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School board re-elects Gogel, Frantz

The president and vice president of Northampton Area School District Board of Education were re-elected at the Dec. 2 reorganization meeting.

In separate, unanimous 9-0 votes, David Gogel was re-elected president and Chuck Frantz was elected vice president.

Taking the oath of office were re-elected board members Dr. Michael Baird, John Becker, James Chuss, Robert Mentzell and Gogel. The five re-elected school directors join Chuck Longacre, Ross Makary, Roy Maranki and Frantz, each of whom was not up for re-election.

“I want to welcome everyone back to the board, David (Gogel) as president and Chuck (Frantz) as vice president,” NASD Superintendent of Schools Joseph S. Kovalchik said after the vote and swearing in.

“Student academic scores are up across the district. Facilities are being improved. We are maintaining the tax rate as best as we can. The district is in a good place. We have a lot to do,” Kovalchik said.

One of the things “to do” is expected to be on the agenda of the next scheduled school board meeting, which is the final 2019 meeting, 6:30 p.m. Dec. 16 in the administration building, 2014 Laubach Ave., Northampton, when Kovalchik and NASD Business Administrator Matthew Sawarynski unveil the 2020-21 NASD preliminary budget.

“There are a lot of unknowns,” Kovalchik said of the preliminary plan.

“Commercial properties and assessments,” he added, referring to potential district tax revenue as new warehouses are added to the tax base.

Kovalchik said even though the preliminary budget is being introduced in December, which is approximately one month earlier than the budget introduction in previous years, “There’s going to be a lot of work done between Feb. 1 and June 1 (2020).”

State law requires that school boards approve district budgets by June 30 of each year.

Kovalchik cited February because that’s when Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is expected to announce his proposed 2020 budget, which can affect school districts’ funding. Also, February is typically when district retirements begin to be announced, which can affect budgets in terms of lower salaries for new teachers compared to those of longtime teachers.

Kovalchik said the commonwealth budget and teacher retirements routinely impact NASD budgets.

“The others (commercial properties and assessments) are not typical,” Kovalchik said, adding, “How much should we factor in?

“When you come back in January, you’ll have to approve the preliminary budget,” Kovalchik briefed school directors.

In other business at the Dec. 2 meeting, board members voted 9-0 to approve committee assignments for which they volunteered, including:

• Act 93: Baird, Gogel

• Contract negotiations: Frantz, Gogel, Maranki

• Employee benefit trust: Baird

• Expulsion: Becker, Frantz, Gogel, Mentzell

• Facilities: Becker, Chuss, Longacre, Maranki

• K-Kids Foundation: Makary

• Meet and discuss: Becker, Mentzell

• NASD Community Council liaison: Frantz, Maranki, Mentzell

• Pennsylvania School Boards Association liaison: Baird, Longacre (alternate)

• Policy: Becker, Maranki, Mentzell

• Public library liaison: vacant (for second year in a row)

• Safe school: Chuss, Frantz, Makary, Maranki

• Technology: Chuss, Longacre

Also, board members voted 9-0 to approve:

• Gogel to serve on Bethlehem Area Vocational-Technical School Board of Directors, effective December through December 2022 and Long- acre to serve on BAVTS board, through December 2020

• Gogel to serve on BAVTS authority, through January 2024

• Baird to serve on Colonial Intermediate Unit 20 board, through June 22, 2022

• Nick Politi to serve on Northampton Community College board, through June 30, 2020

• The second and fourth Mondays, except April, May, July and December for 2020 board meetings. The administration shall provide the public notice of the regular board meetings for the calendar year 2020 in accordance with the law. The school board usually meets 6:30 p.m. in the administration building but sometimes meets in the Northampton Area High School cafeteria.

• Jason Williamson as board treasurer for the 2019-20 fiscal year until an assistant business administrator is hired

• 2019-20 community education program roster of instructors and stipends and the list of anticipated classes for spring 2020

• Fund balance amounts and classifications including nonspendable, at $283,636 for inventory and $155,414 for prepaid expenses, and assigned, at $5,569 for Chromebook reserves

Press photo by Paul WillisteinIn front, from left, NASD Superintendent of Schools Joseph S. Kovalchik, NASD Board of Education President David Gogel and Vice President Chuck Frantz and in back, from left, board members James Chuss, John Becker, Dr. Michael Baird, Chuck Longacre, Ross Makary, Roy Maranki and Robert Mentzell gather for a group photo during the Dec. 2 reorganization meeting.