The Northampton School Board met Monday, April 17 with a lengthy meeting.
During a presentation on the proposed 2023-2024 budget, Superintendent Joseph Kovalchik shared that this coming school year will be the last year that the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds will be given to the district, which will also need to be used by the end of the 2023-2024 school year.
The school board has been using those funds for salaries for the past several years and needs to decide whether to use those funds for salaries again or to pay for the anticipated capital improvement projects, which will cost the district $2,700,000. Therefore, the board could decide to use the $3,100,000 in ESSER funds to cover the projects or to cover district salaries.
The board took a straw poll vote on the amount each member would like to raise taxes by in order to provide direction for finalizing the budget. All of the board members present voted that they do not wish to raise taxes for the upcoming school year at all.
During the May meeting, the board will vote to approve the proposed budget, and will vote to approve the final budget in June.
The board also took a straw poll vote on what each member would like to see happen with Moore Elementary. Board members Michael Baird, John Becker, and Ross Makary agreed that they do not want to lose the building and would prefer to repurpose it for other community uses while maintaining ownership; Doug Vaughn and Kim Bretzik voted to maintain it as an elementary school, while also recognizing that the building will need some renovations; and Robert Mentzell and James Chuss voted that they would like to see the school maintained with partial capacity status, while also repurposing areas of the school for other use.
The board unanimously voted in a straw poll to move forward with getting appraisals for the Administrative Building, Washington Building, and Technology Center.
Next, Anthony Maniscalco brought up that the policies and revisions on the agenda were not made public. Therefore, the board voted to table the vote on those policies and revisions, so the public has a chance to review them before they are voted on at the next meeting.
During regular agenda business, the board unanimously approved a leave of absence, seven resignations, two retirement resignations, additions and deletions to the substitute listing, and the revised master district volunteer list.
During personnel/roll call vote, the board unanimously approved the following: a revised listing of individuals to oversee intramural programs and the weight room; the full-time district staff, substitutes, coaches, and extra-curricular staff to work athletic events and the revised listing of part-time seasonal athletic event staff; the revised listing of building substitute teachers at a rate of $140 per day; for Kristy Young and two students to attend the PMEA All State Orchestra Festival at a cost of $1,171.34; for Tara Mrazik, Neali Feimster, Ryan Brobst, and John Isaac to attend the DECA International Conference with 11 DECA students at a cost of $2,056.25; for Leigh Zakutansky and Jason Jones to attend the Pa. Junior Academy of Science State Conference with two students at a cost of $760; the hire of Marcia McKay as cafeteria monitor at Franklin Elementary school; the hire of Sally Fredericks as supervisor of transportation effective May 15; the hire of Curtis Reigle as TPE mathematics teacher at the high school effective August 21; the hire of Valerie Abraham as transportation/personnel secretary effective May 1; the list of teachers and instructional assistants to provide extended school year and chapter 15/section 504 services for the summer; the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Northampton Area Custodial Association and NASD effective July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2027; and the Northampton Area Maintenance Association and NASD effective July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2027.
Under facilities, the board unanimously approved the George Wolf and Moore Elementary Schools playground fence construction contract with Pro Max Fence Systems for $59,325 and the authorization for the board president to execute corrective deeds of dedication for adjustment of the alignment of Bernie Way and Old Seemsville Road that intersects at Bernie Way.
Under finances, the board unanimously approved the following: a contract for services with Kelly Deibert for ASL/English interpreter services as needed through December 31, 2024; depositories from First Northern Bank & Trust Co., Pa. Local Government Investment Trust, and Pa. School District Liquid Asset Fund for school funds for the 2023-2024 fiscal year; the renewal agreement with Aramark Educational Services to provide food service management for the 2023-2024 school year; a one year agreement extension for trash/removal/recycling services to Chrin Hauling at a cost of $6,187.50 per month from July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2024; adoption of the BAVTS budget for $14,356,746 with the district’s portion being $2,878,422; adoption of the 2023-2024 CIU20 budget in the amount of $3,987,425 with the district’s portion being $44,472.81; the bids for paper and janitorial supplies in the amount of $119,966.48 as awarded by the Northampton/Monroe/Pike County joint purchasing board; the letter of agreement and fee schedule from Baker Tilly Vantagen to administer the district’s flexible spending account benefit plan for July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2025; the treasurer’s report; bills for payment; and the Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit non-member SD and charter schools special education services agreement.
Under miscellaneous, the board unanimously approved the following items: the attorney engagement letter entered into by and between NASD and King, Spry, Herman, Freund, & Faul to provide district solicitor legal services effective May 1, 2023 through June 30, 2026; an expulsion hearing waiver for a student; approval of the Creativity Club at Siegfried Elementary School for the current school year; and the retainment of C. Steven Miller as special counsel for the district for on-going and continual legal services effective May 1.
The next Northampton School Board meeting will be held Monday, May 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the NASD high school auditorium, located at 1619 Laubach Ave.