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Three retiring elementary teachers won't be replaced

Published March 04. 2010 05:00PM

Palmerton Area School District will not replace three of the four teachers set to retire at one of its elementary schools at the end of this year.

That was the general consensus of members of the school board's Curriculum, Athletics, Personnel and Policy Committee on Wednesday.

Sherrie Fenner, director of curriculum and instruction, told the committee there were 80 students who registered for kindergarten at Parkside Elementary, compared to just 40 at Towamensing Elementary.

"Towamensing is kind of holding its own," Fenner said. "Towamensing will not need the half-day teacher that it needed; however, S.S. Palmer may need a half-day teacher."

Fenner said S.S. Palmer will have four teachers retire at the end of this school year, and suggested the district not replace three of those retirements.

From the 2007-08 school year to the 2009-10 school year, Fenner said kindergarten enrollment has decreased from 710 to 639 students at S.S Palmer.

"To me, that's at least two sections of kids," she said. "I would recommend you do not hire those three teachers through attrition."

However, Fenner said her recommendation came with the caveat that the district be able to hire three teachers at a later date if necessary.

Last month, Fenner said Towamensing Elementary would likely have to be shuffled due to the retirement of two teachers.

She said sixth grade would see a decrease from three sections to two sections, fourth grade an increase from two sections to three sections.

Also, second grade could see an increase from two sections to three, and first grade a decrease from two sections to one, Fenner said.

In another curriculum related matter, the committee received an overview on its portion of the 2010-11 Lehigh Carbon Community College operating budget.

Larry Roth, vice president for finance and facilities/controller, said the total sponsor allocation of the $6,297,132 budget is set to increase by 2.9 percent.

Of that, Roth said Palmerton's share of the capital debt service and lease budget is set to increase to $62,834 in 2010-11, up 5.7-percent from the $59,459 figure in 2009-10. But, the district's share of the operating budget is expected to be reduced to $143,227 in 2010-11, which represents a 2.9-percent decrease from the $147,577 figure in 2009-10.

Also on Wednesday, the committee discussed the possibility of moving the location of this year's senior outing amid concerns.

Superintendent Carol Boyce said the outing has traditionally been held at Split Rock.

"I'm suggesting that the venue be changed to Hershey Park instead," Boyce said. "The costs would be less, it is well chaperoned, and well-staffed."

However, committee member Carol Dwyer said she wasn't in favor of that idea.

"I think there could be liability issues at amusement parks," Dwyer said. "I went there [to Split Rock]; I can't understand why there's a problem."

Committee member Carl Bieling said he believes it should be up to the students to make that decision.

"I feel if they're following the rules of the policy, then I don't have a problem with it," Bieling said. "It's their day; they should really be the ones to decide."

Finally, Boyce announced high school graduation is scheduled to be held at 7 p.m. Monday, June 7.

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