Catasauqua Area School District Board of Education’s April 13 meeting opened with a moment of silence for former board member June Hahn, who died March 19.
Personnel changes approved at the meeting include the intent to retire for Eric Snyder, a Catasauqua High School teacher with 36 years of service, and Dawn Fisher, a Catasauqua Middle School teacher with 32 years of service. Both Snyder and Fisher intend to retire at the end of the 2020-21 school year.
John Yanek, a CHS teacher with 31 years of service, and Sally Brong, a CMS teacher with 18 years of service, are approved to retire during the 2021-22 school year.
The final retirement approved at this meeting is for Scott Smith, a districtwide bus driver. Smith’s retirement is effective April 1.
At Sheckler Elementary School, Janelle Sentiwany was approved to move from a substitute teacher to a kindergarten teacher, and Erin Stramitis was approved to move from a certified instructional aide to a virtual teacher, both effective Aug. 19 at $57,327. Both were present at the meeting and expressed their appreciation.
Angelo Lucci was approved to change from a substitute teacher to a seventh-grade social studies and English teacher at CMS at $57,327, effective Aug. 19.
“I’m really thankful to be working in the district,” Lucci said. “I can’t see myself working anywhere else.”
Additionally, Laura Gerhard was approved to move from a daily substitute to a job coach at CHS at $57,327, effective Aug. 19.
David Burker, a volunteer assistant track coach, resigned for personal reasons, effective March 16.
Two new substitutes were added to the substitute employment list. Jose Rivera is approved as a substitute custodian, effective March 10, and Kurt Anchorstar is approved as a substitute teacher.
The short-term substitute rate of $180 per day was approved for Cathy Moore, effective April 4 until the end of the school year, and the short-term substitute rate of $130 per day was approved for Madison Walker, effective Feb. 1.
Luke Dauberman was approved as a volunteer assistant baseball coach, and Robert Miller Jr. was appointed a districtwide custodian.
Two student teachers were approved to work within the district. Amelia Hruban, from DeSales University, is approved to work with Elyse Haas in secondary math, effective Feb. 1-May 7. Ashlee Brosky, from Kutztown University, is approved to work with Thomas Moll. director of student activities, in athletics, effective May 24-Sept. 30.
The school board also approved the request to employ six student custodial workers for up to six weeks during the summer. Bradshaw Henning was approved for districtwide summer maintenance employment at $11.25 per hour.
The 2021-22 salaries for the secretarial and clerk, food service, custodial and maintenance, transportation and administration workers were approved, effective July 1.
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Christina Lutz-Doemling reported parents and guardians should be on the lookout for the learning options form for the 2021-22 school year in preparation for next year. The form is available on the school district website, and parents and guardians are asked to respond by 5 p.m. April 30.
With regard to budget, Superintendent of Schools Robert Spengler noted the administration is aiming for preliminary budget approval in May.
He reported that, as of now, there is no tax increase. Spengler did remind the board CASD needs to contend with both Lehigh and Northampton counties, so a balance must occur. This may result in a tax increase in one county but not the other. The 2020-21 budget included an increase in Lehigh County and a decrease in Northampton County.
Spengler also noted the district is still expected to receive COVID-19 relief grant funds.
In his building and grounds report, Spengler reported the Alumni Field renovation project is underway.
“It is now a construction site,” Spengler said.
He noted approximately 95 percent of the bleacher and press box demolition is finished, the contracts are signed, the lights are ordered and crews have begun stripping the field.
Moll reported CASD received a generous donation toward the Alumni Field project. Willis Strein, former track coach from 1963 to 1993, wanted to give back to the program. After his death in 2012, the family started a fund in case the field was ever renovated. Board member Dale Hein reached out to Diane Peters, Strein’s daughter, and told her about the current reconstruction project.
Moll reported that between the family and other donations, the district received $10,000 in Strein’s name for Alumni Field.
Moll also thanked Whitehall High School for letting the Catasauqua students use their track for practices while Alumni Field is under construction.
School board members granted preliminary approval to three new social studies textbooks, including an American history book at CMS and U.S. history and world history books at CHS. Lutz-Doemling reported these books all contain culturally relevant, interactive and online features.
As is the case every three years, the district had to review and update the bullying/cyberbullying policy. Shelley Keffer, the district coordinator of student services, reviewed the policy, and the board members approved it.
The disposal of three district vehicles and the purchase of new vehicles, pending the approval of the 2021-22 budget, were approved by the district. The vehicles being disposed of include a Polaris Trail Boss, Chevrolet dump truck and a Ford pickup truck.
The new vehicles include a Case backhoe, at $107,800; a Kubota Model D1105, at $40,661.52; and four low-roof vans, at $32,576. A dump truck with snow plow and salt spreader, a heavy duty 4×4 truck with plow and lift gate, two passenger mini vans and a special-needs mini school bus were also approved, with pricing to be determined.
Additional and revised van or bus stops include at Poplar and South Front streets; Northampton Area Middle School, 1617 Laubach Ave., Northampton; Woodspring Suites, 5518 Oakview Drive, Allentown; and Roberto Clemente Charter School, 136 S. Fourth St., Allentown.
The school board next meets 7 p.m. May 11.