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School district to hire two behavioral health counselors

Northampton Area School District plans to hire two behavioral health counselors for the elementary and secondary schools.

The board of education voted 9-0 at its Sept. 12 meeting to approve the hiring of the counselors and the job descriptions for the positions.

The counselors would be hired for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years at a cost not to exceed $97,000, which includes salary and benefits, per counselor, per year.

There will be no cost to NASD for the additional counseling positions, which are to be paid for through the American Rescue Plan Set-Aside grant and the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) School Mental Health and Safety and Security grant.

According to a PCCD Aug. 1 news release, school safety and security program funding supports school mental health and safety and security grants for the 2022-23 school year.

School districts, career and technical schools, intermediate units, charter schools, regional charter schools and cyber charter schools were eligible to apply for funds to address mental health initiatives and physical security enhancements.

Act 55 of 2022 made $190 million available to support the initiative, with $95 million for mental health initiatives and $95 million for physical security enhancements.

The U.S. Congress in 2021 passed the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion fiscal relief bill to help the United States recover from lost revenue and increased spending needed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

In other business at the Sept. 12 board meeting, school directors voted 9-0 to approve Lori Pellegrino, special education learning support teacher, Northampton Area Middle School, effective retroactive to Aug. 22, at $96,287, with benefits; Kelly Kirkpatrick, 12-month district school psychologist, effective Nov. 14, at $84,000, prorated with benefits; Timothy Vrabel, district technology technician, effective Sept. 26, at $24.46 per hour, with benefits; Erik Tracy, special education teacher, Northampton Area High School, effective Nov. 14, at $66,668, prorated, with benefits; Denise Booth, long-term substitute school counselor, NAHS, effective Sept. 13-Jan. 30, 2023, prorated at $60,303; Erelene McCormick, study hall instructional assistant, NAHS, effective Sept. 13, at $17.63 per hour; Autumn Frey, health room assistant, NAHS, effective retroactive to Sept. 6, at $17.63 per hour, with benefits; Pamela Faubert, cafeteria monitor, NAMS, effective Sept. 13, at $17.63 per hour; Kristi Decker, cafeteria monitor, NAMS, effective Sept. 13, at $14.10 per hour; Brandi Lee, cafeteria monitor, Lehigh Elementary School, effective retroactive to Sept. 6, at $15.87 per hour; Cory Buskirk, school crossing guard, Aug. 29 through the 2022-23 school year, at $16 per hour, with no benefits; and Lewis Gogel, security officer, effective retroactive to Aug. 19, at $23.08 per hour.

Professional status and tenure for teachers who completed three years of teaching and received six satisfactory evaluations include Ashley Rampulla, Borough Elementary Schools; Gina VanLuvanee, George Wolf Elementary School; Kristin Burger, Lindsay Fetterhoff, Fanny Mosquera and Emily Peer, Lehigh Elementary; Emily Boyle, Erica Furman, Amy Thatcher and Amy Wright, NAHS; and Crystal Becker, Megan Reed and Krista Schrader, NAMS.

Approved resignations include Tara Dugas, school psychologist, effective Aug. 11; Tyler Heckman, maintenance, effective Aug. 17; Quinn Pagano, special education teacher, NAMS, effective Aug. 11; Mary Mason, cafeteria monitor, Lehigh Elementary, effective Aug. 5; Ashley Gulla, special education instructional assistant, Siegfried Elementary School, effective Aug. 19; Lori Kerper, cafeteria monitor, NAMS, effective Aug. 8; Kathy Magditch, study hall instructional assistant, NAHS, effective Sept. 9; Mary Kintz, special education instructional assistant, Siegfried Elementary, effective Sept. 16; and Alicia Gialanella, school psychologist, NAMS, effective Oct. 28.

The board of education next meets 6:30 p.m. Oct. 10 in the auditorium of NAHS, 1619 Laubach Ave., Northampton.