The Northampton School Board met Monday, January 9 to discuss appointing and hiring staff, adding various proposed extracurricular programs and clubs, tax increases, and the suspension of Policy 623 that requires three signatures on district checks.
To begin, the board unanimously voted to approve the Class of 2023 commencement exercises, which will take place at the Al Erdosy Stadium on Friday, June 2 at 7:30 p.m. with inclement weather dates for Saturday, June 3 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, June 4 at 7:30 p.m.
Under new business personnel/voice vote, the board unanimously approved the following agenda items: the revised job description for the Business Administrator effective January 9; three unpaid leave of absences; three resignations; one resignation for the purpose of retirement; the appointment of Denise Vilkauskas as Interim School Board Secretary through April 3 with the position of Assistant School Board Secretary being left vacant during that time and on April 3, Denise Vilkauskas will resume her position as Assistant School Board Secretary—pending all bond suspensions and reinstatements as required; the appointment of Craig Neiman as School Board Secretary to fill the unexpired term of Matthew Sawarynski effective April 3 until June 30 conditioned upon Craig Neiman beginning his employment as business administrator on April 3 with a Public Officials Bond of $100,000 at no additional cost to the district; the approval of five individuals and all varsity softball players to attend the Coastal Sports Center Training Facility in Virginia Beach from March 16 to March 19 with no cost to the district; additions and deletions to the Substitute Listing for the 2022-2023 school year; and the revised Master District Volunteer List for the 2022-2023 school year.
Under new business personnel/roll call vote, the board unanimously approved the following agenda items: the revised Mentor/Inductee List for the 2022-2023 school year, including stipend payments; the revised listing of Traffic Duty Monitors and hourly rates through the end of the school year; the Building Substitute Contracts between the current 68 Day Substitutes and NASD through June 30; the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Northampton Area ESPA and NASD effective July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2027; the Memorandum of Agreement between the Northampton Area ESPA and NASD effective July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2025; Brian Davies as Security/Usher, Janet Gehret as Track Official, Michael Schneider as Security/Usher/Game Manager, Mandy Sommer as Wrestling Scorebook, and Tammy Vajda as Clock Operator for additions to the Athletic Event Staff for the remainder of the school year; the attendance of three individuals at the Pa. Educational Technology Expo and Conference in February at a cost of $2,056.87; James Sansone and one student to attend the PMEA District 10 Band Festival at Nazareth Area High School at a cost of $405; and for Kristy Young and two students to attend the PMEA District 10 Orchestra Festival at Exeter Senior High School at a cost of $560.84.
The board also unanimously approved the following new hires: Megan Repsher as Secretary to the Business Administrator with benefits effective February 21; the voluntary transfer of Custodiam John Turk from third shift to day shift at the high school; the voluntary transfer of Custodian Edward Schoeneberger from middle shift at Siegfried Elementary to split/day shift at the high school; Jennifer Gross-Edwards as LTS Study Hall Instructional Assistant at the high school for the rest of the school year; David O’Neill as a Maintenance employee; Nicolette Fragnito as 12-month High School Secretary with benefits effective February 7; Emma Kitts as Short Term Substitute Special Education Teacher at Moore Elementary through April 28; Jessica Armour as PE Elementary Teacher at Siegfried Elementary with benefits; Jarrett Alexander as middle shift Custodian at the high school with benefits; and Dylan Skubik as middle shift Custodian at Siegfried Elementary with benefits.
Next, the board unanimously approved the suspension of a portion of Policy 623, which requires signatures of the Board President, Board Secretary, and Board Treasurer on district checks for the payment of bills approved by the board, whereas the Board Secretary will no longer be required to sign until a permanent Board Secretary has been appointed.
Under finances, the board unanimously approved the disposal of obsolete technology equipment, parts, and components minus one item that was pulled for further investigation, the Treasurer’s report, the 2022-2023 budget transfers, and the bills for payment.
Last, under miscellaneous, the board unanimously approved the following agenda items: the creation of a Junior High Baseball Program with a startup cost of $8,100; the creation of a Middle School Soccer Program with a startup cost of $8,000; the acceptance of a $1,001.87 donation from the Northampton High School Class of 1958 to provide plaques for the High School Advanced Placement Student Recognition; Neil Koch as NASD’s representative to the BAVTS Authority through December 30, 2027; the 2023-2024 school calendar; and the Middle School Mathletes Academic Tutoring & Help Club for the current school year.
Although board members could not discuss any specifics due to confidentiality, an expulsion hearing for a student that took place in December was approved with a split vote of 6-3. Board members Robert Mentzell, Doug Vaughn, and Kim Bretzik were the dissenting votes.
During public comment, local resident Ed Pany voiced concern in regards to preserving the historical aspects of the 329 project site in East Allen Township, which he believes should embody the historical significance of that location since the first settlers of Northampton County settled in that area. Pany expressed that he hopes the board will consider using the names of historical figures and distinguished Americans when naming the roads that will surround the proposed 329 elementary school and education center. Some of the historical figures Pany suggested included Hugh Wilson, founder of Northampton Borough; William Allen who founded Northampton Town, which later became Allentown, was the Chief Justice of the Province of Pennsylvania, and is who Allen Township and East Allen Township are named after; John Hays who built a tavern that later became the Weaversville Hotel, post office, and meeting place for early settlers, some of the first soldiers from the Pennsylvania Militia who fought in the French and Indian War and the American Revolution; and most importantly, General Robert Brown who was born in Weaversville, East Allen Township, a soldier during the American Revolutionary War serving alongside General George Washington, who became a member of the Pennsylvania State Senate, and is even buried in Horner’s Cemetery near the site.
“Don’t forget where we came from!” Pany implored.
The next Northampton School Board meeting will be held on Monday, February 13 at 6:30 p.m. in the Northampton Area High School auditorium, located at 1619 Laubach Ave.