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District to receive $213,719 more in state funds

The Salisbury Township School Board held a meeting Aug. 16 to learn the impact of the recently passed state budget, vote on revisions to the school calendar, a boiler installation and a replacement of a water pit cover.

Also discussed were the replacement of the middle school roof and storage units for sports equipment.

Questions were raised by Director Thomas Spinner concerning the absence of a financial report in June which is the end of the fiscal year for school districts. Superintendent Lynn Fuini-Hetten and Chief Financial Officer Dawn Nickischer were quick to explain June is a month where many reconciliations are made in the form of summer salaries and bills received for transportation services, the intermediate unit and charter schools. These bills are received in July and August and billed back to June which causes the financial report in June to be inaccurate by showing a surplus that really isn’t there.

Nickischer, who will be starting Forecast 5 training in the near future, is confident a clearer vision of the district’s financial status is attainable but it will take time.

In her treasurer’s report, Nickischer informed the board the state budget has been passed and the school district is receiving $213,719 more in state funds than the budget accounted for.

Also part of the new state budget is the expansion of the free lunch program. Students who qualify for reduced priced lunches will receive free lunches which will benefit roughly 40% of the student population in the district. The free breakfast program will also continue.

During the curriculum and technology portion of the meeting, the board approved several revisions to the school calendar. The changes include an early dismissal day Sept. 15 which was moved to Oct. 13 and a Nov. 13 early dismissal which changed to a full day off. One day was then added to the end of the school year.

Also approved was the use of the assessment and data analysis tool LinkIt!, a 5-year nonclinical psychology affiliation agreement with Pennsylvania State University and a 5-year affiliation agreement with Wilkes University. These agreements allow the district to accept student teachers/interns from both universities.

With the aforementioned agreements approved, the following student teachers/intern were approved during the 2023-2024 school year: Pennsylvania State University student Leah Chavez will intern with Ashley Nagy and Vicky Evener, Wilkes University student teacher Adria Wetherhold will partner with Michael Posch and DeSales University student teacher Yilidirim Yala will be mentored by Kristy Wied.

Spinner, chair of the operations committee, brought several items to the board for approval. The board approved the purchase of a new boiler to be installed at Salisbury High School at a cost of $129,409 and the replacement of a water pit cover at the administration building totaling $7,135.

Agreements with Interim Healthcare for the provision of health care staffing services was approved as was the student transportation program for the 2023-2024 school year provided by Paragon Transit.

The next topic of discussion for the board was the replacement of three sheds used to store athletic equipment near the stadium. The wooden sheds need replacing but with the turf on the field, it is not possible to erect sheds in the same location due to limited access. The deteriorating wooden sheds are not without problems as animals are finding their way in causing minor damage to equipment. As an alternative to these sheds, a five bay storage unit on a concrete slab at a cost of approximately $40,000 is being considered.

Monica Deeb, director of student activities, was on hand to answer questions about the use and adequacy of the new sheds. Deeb felt the new storage units will be more secure and provide more than an adequate amount of space to house equipment for soccer, track/field, baseball, softball and football as well. The consensus of the board was to give Bill Brackett, director of facilities, permission to move ahead with the project and a formal vote will take place next month.

Also up for discussion and the board’s approval was the D’Huy Engineering proposal for the middle school roof replacement which has been estimated to cost upward of $2.3 million. The board was tasked with deciding whether to authorize D’Huy to move forward with the creation of a bid package at an approximate cost of $160,000. Administration is taking a hard look at how to fund the project and will present a proposal at the next finance meeting. The motion was approved.

In personnel committee news, the board accepted the resignation of Jessica Weller, part-time ESL teacher at Salisbury Middle School and the rescinding of Adrienne Jacobs, full-time mathematics teacher, as of July 28.

New hires include Eileen White, part-time nurse assistant, Kennedy Sheeley, full-time Project Wonder learning coach and Chase Anthony, long-term family and consumer science substitute.

New coaching staff includes Robert Hinson, assistant varsity football and Bevin Beckage, SMS field hockey.

Eric Smith was approved as marching band percussion instructor at SHS.

The following list of game workers for the 2023-2024 school year was approved: Mark Allinson, Justin Aungst, Chris Basile, Megan Basile, Rick Babyak, Jane Brennan, Erin Bross, Theresa Bruns, Kelly Butterbaugh, T.C. Cunningham, Emily DeOliveira, Victor DeOliveira, Mike Delpriore, Paula Douris, Robert Fielder, Alex Hess, Gloria Hinkle, Kevin Johnson, Tanya Kennedy, Paul Koba, Gregory Laub, Susan Mixa, Thomas Moyer, Laura Nogueira, Shannon O’Grady, Kevin Pavkovic, Kim Pavkovic, Rick Pearce, Cheryl Pennella, Mike Pennella, Michelle Reichenbach, Dan Reichenbach, Jack Repyneck, Anne Ruiz, Leah Saliby, Mackenzie Sikora, Mike Silberman, Eric Snyder, Louise Stephens, Brad Vangeli, Jason Weaver, Chris West, Rocky Wilson and Susan Wilson.

Tenure status was granted to Andrew Schultz and Amy Wood as a result of three years of satisfactory service in Salisbury Township School District.

Teacher mentors and mentees for the 2023-2024 school year are as follows: Chris Adams for Rocky Wilson, Heather Cumello for Elizabeth Kantzaridis, Michael Fredrick for Shayla Adams, Diane Kasaczun for Kressa Dowling, Denise Magditch for Melody Beneito, Marilyn Nocerino for Carissa Kluska, Matt Tobias for Tami Cantilina and Chris Tripp for Krista Atiyeh.

The board also approved performance objectives for both the superintendent and assistant superintendent.

The board approved three items in motions made by Laura McKelvey for an agreement with the Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit to supply Title I Equitable Services for nonpublic schools, the use of Beanstack Software and a media services agreement.

Director Sam DeFrank, Lehigh County Community College Board member, reported on a presentation of the KEYS program which is funded by the federal government and the Department of Health in an effort to help boost graduation rates for students receiving SNAP or TANF benefits.

Director Sarah Nemitz reported on the changes at Lehigh Career and Technical Institute to improve math and English Keystone scores. This fall the school will be implementing daily math and literacy practice in all programs and working with students’ home districts to make sure they are placed in rigorous courses appropriate for them.

The board approved the Pennsylvania School Boards Association policy maintenance agreement.

In her superintendent’s report, Fuini-Hetten began with a shout out to all those who have worked tirelessly over the summer facilitating summer programs, preparing the buildings and making sure the district has the supplies and technology needed to begin a successful school year.

She also thanked the Salisbury Elementary PTO for a generous $3,000 donation for the purchase of playground equipment.

Nemitz was recognized for her inclusion in the Public Education Champion Program which provides mentorship and training to eight individuals as they educate their communities on public education issues and state policy.

The district is still in need of a health/physical education teacher at SMS, a part-time ESL teacher at SMS, instructional assistants, custodial/utility maintenance workers and substitute teachers.

The district is also in need of crossing guards for a minimum of two hours per day Monday through Friday. Submit applications at info@salisburytownshippa.org.

Wall of Honor nominations are due by Oct. 1. Visit www.salisburysd.org under the community tab to complete a nomination application.

Orientation day for students in grades kindergarten, 5 and 9 was scheduled for Aug. 28. All students were to report Aug. 29.

Upcoming meetings include the operations and finance committee meeting which will be held 7 p.m. Sept. 6 and a regular school board meeting 7 p.m. Sept. 13. All meetings will take place in the administration building, 1140 Salisbury Road, Allentown.