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Board approves preliminary 2021-2022 budget

The Salisbury Township school board held its monthly regular board meeting via Zoom Feb. 17.

To open the meeting, student representatives from Salisbury High School and Salisbury Middle School gave updates on student government happenings.

Angela Bitar, a SHS student, said spring sports are just around the corner, starting March 8. She also reported hybrid learning in the high school is going much smoother than expected. “We are thankful for all the teachers and everything they do. We know it’s not easy but we are happy to be back,” Bitar said.

SMS student council representative Alanah Kemmerer, mentioned different activities the student council has planned or implemented recently, such as virtual bingo and virtual spirit week. She said St. Patrick’s Day events are in the works, along with other virtual event ideas.

SMS student Cameron Kubinsky shared updates about student life for the middle school.

Board President George Gatanis asked how it feels to be back in school physically, and Kemmerer replied, “I’m glad to be back. Classes are easier in person than they are virtually.”

Next, the board voted to approve the preliminary budget discussed during several recent board and committee meetings.

There were multiple personnel changes up for approval on the agenda. Among them, the resignations of Rosemarie Ambriano-Yob as a part-time one-to-one instructional assistant at SHS, Mandy Simon as a part-time one-to-one instructional assistant at Salisbury Elementary School and Jenny Kaough, Donita Marze and Kathleen Houlik as part-time instructional assistants at SMS.

Several new hires were also on the agenda for approval, including Sierra Mama, of Bethlehem, as a part-time one-to-one instructional assistant at SES, Latasha Snyder, of Allentown, as a part-time nurse assistant at SES and SHS, Michael Pennella and Kimberly Rutt, both of Allentown, for building substitute positions at SHS.

Also, the employment of Carol Monaghan, of Macungie and Marianne Reynolds, of Allentown, for the district nurse assistant substitute were designated for approval.

Transfers were approved for Jasmine Riegel, of Allentown, from a part-time one-to-one instructional assistant at SES to a part-time intervention instructional assistant at SES and Anita Gopen, of Macungie, from a part-time library instructional assistant at SES to a part-time one-to-one instructional assistant at SES. The board voted to approve all personnel changes on the agenda for the evening.

The meeting capped off with a leadership team report, in which Director Rebecca Glenister said the Salisbury Education Foundation is looking to get more community members involved and for new grant opportunities. This past year, the SEF was responsible for winning a $106,000 Lehigh County COVID-19 grant for technology that would support livestreaming, technology subscriptions and other supplies and resources, as well as a grant from Crayola providing supplies for kindergarten teachers. Interested parties should contact Glenister at bglenister@salisburysd.org or Superintendent Lynn Fuini-Hetten at lfuinihetten@salisburysd.org to get involved with SEF.

Board members also discussed the potential return of in-person board meetings, with all in attendance agreeing meetings should continue to be held virtually for the time being, as meeting in this fashion has promoted community engagement and the safety of meeting in person is still in question. The discussion has been tabled until a later date.

The next regular board meeting will be held March 17 via Zoom.