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No increase in CIU budget request

Colonial Intermediate Unit 20 seeks $43,894.88 for its 2022-23 general operating budget from Northampton Area School District.

The funding request represents a zero-percent increase from 2021-22 for NASD. CIU20 Executive Director Dr. Christopher S. Wolfel made the funding request at the March 14 school board meeting.

The 2022-23 CIU20 operating budget is $3,835,200, an $84,650 increase.

“Our mission is to be the middle man in taking initiatives from the (Pennsylvania) Department of Education and sharing them with the school districts,” Wolfel said.

CIU20 is “a hub of resources to our school districts,” he added.

CIU20, serving 13 school districts and three career centers in a 1,200-square-mile region, has 1,500 employees. Of 86,000 public school students served, 8,000 are in IU programs and 2,000 are in early intervention programs. There are 7,000 professional staff served.

The CIU20 operating budget supports four departments: educational support services, human resources, curriculum and professional learning and education technology.

Services include joint purchasing, life insurance consortium, driver’s education on-the-road instruction, fingerprint services, school safety resources/training, support for gifted education and autism, professional development for educators, human resources in partnership with Moravian University, instructional media lending library, Internet regional/wide area network and cyber security.

There are 120 NASD students in CIU20 programs, as of February, for the 2021-22 school year. An additional 313 NASD students receive CIU20-related services, as of February, for the 2021-22 school year.

Enrollment at Colonial Academy, operated by CIU20, averages 29 NASD students per school year over five school years.

Autistic support by CIU20 is provided to 33 NASD students.

CIU20 blends education and treatment with a combination of early intervention, school-age special education and behavioral health.

“Our services have increased when the number of students with disabilities has increased,” Wolfel said. “I think Northampton (Area School District) has done a nice job keeping those students in your buildings.”

There’s a tiered services approach to programs, which include schoolwide assistance, targeted intervention and individualized intensive services.

Career-readiness programs are available through Kirkridge Retreat Center and St. Luke’s Hospital, Monroe campus.

Colonial Academy programs include high school completion and employment, culinary arts, construction management and school-to-work.

Wolfel also outlined the CIU20 response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NASD COVID-19 seven-day building totals, March 15-21, as of March 21, are Northampton Area High School, 1, no change from 1; Northampton Area Middle School, 1, up from 0; Borough Elementary Schools, 0, no change from 0; Moore Elementary School, 0, no change from 0; Lehigh Elementary School, 0, no change from 0; George Wolf Elementary School, 0, no change from 0; and district administration building, 0, down from 1.

The number of positive cases of COVID-19 in NASD for the 2021-22 school year to date is 1,134.

The board of education will meet 6:30 p.m. April 11 in the NAHS auditorium, 1619 Laubach Ave., Northampton.

PRESS PHOTO BY PAUL WILLISTEIN Colonial Intermediate Unit 20 Executive Director Dr. Christopher S. Wolfel speaks during the March 14 Northampton Area School District Board of Education meeting at Northampton Area High School.