Academy staff acknowledged
COAL TOWNSHIP - A group of district employees stationed at Northwestern Academy after Shamokin Area took over its special education program were acknowledged Tuesday by the district school board for their work at the facility.
"It was a rocky road, but it has been a successful road," said Sherry Glosek, district supervisor of special education.
Twenty staff members began the 2012-13 school year at the academy after the board voted in May to take over special education services there.
Those in attendance thanked the board for filling additional roles.
"I have to thank you very, very much for putting such a great staff together," said Lana Reiner, a local education agency representative for the staff at the academy.
The district has a $1.3 million lease agreement with Northwestern Academy as part of the special education arrangement.
It was a controversial decision that split the board and upset some teachers aides in the district who were wary of working at the juvenile detention facility.
The move was heralded by supporters as a measure that would cut costs and save jobs in light of the district's budget deficit last spring. Opponents cited outstanding questions on state subsidies and potential safety risk to the aides.
Last year, teachers at Northwestern Academy didn't want Shamokin Area aides working at the facility, Reiner said. Now, they're asking when Shamokin Area would be taking over regular education services at the facility in addition to special education services.
"What a difference a year makes," she said.
"I'm glad it's working out because we got crucified for putting you up there," said Director Bob Getchey.
"You guys were right on this one. It was a very good decision," Reiner said.
In other business from Tuesday's meeting, the directors:
- Voted to retire the jersey number of Jordan Rickert, effective at season's end. A former girls basketball standout and current assistant coach on the varsity team, Rickert leads all female scorers in school district history with more than 1,600 points, board directors said.
- Accepted the resignation of Rachel Ulsh as musical director. She'll be replaced by Kevin Styer, whose $2,700 salary will be paid through musical funds, if available. Mary Anne Stump was appointed as assistant director at $1,300, and paid if available.
- Acknowledged Matt Gass, Anne Richardson, Stephanie Dressler, Abby Aurand and Abby Halderman as students of the month.
- Heard from two of 13 district staff working at Northwestern Academy in the special education program who credited administrators and board directors.
- Approved the resignation of Heather Nye, elementary teacher, effective Dec. 14, 2012, and retirement of Darlene Beishline, special education teacher, effective June 6.
- Hired Amanda Dreher as a personal care assistant. She will be paid $7.25 an hour for 7 1/2 hours a day on a 180-day schedule. The hiring was effective Tuesday pending clearances.
- Adjusted the special education tuition rate for Northwestern Academy from $114.16 to $135.92, and the lease rental fee from $21.11 to $27.31. Both fees are paid by host districts of students remanded to the juvenile detention facility.
- Approved a final payment of $48,766 to Quad 3 Group for design development services for the elementary renovation project.
- Ratified a Shared Service Agreement with Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit that expires June 30 and for which the district receives $10,000.
- Increased the mileage reimbursement by 1 cent to $0.565 for 2013.
- Set the salary for the district tax collector in the City of Shamokin at $7,652 and an additional $4,304.05 for the collection of occupation and per capita taxes for four years beginning in 2014, and $6,293.72 for a deputy; and the salaries for tax collectors of Coal, East Cameron and Shamokin townships at $2 for each property tax bill paid and $0.58 for each per capita/occupational tax bill paid.
- Reduced the rental fee paid by Shamokin-Coal Township Little League from $200 to $50 for use of the elementary annex gym on Feb. 16 and 23 and March 2, and the high school gym March 9. Participants pay a $10 fee for the league's baseball clinics.