Special education instructional aide one-on-one service agreements between the Schuylkill Intermediate Unit 29 and Tamaqua Area School District were approved by the IU20 school board at its monthly meeting held Monday evening at the Maple Avenue Campus in Marlin, Norwegian Township.

Two agreements were signed, one to provide services for a student to be identified by the school district at a cost of $13,913.13 and the second agreement at a cost of $6,541.44.

The board approved a letter of intent presented by Honeywell Business Solutions to conduct a detailed analysis of the North and South campus' energy usage and utilities infrastructure. Upon completion of the analysis Honeywell will submit a report with recommended improvements to the facilities and energy conservation measures. There is no charge for the analysis as outlined in the letter of intent. However, should the analysis be terminated or if the Schuylkill Technology Center fails to execute a contract with Honeywell, the center is required to pay $5,000 for the analysis.

The analysis will be of the Maple Avenue Campus and Schuylkill Technology South Campus in Norwegian Township; Schuylkill Technology North Campus near Frackville, Airport Campus and Lifelong Learning Center.

The board approved the single audit report for the 2008-09 fiscal year as prepared by Jones and Company of Pottsville. The report states, "We did not identify any significant or unusual transactions or significant accounting policies in controversial or emerging area for which there is a lack of authoritative guidance or consensus."

The audit report states the IU's total net assets decreased from $5,001,661 to $4,808,252, a decrease of $193,410 or 3.9 percent. The total revenues were $31,818,700 for the year ending June 30, 2009. The total cost of all programs and services was $32,012,110. Total expenditures exceeded revenues, decreasing net assets by $193,410.

The largest charge for services is the 12 public school districts which make up IU29 school district. Revenues for all Intermediate Units' governmental funds decreased $242,164 from $30,874,633 to $30,632,469. Special Education local revenue increased by $550,189 due to increase in service request by member districts, while transportation state revenue decreased by $924,057 due to a decrease in the amount paid to contractors resulting from member districts providing their own transportation.

The report states there are three areas with large variances when comparing budget to the actual.

The variances were in the areas of other instructional programs, $300,179 due to a decreases in technology grants; instructional staff services was under spent by $327,521 due to a calendar year grant and other support services, where the IU accounted for pass through school age ACCESS billing distributed to member districts, where no budget was prepared due to the inability to determine the amount of funding to expect from medical assistance.

The general fund budget anticipated that expenditures would exceed revenue by $700,818, however, the actual results for the year showed expenditures were greater than revenue by $332,876.

Labor contracts

The Schuylkill Intermediate Unit 29 Education Association, an affiliation of the Pennsylvania State Teachers Association (PSEA) represents Special Education, Early Intervention, Non-Public and Operation PLUS. This group, which represents 126 employees, does the bargaining for them. The school year 2008-09 was the fifth year of a five year agreement and ended Aug. 31, 2009, and currently negotiations are underway for a new contract.

The Schuylkill Intermediate Unit 29 Education Support Services Association, also an affiiilation of PSEA, represents the non-professional personnel consisting of secretaries, teacher aides, custodians, bus drivers and cafeteria workers. This association represents 192 employees. The 2008-09 year was the first of a four year agreement which provides for an annual increase of 50 cents per hour.

Intermediate Union 29 approved a three year contract for the Act 93 and Compensation Plan Personnel during the 2009-2010 year. This Act 93 plan consists of 16 administrators and the Compensation Plan consists of 57 employees. The Act 93 Plan runs from July 1, 2009, through June 30, 2012.

The report states the major issue facing the IU and all school entities throughout the Commonwealth is future retirement cost. It is projected that rates will increase dramatically over the next two years. Another area of concern is the Commonwealth's abillity to fund the IUs' and school districts when federal stimulus funds expire at the end of 2011 due to the current economic conditions.

Wind Energy Camp

The board approved the use of the Schuylkill Technology Center-South Campus, located in Norwegian Township, to host a wind energy summer camp from June14 through 17 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. for students in grades sixth through nine who will research and create projects in renewable energy and related technical program. The camp is being funded through grant monies awarded from Lehigh Carbon Community College and the Workforce Leadership Grant.

An agreement was entered with McCann School of Business and Technology, Pottsville Campus, to allow graduates of the Schuylkill Technical Center to pursue an associate degree in specialized business and technology.

An agreement was amended with Connections Academy, Baltimore, Md., to include occupational therapy to a student from Williams Valley School District who is enrolled in Commonwealth Connections Academy Charter School at rate of $60 per hour for period from Sept. 1, 2009, to Aug. 31.

Approved was a resolution to participate in the Lancaster-Lebanon IU13 Assistive Technology Purchasing Program which will allow the IU to obtain bid pricing on various assistive technology products through a cooperative purchasing arrangement between IU 13 and the state Department of Education.

A agreement was entered with Slough Flooring Inc. for the purchase and installation of a carpet and vinyl base at the Maple Avenue Campus at a cost of $38,965.08. Pricing was obtained using state contract pricing.

Personnel matter

Heather Myers, Pottsville, was hired as a full-time teacher aide at the Maple Avenue Campus at $7.75 per hour. This position was requested by Tamaqua Area School District for a one-on-one aid for a student from the district enrolled at the campus.

Dolores Sadusky, Saint Clair, was hired as a GED instructor at $19.50 per hour for a maximum 30 hours and Dennis Moyer, Valley View, paid $2,960 in fees and reimbursed $222.53 for expenses for GED testing for the period Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2009

The board accepted resignations from Joseph Probition as maintenance supervisor at the North Campus; Ann Bowman, a full time teacher aide at Pine Grove Area Elementary; and Michelle Baver, English as a Second Language instructor for the school age program.

The Intermediate Unit Convention is scheduled for Tuesday, March 30, at the Maple Avenue Campus. The keynote topic will be Pennsylvania Other Post Employment Benfit Trust. School directors of the 12 public school districts which make up the IU29 and superintendents are reminded registration begins at 5:30 p.m.