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School board approves 2022-23 budget

During the June 14 meeting, Catasauqua Area School District Board of Education members approved the 2022-23 general fund budget of $38,962,839.

The real estate tax rate is set at 20.8241 mills for Lehigh County and 53.7576 mills for Northampton County.

Expenditures include $23,268,708 for instruction, $11,458,223 for support services, $778,823 for the operation of noninstructional services, $100,000 for facilities needs and $3,357,085 for other expenditures and financing uses.

The budget balances expenditures and revenue with a remaining fund balance of $2,349,962.

“Kudos to the administration for putting together a healthy, balanced budget,” board President Duane Deitrich said, following the board’s unanimous vote of approval.

Superintendent of Schools Robert Spengler commended the district team for helping put together “a successful budget in difficult times.”

Board members also voted to adopt the 2022-23 cafeteria budget in the amount of $1,091,701 and the school lunch prices for the 2022-23 school year. Free school meals will continue to be offered to students in the district.

The administration salaries for the 2022-23 school year were also approved.

In other business, three new teachers were nominated for appointment. Sarah Seidel will be a fifth-grade teacher at Catasauqua Middle School at $64,374, Jenarosa Auriemma will be an eighth-grade ELA/social studies teacher at CMS at $69,230 and Benjamin Ritter will be an English teacher at Catasauqua High School at $59,127. All three appointments are effective Aug. 17.

Changes in employment status were approved for Kyle Davies and Daniel Saas.

Davies will transition from a CHS substitute to a CHS social studies teacher at $59,127.

According to CHS Principal Adam Schnug, Davies has served as a substitute for about six years, waiting for a permanent opening. The retirement of Alexis Johnson-Sziy provided the opening. Johnson-Sziy has worked with Davis over the years and was at the meeting to congratulate him.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled,” Schnug said.

Saas will be transitioning from substitute custodian to custodian B at CMS at $15.50 per hour.

Four student teachers from Moravian University were approved to work at Sheckler Elementary School Oct. 24-Dec. 9. Lily Hadeed will work with Erin Rapp, Rebecca Stocker is with Emma Kalman, Adriel Burger is with Susan Connor and Donald Stimeare is with Erica McDonough.

Board members approved the addition of two substitute drivers - Erika Alier and Frederick Knauss - for the 2021-22 school year and the addition of Adam Hayducek as a substitute driver for the 2022-23 year.

Mentor teachers for the new faculty have been approved for the 2022-23 year at a stipend of $750. At CMS, Marlaina Riegel and Sarah Seidel will work with Lisa Packard in fifth grade, and eighth-grade teacher Jenarosa Auriemma will work with Jen Greig from seventh grade. Ben Ritter will work with Andrew Gruver for CHS English, Kyle Davies will work with Kevin Foley in CHS social studies, high school physics teacher Aaron Bilby will work with biology and physical science teacher Amanda Do and CHS art teacher Charles Matz will work with music teacher Robert Arnold. ESL teacher ElizaRae Michaud will be mentored by K-12 gifted teacher Hillary Atkinson.

In preparation for the 2022-23 school year, board members approved 105 appointments to extracurricular positions.

The resignation of Morgan Kemmerer, certified instructional aide at Sheckler, was approved, effective June 21.

Other board approvals include the game worker rates and game ticket prices for the 2022-23 year, the CASD special education plan for 2021-24, the Homestead and Farmstead Exclusion resolution, the Equal Opportunity Employer resolution, the approvals of policies regarding student records and Title 1 parent and family engagement and a five-year agreement with BUSPATROL.

The CMS underground piping replacement project bid was approved at $178,630.

The music department was approved for students to attend a trip to Walt Disney World in 2024.

The board also approved the 2022-23 CASD health and safety plan for review, in accordance with the ARP ESSER Act. This approval is required every six months.

Community member Robert Zakos asked the board if there was any interest in forming an official CASD alumni organization. He said he wishes there was a group that checks in with alumni and invites them to events happening in the district. The board thanked him for the suggestion.

The meeting concluded with the board members and district administration sharing their appreciation and thanks to the entire school community for a successful school year.

The next school board meeting is set for 7 p.m. Aug. 9.

PRESS PHOTO BY SAMANTHA ANDERSON Kyle Davies celebrates being approved as a full-time social studies teacher at Catasauqua High School with retiring teacher Alexis Johnson-Sziy after the June 14 Catasauqua Area School Board meeting.