The Northampton Area School Board met on Monday, Dec. 20 to hear a presentation on the preliminary 2022-23 budget, among other matters.
Superintendent Joseph Kovalchik and business administrator Matthew Sawarynski presented the board with a very early draft of the budget, which currently includes no tax increase. The presentation summarized goals for the school year, including a decision on phase 3 of the capital improvement project and retention of district staff members.
Revenue will come from a variety of places: Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Funds, American Rescue Plan funds, and other governmental funds.
New housing developments and reverse appeal settlements with local warehouses can also provide a significant amount of revenue for the district. Settlements have already been completed with FedEx and Geodis, and more are in the works with at least three other warehouses.
Kovalchik explained that there are four main areas of expenditures for the district: instruction, support services, non-instructional services, and debt services.
Currently, the budget proposes hiring seven new staff members to account for education gaps in areas such as math and special education. It also proposes two librarians so each elementary school can have a designated librarian.
The budget will continue to change with updated plan and cost estimates until preliminary approval on May 9 and final approval on June 13.
The board also approved the resignation of two employees: Justin Gober and Jill Stout. Gober’s resignation from his maintenance position was effective Dec 6. Stout will be retiring from her position as secretary to the assistant superintendent on June 30, 2022.
With that, the board hired three employees, effective Jan. 3. Sean Kelsey was hired as a middle school custodian, Marisa Graver as a special education instructional assistant, and Dana Houser was brought on as an elementary school health room assistant. Two employees, short-term sub Alex Heckman and hall monitor Robin Torres were hired retroactively to Oct. 4 and Dec. 13, respectively.
District residents and parents brought up a variety of different issues before the board.
One resident asked the board to consider amending Policy 900, concerning public comment. He thinks the board should eliminate the time limit placed on both students and parents, as well as allow people to speak on multiple topics.
Another point of discussion was live-streaming the school board’s meetings to allow more attendance.
The Northampton Area School Board will meet again on Jan. 10 at 6:30 p.m. in the high school auditorium, located at 1619 Laubach Ave.