Palmerton Area School District has approved a new four-year contract for its support staff.
The school board unanimously agreed at a special meeting on Tuesday to ratify the tentative agreement as the successor collective bargaining agreement between the district and the Palmerton Area Educational Support Professionals Association, with an effective date from July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2017.
Under the terms of the tentative agreement, full-time employees will see no salary increase in 2013-14; a 2-percent increase in 2014-15; a 2-percent increase in 2015-16; and a 2-percent increase in 2016-17.
Part-time employees will see no salary increase in 2013-14; a .33-cent increase in 2014-15; a .33-cent increase in 2015-16; and a .34-cent increase in 2016-17.
The food service department will see an increase in stipends, as the food service clerk (previously office manager) will go from $1.25 to $1.75 an hour, and team leaders from .75 cents to $1 an hour. The exception is that a longevity increase will be allowed for the 2013-14 school year.
As for benefits, medical co-pays will be frozen for the term of the agreement as follows: Single, $22.50; employee and spouse, $32.50; employee and child, $32.50; employee and family, $40; and employee and children, $40.
Or, if the employee opts not to take medical insurance, the employee will receive an annual reimbursement as follows: 2013-14 and 2014-15, $3,250, which is the same as the 2012-13 school year; and 2015-16 and 2016-17, $4,000, an increase of $750.
The support staff includes paraprofessionals, cafeteria workers, custodians, maintenance, secretaries, health room technicians and network analysts.
Meanwhile, teachers continue to work without a contract for a second year.
Teachers have been working without a contract since their three-year contract expired in June of 2012.
That contract called for a 3 percent increase in teacher salaries.
As part of his report, Superintendent Scot Engler announced that Pencor Services Inc. has donated five desks and 20 lock and filing cabinets to the district.
Engler said the furniture was a "very generous donation" on behalf of Pencor.