Service personnel in the Tamaqua Area School District have a new contract to enter the new year.

The district's board of education on Tuesday night approved a three-year pact with the Tamaqua Area Education Service Personnel Association, covering the 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13 fiscal school years.

The previous contract had expired at the end of the 2009-2010 year. School Board President Larry A. Wittig, who chairs the district's negotiating committee, said the contract is retroactive to July 1.

Service personnel include custodians, secretaries, paraprofessionals, cafeteria workers and maintenance staff. There are 44 members of the bargaining unit, according to Connie Ligenza, the district's business manager.

Wittig said the deal includes a 50 cent per hour pay raise for this year and the next two years for the custodians, secretaries, paraprofessionals and cafeteria staff. Maintenance workers will receive a 60 cent per hour raise for this year and the following two years.

With the service personnel contract settled, the district is also seeking a new agreement with its teachers and their union, the Tamaqua Education Association. The last teacher's contract expired at the end of June.

Special ed director

In other personnel business, the board appointed Tamaqua Area High School Principal RuthAnn Gardiner as the district's Special Education Director, effective at a date approved by Superintendent Carol Makuta.

Gardiner takes over for Jennifer Aponick-Homan, who has resigned, effective Jan. 21, 2011.

Wittig said Aponick-Homan has taken an assistant principal's position with the Northwestern Lehigh School District. She had been appointed prior to the current school year to replace Gregory Koons, who had resigned at the end of the 2009-10.

The board also accepted the resignation of William J. Hischak, high school guidance counselor, effective Feb. 4, 2011.

The following paraprofessionals were approved: Sharon Oswald, Andreas, who had her salary adjusted to high qualified, retroactive to Dec. 1; Nancy Grigalonis and Lillian Birkmier, both of Tamaqua; and Linda Edmonds, Mary D.

Laurie Drebitko-Marks and Keith Kleckner, both of Pottsville, and Stephanie Stripe, Minersville, were added as guest teachers, and Amanda Hartz, Tamaqua, as a substitute teacher.

Cheryl Beers, Mary D, Frank Roos, Jim Thorpe, and Kenneth Hare, Barnesville, were added as substitute custodians.

Tim Murphy, Mike Luna, Tom McCabe and Clarence Opolsky were approved as in house security personnel; Allen Graver and Megan Ingraham as adult game workers; and Dyllyn Trexler, Quakake, as a student game worker.

Rebecca Luna was appointed as a mentor for Jennifer Graver, special education teacher.

The following leaves were approved: Nicole I. Evans, elementary teacher, family and medical leave, on or about Dec. 23; Amy Pester, elementary teacher, intermittant family and medical leave, retroactive to Dec. 16; Ann Jones, cafeteria worker, unpaid leave of absence, retroactive to Dec. 9 and returning Jan. 3, 2011; and Marion Rang, district office secretary, intermittant family and medical leave, retroactive to Dec. 6.

The resignation of Carolyn Steigerwalt, cafeteria worker, was accepted, effective Dec. 23.

A salary adjustment for English as a Second Language/German teacher Susan Featro was approved from $52,208 to $53,667.

Tax rate index

In financial matters, the board passed a resolution not to increase the district's real estate tax rate for the 2011-12 fiscal year beyond the state department of education's index for Tamaqua Area of 1.8 percent.

The district's current property tax millage is 33.36 mills. Tamaqua Area would not be able to increase that rate by more than .63 mills. That would generate about $170,000 in revenue, Ligenza said last week.

The law firm of Bowe, Lisella and Bowe, Tamaqua, was reappointed as the school district's solicitor, at a retainer of $4,500 plus $150 per hour. Attorney Jeffrey Bowe represents the district in its legal affairs.

Ligenza was authorized to place 2010 delinquent real estate taxes with Portnoff Law Associates, Ltd. and delinquent assessed occupation and per capita taxes with Powell, Rodgers and Speaks.

Band trips

The board also approved the requests of Raider Band Director John F. Potlunas, on behalf of the band boosters, to take the band on out of state trips to Inner Harbor, Baltimore, on Saturday, May 21, 2011, and to a Disney World theme park in Orlando, Florida, for February, 2012.

The following technology purchases were also approved: Aero-Hive, wireless assess points from Sun Management, at a cost not to exceed $19,600; and Apple iPads and changing cart from Apple, Inc., at a cost not to exceed $21,300. Both were approved through state purchasing contracts.