first two legs of that study and have been taken care of. The third phase of the study involves Moore Elementary, Franklin Elementary, the administration building, and the Washington building, which houses the technology center.
East Allen Township approved a motion allowing the district to build an elementary school, and possibly an administration building on the site. Kovalchik explained that nothing has been determined or set in stone, but something has to be done. The school board would have to decide what to do with the four buildings mentioned and if construction will take place on the Route 329/ Seemsville Road site.
Parents and students alike also discussed issues of violence in schools.
One parent detailed an incident just this month where her daughter had her hair pulled, glasses broken, and was punched by another student. Another parent discussed an issue a year ago where her daughter was threatened and knocked into a concrete wall, giving her a concussion. Finally, a current student talked about the increased violence this year compared to his first year in the high school.
Kovalchik believes this violence is the result of the loss of socialization and learning caused by the pandemic; this is not an excuse for the behavior, but rather an explanation.
“We’re [going to] follow through on things as best as we humanly, possibly can,” said Kovalchik of the violence in schools. He also expressed that these issues are not going to be solved overnight.
In other business, the board approved the extension of police officers Michael Renner and Peter McAfee. Both new contracts will be effective Dec. 14, 2021 to Jun. 30, 2024, with a salary of $57,500 and $42,000, respectively.
The board also accepted the resignation of three employees. Megan Lieberman will be leaving the position of school nurse effective at the end of the day Nov. 19. Donna Ruckman, hall monitor, will be resigning effective Dec. 31, and Susan Stoltz will be retiring from her position on Feb. 2, 2022.
The Northampton Area School Board will meet next on Monday, Nov. 22 at 6:30 p.m. in the high school auditorium, located at 1619 Laubach Ave.