SALISBURY TOWNSHIP SCHOOL DISTRICT
Members of the Salisbury Township School Board formally approved the district final 2018-2019 general fund operating budget reflecting total expenditures in the amount of $37,727,206 requiring a total real estate tax levy of 18.8955 mills at its June 13 meeting.
Millage for the district will increase from 18.4527 to 18.8955.
Director George Gatanis asked for a roll-call vote, with Gatanis giving a vote of no and Board Vice President Samuel DeFrank absent.
With the approval of the 2.4 percent Act I Index increase allowed without a voter referendum, a homeowner with an assessed home value of $200,000 will see an increase of $89.
The rising costs of transportation services, charter and cyber school enrollment, special education services and the Public School Employee Retirement System were noted as the culprits behind the increase.
Superintendent Dr. Randy Ziegenfuss said the stipend from the state for added expenses for the upcoming school year is estimated to be an additional $35,000.
After approval of the budget, Board President Frank Frankenfield thanked the board members for their diligence in moving forward through less than desirable decisions pertaining to the budget.
“It was a tough budget year; I think every year is a tough budget year anymore with all the changes and cuts we have to make and I wanted to thank the board for all the hard work behind the budget so we can approve it. It is unfortunate that we have to increase the millage, but we are trying to fill the gaps and it comes down to us,” Frankenfield said.
In other business, the district lost a collective 115 years of teaching experience at the end of the school year with the retirement of four educators: Gloria J. Hinkle, emotional support instructional assistant at Salisbury High School - 32 years of service, Cynthia L. Mugavero, mathematics teacher at Salisbury Middle School - 19 years of service, Patricia N. Sabo, emotional support instructional assistant at SMS - 33 years of service and John A. Wagner, mathematics teacher at SHS - 31 years of service. Wagner was not in attendance.
Attendance at the meeting was high as Salisbury staff and members of the community came to witness the emotional farewell.
Each of the retirees who were present received a citation for their success and completion of services.
After applause from the board and attendees in the gallery, Frankenfield acknowledged the retirees’ achievements.
“Thank you for everything you have done for our students and district, good luck on your retirements.”
Director Carol Klinger also expressed her thanks by saying it had been a pleasure working with all three of the retirees who were present.
The price of school lunches will increase for the 2018-2019 school year at the elementary and middle schools. The board approved a 10 cent increase to Type A lunches at those levels. Lunch prices will be $2.70 for elementary, $3 for middle school and $3 for high school meals.
Director Joseph Gnall expressed concern about whether all children are getting adequate lunches and are being charged appropriately.
Director Susan Lea responded that all schools and parents will have to get on board by using the app for ordering lunches prior to the student’s actual lunch time.
The four-year Salisbury Education Association contract that carries through to 2022 received a five-vote majority with DeFrank absent, a no vote from Gatanis and Directors Audrey Frick and Carol Klinger abstaining.
Approval of the terms between the district and teachers union is subject to a fully executed written agreement reviewed by the district’s solicitor.
Frankenfield noted negotiations were challenging but “we got everything worked out.”
Members of the board also unanimously approved agreements between the district and Discovery Education Inc., a two-year partnership for the purchase and licensing of Math Techbooks; Edmentum Products and Services for educational software and the University of Oregon for the School-Wide Information Suite, (SWIS).
In personnel news, Director Mary Ziegler asked for and received approval for the resignations of Karen McGuinness, part-time German teacher; Robin Reynolds, part-time instructional aide; Jodi Bilger, part-time cafeteria worker; Pamela Marth, part-time instructional assistant; Kari Lessel, part-time instructional assistant and a reduction of hours for Jaime Roth-Gilly, part-time English Language Learner teacher.
The board approved the employment of James Hahn as a full-time mathematics teacher at the high school; and Tracy Buttillo as a full-time long-term substitute ESL teacher at Harry S Truman Elementary School.
Approved building transfers include Allison Moyer from full-time third grade teacher at Western Salisbury Elementary School to full-time guidance counselor at SHS; Julie Mokris from full-time head cook at HST to full-time cook at the middle school and Mark Hendricks from full-time head cook at SMS to full-time cook at HST.
Department chairpersons approved by the board include Laura Dos Santos, world language; Megan Basile, science and technology; Sherry Wetherhold, family consumer sciences and business; Michael Barna, social studies; Angela Xander, mathematics; Rachel Reinecke, visual and performing arts and Michael Frederick, special education.
Additional custodial help over the summer months will include the board approved employment of Adam Boyd, John Frankenfield, Robert Kulp, Terry Klingaman and Chase Klingaman. Frankenfield abstained from the vote of approval for John Frankenfield.
Ziegler was approved as treasurer for the Salisbury Township School District effective July 1 through June 30, 2019.
George R. Crawford was approved as a part-time interim business administrator in the administration building with a start date of June 19 through Nov. 30 (tentatively) at an hourly rate of $100 an hour as outlined in the agreement between Naval Square Financial Management Consulting Services, LLC and the district. Crawford will replace Robert Bruchak who resigned.
In her committee report, Ziegler said Salisbury has 218 students who are receiving services from the Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit. The highest count of students is 162 students receiving support for speech and language.
House Bill 564 has been signed by Governor Tom Wolf, according to Director Susan Lea and each student will be required to take a civics examination. Lea noted even though the students are required to take the exam, they are not required to pass.
Senate Bill 1095 is currently in collaboration with the senate and the Pennsylvania School Boards Association to address the requirements for graduation, giving alternatives for the Keystone examinations.
House Bill 85, which allows parents to submit a written objection to the Keystone examinations, just passed the senate, according to Lea.
During the citizens comments portion of the meeting, Todd and Lori Parton addressed the board with their concerns over the change to student busing practices.
According to the Partons, their son was previously bused to the middle school; however, now as a high school student living within a two- mile radius of the school he must walk.
The Partons questioned the safety of the decision by the board to have students walk to the school considering the lack of sidewalks and the weight of backpacks loaded with gear.
Lori Parton mentioned that during the winter months, their son must walk the one and half miles to school before the sun rises, creating additional safety concerns.
Todd Parton also noted that he understood the need to make cuts in order to balance a budget but said students who live in the district who attend charter schools are bused to schools outside the district.
Frankenfield thanked the Partons for expressing their concerns and said the board will take their concerns into consideration and look into the matter.