The Tamaqua Area School District will compensate substitute teachers assigned to one specific assignment in their areas of certification at a higher rate than its regular substitute pay scale.

The district's board of education Tuesday night approved the recommendation of its administration to pay substitutes contracted under those circumstances for 24 days or more at $100 per day.

Tamaqua Area normally pays substitute teachers at $75 per day up to 90 days and at $85 after that.

Superintendent Carol Makuta explained that the higher rate will be utilized when the district needs to hire someone who is certified for a specific area for a particular longer term assignment.

"We have a guidance counselor who is going out shortly," noted Makuta of one particular instance when the new compensation might come into play.

The reason for the 24-day term is that it is the point where teachers have to give out grades to students, added Makuta.

"Would they get that ($100) from day one?" asked Board Vice President Dr. Thomas Rottet. Makuta said that is the case.

Director Aaron Frantz asked about the ability to predict how long a substitute might be needed.

"The key is, this is in their area of certification," remarked Makuta, noting this is for long-term subs.

Rottet inquired as to whether a contract would be necessary in these instances, in case a substitute would leave for another job.

"A contract is for the protection of employees," said Board President Larry A. Wittig. "You can't stop them if they want to leave," added Solicitor Jeffrey Bowe.

Tax index

In other action, the board followed the recommendation of its finance committee to not raise taxes above the Department of Education's index of 3.9 percent, or 1.25 mills, for its 2010-2011 budget preparation.

The district's current real estate tax rate is 32.11 mills. An increase of 1.25 mills would be worth $325,000, should the district decide to move in that direction.

WIth the motion's approval, under Pa. Act 72, the district's deadline for its 2010-11 budget has now been extended through May, 2010 for preliminary adoption. The budget would have to be finalized by June 30.

The board also authorized the placement of 2009 delinquent real estate taxes to Portnoff Law Associates, Ltd., for collection, and 2009 delinquent assessed occupation and per capita taxes with Powell. Rodgers and Speaks, Harrisburg.

Girls soccer honored

Members of the Tamaqua Area High School girls soccer team were recognized by the board. The Lady Raiders, coached by Clem McCarroll, had an overall record of 19-2, including 16-0 in the regular season. The team won the Schuylkill Division I title and the District 11 AA championship for the second year in a row.

Christine Verdier, aide to State Senator David Argall (R-29), presented the girls and their coaches with citations from the Pa. Senate for their achievements. Argall's daughter Elyse was a member of the program prior to graduating last year.

Solicitor retained

In other business, the board retained the law firm of Bowe, Lisella and Bowe, Tamaqua, representated by Attorney Jeffrey Bowe, as district solicitor at an annual retainer of $3,500 and an hourly rate of $150 per hour.

The district entered into a contract with the Pottsville Area School District for the transportation of pupils through the end of the school year, at the rate of $9 per day.

Makuta explained there is a former Tamaqua student in a group home in Pottsville who is attending the Schuylkill Vo-Tech School. The student is homeless and the district is responsible for his education, she said.

Personnel moves

The board made the following personnel moves.

Dwight Andescavage, Tamaqua, was approved as a substitute custodian.

Megan Hunt, Easton, was approved as a substitute teacher.

Kristin Boyle, high school teacher, was granted a family and medical leave from April 12 to June 3.

Elizabeth Marakovits, elementary guidance counselor, was granted maternity leave from Feb. 4 to March 29.

Nancy Hludzik, middle school teacher, had two days of unpaid leave approved.

The resignation of Jennifer Johnstone-Keich as a part-time paraprofessional was accepted.

The board also approved the request of Elementary Principal Steven Behr to use $4,200 from the Raider Run fundraiser to provide each elementary student with a Distance Learning field trip, hosted by the Alaska SeaLife Center.

Makuta noted that students have been given a letter from the district that H1N1 vaccines are en route and will be distributed as per the district's flu vaccination procedures.