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Administrative changes approved in NASD

Changes in personnel are underway with the approval of several administrative appointments and retirements in Northampton Area School District.

At the Jan. 10 meeting, the NASD Board of Education voted 7-0, with two school directors absent, to approve the appointment of Susan Hertzog as the Pennsylvania information management system and child accounting coordinator, effective July 1, at $64,000 annually, with benefits. Hertzog is being promoted from her role as secretary of transportation for NASD.

After the meeting, NASD Superintendent of Schools Joseph S. Kovalchik said increasing demands for information from the state required the new job role. It is aligned with that of child accounting, which pertains to grants and other information for students, he noted.

Hertzog takes on the new role, in addition to that of child accounting coordinator. The child accounting was overseen by Donna Teklits, supervisor of human resources and child accounting, whose retirement, effective June 30, was accepted by a 9-0 vote at the Nov. 22, 2021, school board meeting.

At the Nov. 22, 2021, meeting, school directors also voted 9-0 to approve Dr. Michael Alogna as director of human resources, effective Feb. 7-June 30, 2026, at a prorated $115,000 annual salary.

Another change will be the appointment of an NASD director of transportation, following the retirement, effective July 5, of Brian Leskowich, accepted by a 9-0 vote at the Dec. 6, 2021, school board meeting.

Kovalchik reported student attendance in the district is at 90 percent, down by 5 percent from the typical 95-percent rate.

Kovalchik said staffing has been steady; however, staffing of school bus drivers has been challenging.

“As of now, we’ve been able to staff our classes,” Kovalchik said. “Transportation has been a bit more of a challenge. We’ve had to double up and split runs.”

This has resulted in longer transportation times for students, he noted. NASD adheres to the federal requirement for face masks to be worn on public transportation, which includes school buses.

Kovalchik said the district’s teachers association and other district unions representing employees have been working with the administration to continue in-person instruction Monday through Friday.

“They have been nothing but collaborative, cooperative and supportive,” said Kovalchik of the district’s labor representative groups.

In his report to the school board, Kovalchik announced commencement for the Northampton Area High School Class of 2022 will be held 7:30 p.m. June 3, with planned rain dates of 7:30 p.m. June 4 and 5, at Al Erdosy Stadium, on the campus of the district’s secondary school buildings.

The school board met in executive session before the Jan. 10 meeting. According to Kovalchik, discussion revolved around district retirees and how to replace them.

“We recommended a zero-percent tax increase,” Kovalchik reiterated regarding the 2022 budget. “We’ll provide you with any updates. We’re awaiting information from Gov. Wolf because he usually announces something in February.”

Several members of the audience at the school board meeting in the NAHS auditorium lauded the administration and school directors for implementing and continuing the voluntary face mask policy.

“I appreciate what you did,” Mandy Housenick said. “Thank you. Let’s continue to give the parents the right to be parents and parent our children.”

The NASD website COVID-19 data dashboard seven-day building totals, Jan. 4-10, as of Jan. 10, are: NAHS, 79, up from 19 the previous week; Northampton Area Middle School, 26, up from 17; Borough Elementary Schools, 20, up from 9; Moore Elementary School, 5, up from 0; Lehigh Elementary School, 12, up from 11; George Wolf Elementary School, 10, up from 4, and district administration, 0, down from 1.

The year-to-date NASD positive cases are 798.

The board of education will next meet 7 p.m. Feb. 14 in the NAHS auditorium, 1619 Laubach Ave., Northampton.