East Penn Press

Friday, February 28, 2020


Wednesday, March 13, 2019 by ED COURRIER Special to The Press in Local News

Directors vote on 2019-2020 district calendar

The East Penn Board of School Directors had a date to revisit the 2019-2020 district calendar at the March 11 regular meeting.

They approved the 2019-2020 East Penn School District student/teacher calendar by a vote of 6-2 after Assistant Superintendent Doug Povilaitis presented a revised draft.

Directors Dr. Ziad Munson and Adam Smith voted “no.” Munson said he wanted to see more potential snow makeup days during the school year and not tacked onto the end in June. Other board members requested the process of creating a school year calendar begin sooner and involve consulting with Lehigh Career and Technology Institute and the charter and parochial schools within the district to be in sync with their snow day makeup schedules.

Aug. 26 remains as the first student day. There are three inclement weather makeup days built in. Povilaitis moved a professional development day from Oct. 15 to Aug. 22 to accommodate student instructional time. June 9, 2020 will be the last day of that school year unless the designated snow makeup days of June 10-12 and 15-16 are needed. If fewer than three inclement weather days are used, the last day of school will be June 8, 2020. The tentative graduation date will be June 14, 2020.

Superintendent Kristen Campbell presented the final update on district priorities included in the administration’s 2019-2020 budget for board review. The focus this time was on buildings, property maintenance, security and technology infrastructure. The priorities raised at previous meetings totaled $1,510,000 which included personnel, Phase 3 of the technology plan and balanced literacy resources.

The funding for these additional priorities would be included in the capital reserve budget, she explained. She was joined by Facilities Director Steve Onushco who described one-time operational expenses for 2019-2020 totaling $934,720.

These included risk mitigation/code compliance items for $230,100 like testing, cleaning and adding fire retardant to the auditorium curtains in all schools.

“Facility envelopes” at $35,250 involve caulking and replacing rusting outside doors at several schools, Onushco said, adding $192,370 is needed for facility infrastructure to replace a cooling tower and air conditioning equipment at Emmaus High School and HVAC equipment at other schools. $191,500 is needed for “facility functionality” he said. These include replacing the driver simulators at the high school. “They are ancient,” he declared. Auditorium sound and light boards at some of the other schools need to be replaced.

$86,500 would fund interior and exterior painting, as well as replacing worn carpets and other flooring, Onushco added.

“The last demographics study was in 2014,” Onushco said, citing a need to conduct a new study for $20,000 to aid the district in planning for the future.

Technology infrastructure at the middle schools needs to be upgraded at a cost of $179,000. Director of Technology Michael Mohn explained upgrades are needed for data storage and server hardware.

Proposed capital reserve fund projects for 2019-2020 total $1,612,000. These include $470,000 for roofing at EHS, $34,000 for the replacing high school stadium sound equipment, engineering fees of $115,000 for the new artificial turf and track and a new EHS stadium band booster canopy for $40,000.

Upgrades to two high school science rooms would total $365,000 and $200,000 is needed for air conditioning for the high school gym, as well as $20,500 for Lincoln Elementary School’s music room HVAC. Paving at Macungie Elementary School for $160,000 and $90,000 for mortar repairs to other schools are needed. Costs to create vestibule lock downs in each school for security would total $117,500.

In her district update, Campbell proudly declared more than $100,000 was raised March 8 by the Emmaus “Shave for the Brave” fundraiser benefiting pediatric cancer research. The student manufacturing club at Lower Macungie Middle School scored “Best Overall Program” in a state contest with their “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” video.

Business Administrator Robert Saul provided an update on the district’s long range fiscal and capital plan. Calling it a “dynamic plan,” that involves constant updating, Saul estimated there would be $150 million in revenue and $159 million in expenditures, including $8 million for possible contingency purposes. He projected $1 million of the fund balance would be applied as a one-time expense to cover the gap.

Vice President Paul Champagne reported LCTI will hold a groundbreaking event 1 p.m. March 14 for the new welding lab. He also promoted Camp LCTI in June for students and their parents who would be interested in a technical education.

There was no news on the state education budget yet, reported Ballard. He mentioned President Donald Trump had recently presented congress with a budget proposal that would cut $7 billion from the federal education budget.

Ballard expressed gratitude to the maintenance staff, “who over the years have been out in all kinds of weather in the evening delivering packets to the board for decades.”

Board agendas, minutes and other materials will be only available to the board and the public through BoardDocs via a link on the district website. Printed paper copies will not be available at the next meeting.

The East Penn Board of School Directors will meet 7:30 p.m. March 25 in the board room of the administration building.