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Palmerton braces for influx of new students

Published August 22. 2012 05:02PM

An influx of students could result in swelled classrooms in the Palmerton Area School District.

Superintendent Carol Boyce informed the school board on Tuesday that the district had 87 new students enroll in the district, compared with just 43 withdrawals.

"We have a net gain of 44 students, which is going to make some classrooms expand," Boyce said. "It's good for our state subsidy, but difficult for teaching."

However, Boyce said the situation "doesn't warrant the addition of additional staff."

Towamensing Elementary has an increase of 19 students, S.S. Palmer Elementary, 12, Parkside Education Center, eight, the high school, four, and the junior high school one.

Mary Brumbach, principal of S.S. Palmer/Parkside, said Palmer could have as many as 32-33 students in its fifth-grade classrooms.

Director Sherri Haas, who said she used to volunteer in the Palmer building when her child attended years ago, expressed reservations with such a scenario.

"My major concern is a fire hazard," Haas said. "These classes are not big enough."

Brumbach told Haas that during fire drills, about 450 students are out of the building in less than a minute.

"There's varying degrees of the size of the classrooms," Brumbach said. "Yes, it's very congested in a sense, but I don't think we're endangering any children."

Haas commended the building for its ability to accommodate as many students as it has over time.

"It's amazing what Palmer has done over all these years," Haas said. "Kudos to you."

Board President Barry Scherer said the district may eventually have to look at redistricting.

In other business, the board:

• Approved the continued services of Donna Les, as needed, for the negotiation process, effective Sept. 1, 2012, through Oct. 31, 2012.

• Removed Lauren Strohl as a day-to-day substitute teacher at her request.

• Approved leave from July 25, 2012, to Aug. 10, 2012, for Sherrie Fenner, director of curriculum and instruction.

• Approved leave beginning June 27, 2012, for Raymond Saxe, custodian. His return to work date is to be determined.

• Approved leave beginning Aug. 29, 2012, for Sally Krawchuck, secretary. Her return to work date is to be determined.

• Accepted the resignation of Diane Lotier, cafeteria worker, effective July 30, 2012.

• Accepted the resignation of Jennifer Becker, kindergarten teacher at Towamensing Elementary, at her request.

• Approved elementary teacher Brittany Hunsicker at Bachelor's, Step 1, of the pending negotiated contract, effective Aug. 22, 2012.

• Approved change of salary for head cross country coach Jeff Minnich, from full salary, to half salary, with half salary going to volunteer coach Kurt Eckhart.

• Approved Amanda Radishofski as a day-to-day substitute teacher, effective Aug. 22, 2012.

• Approved David Kellerman, Chess Club; Travid Fink, Gridiron Club; Jose Elvir, International Traveler's Club; Whitney Babyak, Library Book Club; Miranda Allen, PAAC Advisor; Kellerman, Souled Out Club; and Robert Falkenstein, Video Club, as nonpaid high school club advisers.

• Approved Holly Sell, K-2; Roberta Yeager, Grade 3; Kristin Heller, Grade 4; Deanna Iles, Grade 5; and Monique Hofford, Grade 6, as curriculum coordinators at Parkside/S.S. Palmer Elementary schools for the 2012-13 school year.

• Approved Joyce Paulinho, K-2; Susan Warakomski, Grade 3; Kris Hoffner, Grade 4; Blaine House, Grade 5; and Jaclyn Ivancich, Grade 6, as curriculum coordinators at Towamensing Elementary for the 2012-13 school year.

• Approved Patricia Boyd, co-chair, English/Language Arts; Kevin Kolodziejski, co-chair, English/Language Arts; Michael Stefanek, Social Studies; Kathy Englert, Math/Science; and John Sweeney, Secondary Specialists, as curriculum coordinators at the junior high school for the 2012-13 school year.

• Approved Bonnie Tavella, co-chair, English; Anna Corby, co-chair, English; Michael Gombert, co-chair, Social Studies; Paul McArdle, co-chair, Social Studies; Pamela Wuerst, Math; John Hrebik, Science; Thomas Smelas, Business; and Carol Andrews, Health/Physical Education, as curriculum coordinators at he senior high school for the 2012-13 school year.

• Approved the salary adjustments for horizontal movement on the respective salary levels per the teachers' pending negotiated contract, effective for the first semester of the 2012-13 school year, to Natalize Dize, BS +24 to Masters; James George, BS to Masters; and Kelly Ruddick, BS to BS +24.

• Approved student teacher Kayla Kromer, from Kutztown University, with Kris Hoffner, Grade 4, at Towamensing; and student teacher Jennifer Romagno, from Kutztown University, with Susan Deem, Grade 4, at Towamensing, from Oct. 22, 2012 to Dec. 13, 2012.

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