School board approves budget with tax increase
At the Whitehall-Coplay School Board meeting June 11, the board adopted the 2018-19 budget. The new budget is $70,386,888 and is an increase of 4.05 percent from the previous year.
The budget increases taxes by 0.6181 mill, bringing the total property tax rate for school taxes to 17.2108 mills. The increase is 3.73 percent and will cost the average homeowner an additional $106.53 annually.
The school budget has a provision that any savings during the year in excess of 7.5 percent is used to fund teacher pension commitments.
As part of the budget process, the school board committed to insurance packages totaling $530,163. This is a $20,000 reduction from the previous year. Student and athletic insurance costs increase to $69,160, a $16,000 increase from the previous year.
Costs for cafeteria meals will stay the same.
The board hired Tel/Logic Inc. for $13,000 to maximize reimbursements available for the district’s E-Rate. The program ensures connection by libraries to the Internet. E-Rate is the commonly used name for the Schools and Libraries Program of the Universal Service Fund, which is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) under the direction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Other contracts approved by the board included the following:
• Radio service agreement with Industrial Communications Company
• Scope of work with Breslin Ridyard Fadero Architects for school renovations
• Integrated services contract between Communities in Schools and the school district
• Weidenhammer Consulting Group
• Purchase of furniture from Tanner of PA for the middle school
• Additional $1,539 to the Fiber Optic Network Extension Project
The board approved a three-year contract with IXL Learning for educational software. The terms and conditions of the agreement were not disclosed.
The board accepted the resignation of Monica Gumlock, cafeteria monitor; Thomas Mugavero, bus driver; James Haney, security officer; and Susan Myers, paraeducator at Gockley Elementary.
The board appointed Cora Snyder as principal at Steckel Elementary, at a rate of $98,000.
New appointments made include Aubrey Miller, intensive learning support at Steckel; Rebecca Darling, intensive learning support at Gockley; Victoria Bobyak, fifth-grade teacher at Zephyr Elementary; and Robert Kiefer, chemistry teacher at Whitehall High School. The average salary is approximately $50,000, not including benefits and overhead.
Justin Kondikoff was appointed interim head football coach, with an additional compensation of $9,138.
Ten high school department and faculty leaders were appointed at a cost of $1,729 each.
Eight Whitehall-Coplay Middle School faculty leaders were appointed at a cost of $1,000 each.