MOUNT CARMEL - A representative of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) met with Mount Carmel Area School Board members Thursday night to offer the organization's support in providing the best possible public education for students.

Karen Devine, director of member relations for PSBA in Mechanicsburg, briefed directors about the association's many services and recent legislative proposals and distributed informational brochures.

She encouraged board members to become active in the association. She said PSBA works in cooperation with parents, guardians, students, school district staff and community residents to support reforms that prepare students to be productive citizens, while promoting the achievements of public schools.

Devine said it is vital to engage parents in advocacy groups and acknowledged that PSBA and schools throughout the state are facing challenging educational issues.

The board paid tribute to Sonya Hamulla, a special education teacher at Mount Carmel Area High School who passed away Nov. 2.

In addition to holding a moment of silence at the beginning of the meeting, Superintendent Bernie Stellar praised the 59-year-old Mount Carmel resident for her outstanding dedication. "She was a fantastic staff member who had a great influence of her students," he said.

Stellar said a two-hour delay was held in the district Nov. 8 to allow teachers, students and staff to attend the funeral of Hamulla, a 1971 graduate of Mount Carmel Area High School.

In other business

The board adopted a resolution authorizing the 2013 bonds and accepting a proposal from RBC Capital Markets to refinance the 2009 B bonds issued for the capital improvements project at the fieldhouse and Silver Bowl.

Attorney Joseph K. Pierce, bond counsel for Eckert Seamans, Harrisburg, said the district will save a minimum of $130,000 by refinancing the bonds.

Timothy McConnell was hired as the seventh grade boys' basketball coach at a salary of $1,100.

Directors approved a resolution to increase the assigned fund balance by an additional $500,000 for projected retirement rate increases, potential higher costs for medical insurance and unexpected costs to maintain district facilities.

Last month, the board approved a resolution to increase the assigned fund balance by $300,000 for the same reasons.

Parents Anne Barwicki and Michele Stellar, businessmen Jose Gonzalo and Robert Varano, and community representatives Harry Morgan and Ed Stellar were approved as members of the district's comprehensive planning committee.

Nikki Cole was hired to provide speech and language therapy services in the district. She will replace Mary Ann Herrero, who submitted a letter to the board to terminate her contract.

Board members adjusted the salary of district systems manager Gary Trefsger from $38,767.18 to $43,767.18 for additional technology duties assumed through the attrition of the technology coordinator position.

Jessica Nahodil and Amy Mudry were appointed advisers for the Class of 2016 with stipends of $275 each.

The board approved the resignation of hall monitor Judy Permar.

Directors hired Kelly Tarlecki as a music and marching instructor at a salary of $600 and reclassified Erica Sechler from music and marching instructor to assistant band director at a salary of $1,400. Tarlecki had served as a volunteer for two years.

The board increased the hours of cafeteria worker Jean Gasperetti from 30 to 33.75 hours per week at her current hourly rate with no benefits.

Board members in attendance were Donna James, Michael Brinkash, Charles Mannello, Robert Muldowney, Raymond Kraynak and Dr. Ray Kraynak. Nicholas C. Goretski III, Michael Rovito and Thomas Ditchey were absent.