In a brief Nazareth Area School Board meeting on August 9, the board conducted routine business and highlighted the activities that took place over the summer. Dr. Richard Kasky, who took over the superintendent position from Dennis Riker on July 1 of this year, had a lengthy report about the district’s accomplishments.
The board completed a comprehensive three-year plan required for the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The committee managed to put together over 60 stakeholders, with input from educators, community members and parents, to complete the plan. The maintenance department renovated six classrooms and installed three roll-down security gates at Floyd R. Shafer Elementary School in the district.
The Information Technology team installed new firewalls and upgraded iPads for some grades. The transportation department implemented a new software program to keep track of the buses.
In addition, new staff was hired to help reduce class sizes in the schools and some existing staffing was reconfigured to further shrink class sizes. A three-year special education plan was also created. Two members of the business office retired and were replaced.
“Teachers put in a lot of hard work during the summer months,” Kasky said.
During public comment, two parents of students addressed the Critical Race Theory (CRT) controversy. (Critical Race Theory, an academic concept that is more than 40 years old, has a core idea that race is a social construct, and that racism is not merely the product of individual bias or prejudice, but also something embedded in legal systems and policies.)
“Today, as a member of the Latino community, I want to speak up against what is being peddled in our community,” one parent said. “In a predominantly white community I was never pandered to. CRT is disgusting,” he said. “We don’t want it. We don’t need it. We were all created equal.”
Another parent concurred, “The reason people come to this community is the hometown feel. We don’t need to indoctrinate children to believe really odd things.”
In the new business segment of the meeting, Board President Gregory Leh outlined the meeting dates for the coming school year. A school committee meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month and a general board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday starting in September. Both will be “voting” meetings. The meetings can be attended either in person or on Zoom. All citizens looking to address the board during public comment will be required to fill out a Google Doc and register before the beginning of the meeting. This rule goes for both in-person and digital attendees.
The next meetings will be August 16 at 6 p.m. for committees and August 23 at 7 p.m. for the general board meeting.