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With an 8-1 vote, Salisbury Township School District board members approved the 2015-2016 proposed final general fund budget reflecting total expenditures in the amount of $33,989,399.

The proposed final budget includes a 1.2 percent tax increase to residents; the impact to the average homeowner is $43.32.

Included in this budget is an elementary guidance counselor, full-day kindergarten staffing and supplies, money for field trips for students in kindergarten through grade 12 ($15 per student), increased instructional support at Harry S Truman, increased clerical support at HST, Western Salisbury Elementary School and Salisbury Middle School, a courier, a full-time custodian at Salisbury High School, swimming intramurals at SMS, band uniforms (partial), increased clerical support in the business office and increased clerical support for the director of student activities.

Voting against the budget was school board director Dr. Christopher J. Spedaliere.

"I commend the administration for doing great work in keeping costs down," Spedaliere said. "I'm concerned about the cost of full-day kindergarten."

Board President Russell Giordano said he is pleased there is such a small increase for the residents.

"This is really good work," Giordano said. "Harrisburg does everything they can to make our lives more difficult. I'm thrilled to offer full-day kindergarten. Hopefully Harrisburg will do something like pension reform so we can do even more good things."

Board member Samuel DeFrank also was pleased with the budget.

"These last four years have been challenging," DeFrank said. "We have brought more value by being very judicious and the administration, teachers and the board have been working very hard."

In other business, seniors Hannah Kahn and Meghan Williams, school board representatives, reported on high school news for the last time as they graduate June 3. Highlights of their report include two Freddy nominations for Shannon Cornish and Abigail Garrigan.

Also, at the recent Student Government Association blood drive, the donation goal was surpassed - the first time this has happened. A total of 59 donors registered with 49 successful donations.

The Salisbury prom is scheduled for May 22 at SteelStacks in Bethlehem.

Other events noted included the SHS Academic Awards ceremony May 26, a top 10 breakfast at the high school May 26 and the Elmer Gates Award Breakfast May 27. Lastly, graduation will be held 6 p.m. June 3 at Symphony Hall.

Giordano thanked the seniors for their reporting and their community service.

Salisbury Police Department Officer Richard Nothstein provided a report to the board members regarding his support to the district during the 2013-2014 school year.

During that time period, Salisbury police responded to 362 calls for service with 71 arrests for events happening in the four school buildings or on the school grounds.

Nothstein said police responded to alarms, assaults, bullying, bus issues, check welfare calls, child abuse, criminal mischief and more.

Arrests including assault, criminal mischief, disorderly conduct, drugs, harassment, theft, tobacco and truency.

Nothstein said he sits on the student assistance program team and two safety teams. He makes residency checks and reports findings to the adminstration to pursue further action. He attended open houses, sporting events, the annual K-9 demonstration, dodgeball event, powder puff game, car show, dances and elementary parades. Nothstein also coordinated driving simulation events for students and attends crime meetings, Communities that Care meetings and has attended school resource officer trainings.

"I would like to thank the school board for the great working relationship," Nothstein said.

Board members in turn thanked Nothstein for his service to the district.

"Thanks for all you do," board member Tom Mantz said.

"Let Chief Stiles know we appreciate all you do," board member Frank Frankenfield said.

Nothstein has been the school resource officer for five years.

A school resource officer has been working with the district since 2004.

"Thank you for helping us with our number one priority of keeping our kids safe," Giordano said. "Residents should feel their kids are safe and secure."

In other business, Secretary of the Board Robert Bruchak reported residents should see a reduction on their taxpayer's bill due to additional money being received from gaming. Each household should see an assessment reduction of approximately $154. Last year, taxpayers received a reduction of $118.

Lastly, Executive Director William Fitzpatrick, Arts Academy Charter School, 1610 E. Emmaus Ave., thanked the board for their consideration in renewing the charter for the school.

Charter school parents also attended in support of the Arts Academy Charter School.

"We hope we've proven to be a worthy neighbor," Firtzpatrick said.

A vote will be taken at the June 17 school board meeting at the administration building.

PRESS PHOTOS BY DEBBIE GALBRAITH Salisbury alumna Victoria Brobst is presented with the 2014 Cedar Crest College Valedictory Award at the Salisbury Township School District board meeting May 13. Brobst received this award for having the highest academic average during her freshman year. The award was presented by Cedar Crest alumna Amelia Wagner who also presented a monetary award to the Salisbury High School library to purchase books. Pictured are Victoria Brobst, Amelia Wagner, SHS Librarian Robin Burns