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Township official urges 'due diligence' in next year's school budget

Published May 16. 2012 05:01PM

Palmerton Area School District has been asked to put forth maximum effort as it continues to wrestle with next year's spending plan.

Ron Walbert, a resident of Lower Towamensing Township, expressed concerns to the school board on Tuesday with regard to the 2012-13 budget.

Walbert, who serves as chairman of the township's board of supervisors, told the board it needs to give "due diligence" to next year's proposed spending plan.

Last month, the board approved the advertisement of the proposed $27,265,782 spending plan, which called for a 3.4-percent, or 1.67-mill, increase, which would raise the millage rate from 49.14 to 50.81 mills.

Such an increase would mean a person with a home valued at $100,000 and assessed at $50,000 would pay $2,540, or $83 more in property taxes to the district next year.

As part of a budget workshop last week, the board decided to check into other potential millage scenarios for a 2-mill, 2.36-mill and 2.72-mill increase.

Final budget adoption is slated for June 19. By law, the district has until June 30 to pass the budget.

Also on Tuesday, the board approved the Affiliation Agreement with East Stroudsburg University for Graduate Assistants and Use of a Facility as an Internship Site for Athletic Training at a cost of $9,528 for the 2012-13 school year.

Board President Barry Scherer said he believes the agreement will have a positive affect on the district because it will ensure that a trainer is present at both the high school fields and the Seventh Street field.

"It will give us a grad student as a trainer, and two interns to share duties because of the split facilities," Scherer said. "I think it's a good deal for all the athletes of the district."

In other business, the board:

• Approved a 6-percent increase in medical insurance rates for the 2012-13 school year. This increase will allow for sufficient funds from which to pay claims.

• Approved Stop Loss Coverage for the 2012-13 fiscal year through American Fidelity Assurance Company. The per employee per month will be $130.32, with a maximum per employee deductible set at $100,000.

• Approved a three-year contract with CLIU21 for Archipelago Learning, LLC, at the cost of $7,314 per year, minus a $12,845 credit, for a one-time cost of $9,098, to be paid from Title I and Accountability Block Grants.

• Approved the continued sabbatical for the first semester of the 2012-13 school year for Lisa Koller, junior high school special education.

• Approved Suzanne Lynn to continue as a long-term substitute for Koller for the first semester of the 2012-13 school year at Bachelor's Step 1 of the collective bargaining agreement.

• Approved elementary teachers Ralph Andrews, Jr., Jennifer Becker; Trisha Green; and William Zeky at Bachelor's, Step 1, of the pending negotiated contract, effective Aug. 22.

• Removed Anida Mota from the substitute nurse list, effective May 16, as per her request.

• Approved Joseph Plechavy III, as a volunteer to help with elementary music productions.

• Approved Andrew Remsing as summer program facilitator of the PLATO Course/Credit recovery program for students in grades 7-12. The program will run from June 11-28, Monday through Thursday, with sessions from 8-10 a.m., and 10 a.m. to noon. The pay rate is $28 per hour in accordance with the current contract.

• Approved the following teachers for the 2012 summer program for about 40 hours at the contract rate of $28 per hour, to be paid 30 percent from Title I, and 70 percent by district funds: Bobbi Yeager, coordinator, additional hours as needed, district funded; Shannon Ambrosiano, district funded; Deanna Iles, district funded; Jennifer Ramaly, Title I funded; Sara Samok, district funded; Lori Smith, Title I funded; Denise Strohl, district funded; Jennifer Strohl, district funded; Sue Warakomski, Title I funded; Marcy Zelinsky, district funded.

• Accepted the proposal of Lifetouch for school photography for school years 2012-13, 2013-14, and 2014-15 without price increase during that period.

• Approved the CIPA complaint online safety curriculum.

• Accepted the second reading and approved policy #815, Acceptable Use of Technology Resources/Internet.

• Approved the Resolution Supporting Increased State Funding for K-12 Public Education.

• Accepted the Program of Studies for 2012-13.

• Approved the new curriculum for Comparative Mythology; Accelerated/CP English 9; Honors/CP English 10; Honors/CP English 11; AP/CP English 12; English 9; English 10; English 11; English 12; Reading Study Skills; and Speech.

• Approved advertising to dispose of two inoperable pretzel machines, per policy 706.2.

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