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Towamensing school has 7 teachers retiring

Published January 18. 2012 05:02PM

Palmerton Area School District has an eye toward the future with seven teachers set to retire at the end of this school year.

To that end, the school board on Tuesday heard a presentation on staffing and programs for the 2012-13 school year from Sherrie Fenner, director of curriculum and instruction, and Deb Demyanovich, director of human resources.

Fenner said at the end of the 2011-12 school year, there will be seven retirees, all of whom are teachers at Towamensing Elementary. Of those, two are kindergarten teachers, one is first grade, two are third grade, one is fifth grade, and one is sixth grade.

As a result, Fenner said the hiring process needs to begin early in an effort for the district to have a wide selection of candidates.

What makes the matter difficult, she said, is that the amount of pupils that enter kindergarten varies from year to year.

Title I requirements set forth that schools must have a comparable student-to-teacher ratio, said Fenner, who added that "the ratios of teachers to students in Non-Title buildings have to be higher than Titled buildings."

"This year, we almost didn't make our comparability report," Fenner said. "That's not an option this year; otherwise, we lose our comparability."

Director Josann Harry asked how the district is able to plan when it doesn't know how many pupils are expected to attend kindergarten.

But, Fenner told Harry the district has "increased and decreased at will" in the past.

Superintendent Carol Boyce noted the importance of the situation.

"This is one of the things we have to keep in mind when we do our budget," Boyce said. "Especially with kindergarten, which is so crucial."

Fenner said transfer requests would be based on: the need to balance various teaching skills among the schools; changing pupil population within the schools of the district; the impact on the educational program of the proposed assignment; the employee's background and preparation for the position; and the employee's length of service in the district and in the position presently held.

Demyanovich noted that the district does have three elementary teachers on recall.

Fenner said an email will be sent this month to all instructional staff to indicate their request for grade level/building transfers. Administration will meet next month to discuss internal transfers and grade level needs, she said.

The district will post the anticipated vacancies in March, and conduct interviews in April, she said.

A recommendation will be made to the board in May for a new hire, with budget adoption slated for June, Fenner said.

In other business, the board:

• Approved the continued unpaid leave of absence for Rose Mann, cafeteria worker, from Jan. 12-Feb. 13, 2012.

• Approved the transfer of Francis Tartar, part-time custodian, to full-time lead custodian, at S.S. Palmer Elementary, with starting salary of $37,619, prorated, plus a $1,500 stipend, prorated, effective Jan. 30, 2012.

• Approved the transfer of Christine Greenzweig, part-time custodian at Towamensing Elementary, to part-time custodian at Parkside Education, six hours per day with the pay rate according to the negotiated contract, effective Jan. 27, 2012.

• Approved the salary adjustments for the horizontal movement on the respective salary level per the teachers' negotiated contract, for Kimberly Gardner.

• Approved the renewal of the subscription agreement for the amount of $1,050 with SunGard Sector for Performance Plus Techpaths, starting Jan. 1, 2012 through Dec. 31, 2012.

• Approved, in accordance with fund balance Policy 620, the remaining $141 to the Committed Fund Balance for the following purposes: retirement rate increases; CCTI increased enrollment; special education costs.

• Approved the Drama Club's musical stage presentation, the License Agreement, from "Tams-Witmark Music Library, Inc., Made on Behalf of the Copyright Proprietors to be Signed by Entities Performing Musical Shows.", at the cost of $1,205.

• Approved the Club K Entertainment blanket Performance contract for DJ Services for the remainder of the 2011-12 school year, subject to the board solicitor's recommendation.

• Accepted the donation of books from a Palmerton Area School District citizen to the high school/junior high school library.

• Approved the advertisement for the 2012-13 Janitorial Supplies and General School Supplies.

• Set forth the fee of .25 cents a page for photocopying records.

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