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Moore man banned from NASD ’22 meetings

A Moore Township man is being prohibited from attending Northampton Area School District Board of Education meetings and district schools and properties when meetings are held for the remainder of 2022.

NASD school directors voted 7-1-1 at the May 9 board meeting to send a letter to Gerald Bretzik, of Moore Township.

“The exclusion from board meetings has become necessary due to a pattern of behavior that has grown progressively disruptive, culminating in a direct threat to at least one board member at the meeting on April 11, 2022; all of which constitutes violations of District Policy 903,” the May 9 agenda item stated.

Gerald Bretzik was charged with two misdemeanors, disorderly conduct and harassment, for the alleged incident at the April 11 school board meeting when he shouted expletives and threatened to confront NASD school board President James Chuss, who asked him to leave the meeting, after which Bretzik was escorted from the auditorium of Northampton Area High School.

Bretzik was also asked to leave a previous school board meeting held in the Northampton Area Middle School cafeteria.

Voting against sending the letter to Gerald Bretzik was school Director Doug Vaughn.

Voting for sending the letter to Gerald Bretzik were school Directors Dr. Michael Baird, Chuck Frantz, David Gogel, Ross Makary, Vice President John Becker and Chuss.

School Director Kim Bretzik, wife of Gerald Bretzik, abstained from the vote.

“This is obviously a little awkward for me because it involves a member of my family,” Kim Bretzik said. “I feel I should recuse myself from the vote.”

“I don’t think it’s right for any organization to silence anyone,” Vaughn said before the vote.

The letter to be sent to Gerald Bretzik was signed by the school board president “for the purpose of prohibiting him from attending school board meetings and school board committee meetings and entering school district property and buildings when and where the meetings are held.”

The exclusion went into effect May 9 and continues for the duration of the 2022 calendar year.

The letter provided an alternative means for him to communicate with the board about school district business.

A number of the attendees at the meeting spoke out about their disagreement with the decision.

“I don’t believe in banning people for speaking up,” Mandy Housenick said.

“Everyone is not a threat. We have a right to speak,” Jerry Pritchard said.

At the May 9 meeting, school directors also voted to approve the proposed 2022-23 NASD budget, issuance of new bonds to refund previous bonds and staff resignations and appointments.

The 2022-23 NASD proposed budget includes $120,476,097 for the general fund, $2,450,035 for the food service fund and $261,224 for the athletic fund. The administration was authorized to advertise and make the proposed budget available for public inspection.

The general obligation bonds, series of 2022, in the maximum aggregate principal amount of $33,000,000 was approved. Proceeds will be used to refund all or a portion of the general obligation bonds, series A of 2014, provided a net minimum savings of $563,000 is achieved.

Renee Sallit’s resignation was approved as principal of Borough Elementary Schools, effective June 30. She is moving on to serve as the director of teaching and learning in Whitehall-Coplay School District.

Justin Wieller, assistant principal at NAHS, was approved to resign effective June 30.

New appointments in the district include Douglas Sherman, principal, Borough Elementary, effective July 1, at $104,000, with benefits; Jamison Barnhart and Angela Borealo, assistant principals, NAHS, effective July 1, at $86,000, with benefits; Michael Lopata, principal, NAMS, effective July 1, at $115,000, with benefits; Shannin Peters, principal, Lehigh Elementary School, effective July 1, at $102,000, with benefits; Billie Fruit, NASD network administrator, effective July 1, at $78,000, with benefits; and Joseph Provini, head wrestling coach, effective 2022-23 school year, at $12,353.

The NAHS Class of 2022 commencement is set for 7:30 p.m. June 3 at Al Erdosy Stadium. Rain dates include June 4 and 5.

The NASD website COVID-19 data dashboard seven-day building totals for May 2-10, as of May 10, are NAHS, 6; NAMS, 14; Borough Elementary Schools, 4; Moore Elementary School, 4; Lehigh Elementary School, 4; George Wolf Elementary School, 3; and district administration building, 2. The number of positive cases of COVID in NASD for the 2021-22 school year to date is 1,207.

The board of education will next meet 6:30 p.m. June 13 in the NAHS auditorium, 1619 Laubach Ave., Northampton.

A public information meeting on the Seemsville Road and Route 329 elementary school and administration building project is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. June 15, also in the NAHS auditorium.

PRESS PHOTO BY PAUL WILLISTEIN At the May 9 school board meeting, Northampton Area School District Superintendent of Schools Joseph S. Kovalchik (third from right) congratulates new district appointees Michael Lopata, Northampton Area Middle School principal; Joseph Provini, head wrestling coach; Angela Borealo, Northampton Area High School assistant principal; Jamison Barnhart, NAHS assistant principal; Billie Fruit, NASD network administrator; and Douglas Sherman, Borough Elementary Schools principal.