School board resolves not to exceed tax rate
BY SAMANTHA ANDERSON
At the Jan. 10 Catasauqua Area School District Board of Education meeting, school directors voted not to exceed the Pennsylvania Act I index for the 2023-24 budget. The CASD rate is 5.3%.
CASD Business Manager Lindsey Wallace noted work is progressing on the 2023-24 academic year budget. She also said a recent audit showed the district is in a healthy place financially.
In other business, Catasauqua Middle School Principal Melissa Inselmann recognized the December 2022 Roughie of the Month students. The honored students are Fabian Sanchez, fifth grade; Elanor Trotter, sixth grade; Greg-Anthony Rodriguez, seventh grade; and Chase Jarrah, eighth grade.
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Christina Lutz-Doemling reported the teachers and staff members have been undergoing trainings to ensure they are up to date in a number of areas and are prepared for changes to some of the programs of study.
Director of Academic Recovery Eric Dauberman said building-level remediation plans are in the works. The proposals have been submitted and are now being reviewed. Additionally, remedial testing and analysis are moving along in the school buildings, with after-school remediation planned for identified students.
Dauberman also reported each CASD student will receive two COVID-19 tests to take home. Parents and guardians will be encouraged to use them as a preventive measure to protect the other students and staff members. These tests will be provided at no cost to the district.
A number of personnel changes were approved, including the addition of substitute teachers Toshya Gonzalez, Kathryn Anchorstar and Gunner Pattison; substitute driver Luciana Bonati-Samie; substitute custodian Earl Kocher; and guest teachers Madeline Ziegenfus, Joseph Billera, Marin Koeller, Sam Lux and Joseph Peters.
Board members approved the short-term substitute rate of $180 per day for Brian Byrd, effective from Dec. 12, 2022, to approximately Jan. 31; and the substitute rate of $130 per day for Gunner Pattison.
It was reported CASD has a good reputation among school nurses. This is evident in the number of student nurses the board approved to work with CASD nurse Donna Tercha. Approved student nurses are Danielle Sodl, from Eastern University School of Nursing, effective Jan. 11-April 26; and Cedar Crest College students Kayle Grohotolski and Leakena Ork, effective Jan. 25; Mackenzie Hunsicker and Hannah Kistler, as of Jan. 27; Danielle Walter and Erin Kreider, effective Jan. 30; Cheyenne Weasner, as of Feb. 8; Samantha Gillespie, effective Feb. 10; Amber Cieri and Morgan Frantz, effective Feb. 13; Kharla Sanchez Cuesta, as of Feb. 17; Connie Hernandez, effective Feb. 20; Lauren Mele, effective Feb. 22; and Megan Fink, effective March 3.
It was also reported CASD will be holding the regional school nurse’s conference during the summer.
Three new appointments were approved, including Rebecca Stocker, Sheckler Elementary School noncertified instructional aide at $133 per day; Nicole Grym, Catasauqua High School noncertified instructional aide at $133 per day; and Cherylee Reyes, bus driver at $21.88 per hour.
Approval was granted for the service contracts, per E-rate program requirements, for Service Electric Cable TV and Communications to connect CHS with CMS and Sheckler Elementary. The five-year contracts will extend through June 30, 2028.
Board member Dale Hein questioned some of the extracurricular positions. He wasn’t sure if there were people to fill some of the roles he had listed as vacant. He noted there were funds allotted for these positions and wanted to be sure they were being filled and approved properly.
One example was the CMS girls basketball coach. It was noted a volunteer coach has been stepping in to coach, and an official approval for that role is expected to be on the agenda for the February meeting.
Wallace mentioned CMS received a donation of $6,000 from Holy Trinity Memorial Lutheran Church for band instruments.
Hein made sure to give kudos to CHS senior Angelina Dries. She often performs the national anthem at sporting events, and Hein noted her rendition is wonderful. He said he is a big fan of her performances. Dauberman agreed and suggested they consider recording her and using it for future events.
CHS Principal Adam Schnug thanked the community for its support while the district mourns the loss of two recent graduates - Dante Kaintz and Elijah Soler. He said the community and alumni support has helped during this difficult time.
The next school board meeting is set for 7 p.m. Feb. 14 in the district administration board room, 201 N. 14th St.