The Northampton School Board met Monday, January 8 to discuss the 2024-2025 preliminary budget presentation and regular agenda items.

During the meeting, Superintendent Joseph S. Kovalchik announced that the borrowing rates for the Route 329 project came in lower than estimated, which were originally estimated to have a 2.02 mill impact on the district, but that number has been reduced to 1.72 mill and is a 3.85% yield.

Before the board formally voted on agenda items, board member Brian McCulloch divulged that he would not be voting to approve the bills for payment, alleging that one of the invoices billed by the previous solicitor was a misuse of taxpayer funds.

McCulloch stated it was brought to his attention that previous school board president, James Chuss, “used district funds and the time of the district solicitor to investigate ways to stop me from being sworn into office.”

The invoice was for four hours of legal work that amounted to $770.

During public comment, Chuss responded to McCulloch, alleging that McCulloch’s moral character had been questioned in previous board meetings, which is why he felt it was his duty as president to investigate the matter.

When it came time to vote on the bills for payment, the board voted to remove the invoice and vote separately on that matter, so that all other bills could be paid.

During the motion to pay the $770 invoice from the solicitor, the motion failed with Directors Bretzik, McCulloch, Harris and Kristin Soldridge voting against the motion.

In other business, the board unanimously approved all personnel agenda items including the following: two leaves of absence; one retirement; two resignations; the updated job description for administrative assistant; rescinding two leaves of absence; the revised master district volunteer list; building substitute teachers; department and district coordinators and middle school subject and team leaders; extra-curricular staff and stipends; athletic coaches for the winter season; the hire of Nathan Kelly as a maintenance employee; the hire of Michelle Heisler as the coordinator of the Community Education Program; for Kristy Young and three students to attend the PMEA District 10 Orchestra Festival at a cost of $696.53; the attendance of Victoria Kropf at the PaTTAN 2024 PDE Conference at a cost of $105.46; the attendance of Douglas Fehnel and David Ramaley at the Marine Corps Educators Workshop; for Jessica Pretopapa, 42 students and two chaperones to attend the National Honor Society field trip at a cost of $313.06; for James Sansone and one student to attend the PMEA District Band Festival at a cost of $483.06; the hire of Megan Repsher as personnel secretary; the hire of Austin Hicks as special education instructional assistant at George Wolf Elementary; and the attendance of Shaun Murray and Matthew Frailey at the Pa. State Athletic Directors Association at a cost of $1,805.54.

Under curriculum, the board unanimously the 2024-2025 program of studies for the high school, and under facilities, the board approved the contract with CMG of Easton in the amount of $298,200 for the replacement of windows at Siegfried Elementary and the contract with Caretti Inc. in the amount of $109,500 for brick repairs at the high school.

Next, the board approved the following finance agenda items with the removal of the $770 invoice from King, Spry, Herman, Freund & Faul that was billed for the legal work associated Chuss’ investigative request: the Catalog Fixed Discount Program as awarded by the IU20 Joint Purchasing Board; a contract to transfer the Commonwealth of Pa. COSTARS procured Verizon services from the expired COPA contact to the current active COPA Voice contract; the approved 2023-2024 budget transfers; the vendor for fuel oil for the 2024-2025 school year as recommended by the Northampton/Monroe/Pike County Joint Purchasing Board; bills for payment; and the treasurer’s report.

Under miscellaneous, the board unanimously approved the listing of After-School Tutoring Program tutors, the 2024-2025 school calendar and the acceptance with appreciation for the monetary donation of $200 from Making Memories (Mary Jo Pletz and Charlene Shelak).

The next Northampton School Board meeting will be held on Monday, February 12 at 6:30 p.m. in the NAHS auditorium, located at 1619 Laubach Ave.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here