Super Storm Sandy caused widespread power outages and school closures, which ate up anticipated "snow days" built into area school calendars. During committee meetings held by the Tamaqua Area School District Tuesday night, directors discussed ways to make up the lost time.
Assistant Superintendent Raymond Kinder called for a revised schedule which would add Jan. 21, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and February 18, Presidents Day, as scheduled school days.
"We're digging into Easter and we haven't even hit December," Kinder said. "This would allow us to get back on track."
Education committee members Eileen Meiser, Wanda Zuber and Larry Wittig approved the school calendar revision, which will be voted on during the regular school board meeting Nov. 20.
In a related matter, directors discussed the 2013-2014 school year schedule, as proposed by the Schuylkill Intermediate Unit (IU) No. 29. According to that school calendar, the last day of school would be June 2, 2014, a Monday. Kinder explained that the IU is seeking feedback, and he recommended that the board "not recommend it." That item will also be voted on by the board at the Nov. 20 meeting.
As part of preliminary work on the budget for the 2013-2014, members of the finance committee approved a resolution not to exceed the Pennsylvania Department of Education Act 1 index on the real estate tax rate. Business manager Connie Ligenza explained that the index rate is 2.3 percent, which is the equivalent of .77 mills, or $215,000 in revenue. A preliminary budget for 2013-2014 should be completed by May 2013, she said.
Middle school Principal RuthAnn Gardiner introduced representatives of the middle school's MAGIC (Multiple Activities Generating Independent Capabilities) program, which runs four days a week, after school. Co-coordinators of the program, Romayne Joseph and Amanda Woodring, explained various activities conducted under the program, including a family night which focused on the history and heritage of Tamaqua. Forty-five students are registered for the program, and all benefit, according to a parent, Mary Ann Weiksner, Tamaqua.
"I know my children are safe and receiving guidance with their homework," Weiksner said. "As a parent, it gives you peace of mind, and I can't express how grateful I am that we have this program here."
In other business, the directors discussed several purchases which are slated for vote during the Nov. 20 board meeting:
Ÿ A copier purchase of $13,117.
Ÿ Cafeteria equipment (convection steamer and kettle steamer, total $29,190) for the high school.
Ÿ Cafeteria tables (not to exceed $30,000) for the Tamaqua Elementary School.
Under new business, Kinder also said that high school band director Mark Beltz has been researching the cost for new band uniforms. Beltz has met with Meiser, Zuber and Superintendent Carol Makuta to discuss the options.