Northampton Press

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

NASB sees red on track

Thursday, June 27, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Local News

ObamaCare measure also approved

From the color of the new track in the revamped Al Erdosy Memorial Stadium, to a construction update, to hiring replacement teachers, to school lunch costs, to coping with The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Northampton Area School District Board had a full plate Monday night.

By a show of hands, the board opposed the $55,000 cost of an orange track inside the stadium.

Instead, the track will be red. The board also rejected making the track gray for an additional $52,000.

At previous meetings, school directors weighed the color options because orange and black are the Northampton Area High School "Konkrete Kids" colors.

"The main concern with the orange was with the fading," said NASD Superintendent Joseph Kovalchik at the June 24 meeting.

The $55,000 cost will be subtracted from the construction contract for the $80.7-million Northampton Area High School and Secondary Campus Renovation Project.

Christopher W. Haller, D'Huy Engineering Inc., project manager, said the red and gray would fade while remaining red and gray, but "the orange fades to peach or salmon." This could happen in one to five years.

Numbers and lane lines will need to be repainted regardless of the track color choice.

In his report on the campus construction project, Haller said the new Stadium Drive has been graded and storm sewer, water and sewer lines have been placed. The Field House is 95 percent demolished and the vo-tech building has been demolished.

In other business, the board voted 8-0 to hire eight full-time teachers, including three at Lehigh Elementary School, two at George Wolf Elementary School, two at Moore Elementary School and two at Northampton Area High School.

"These are positions that we have to fill," board President David Gogel said.

"We have four or five vacancies to fill which are not new positions," said NASD Assistant Superintendent Jeanette Gilliland.

Kovalchik said the administration is tracking incoming students. As of Monday night, for the 2013-14 school year, there are fewer students in borough elementary schools, the same number of students at Moore and Wolf and an increase in students at Lehigh.

The board also voted 8-0 for an increase in 2013-14 student school lunch prices.

New prices are $1.85 for elementary, $2 for secondary, $1.65 for elementary entrée only and $1.75 for secondary entrée only. A half pint of milk is 50 cents and vegetable and fruit prices vary from 50 to 55 cents. Adult lunch prices are $3.50 and adult entrées are $1.75 to $3.

School lunch prices are to be in alignment with the federal National School Lunch Program, said NASD Accounting Supervisor Rose Roberts. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act allows school districts to raise the price per lunch by 10 cents annually.

The average NASD school lunch price for the 2012-13 school year was $1.82 and will be $1.92 for the 2013-14 school year.

"This is another example that's coming down from the government. I think it's important for the taxpayers to know," Kovalchik said.

The board voted 8-0 to approve the NASD timelines for The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to determine the status of employees.

School administrators do not know how many employees will be impacted – that's part of the analysis – nor do they know what the cost will be to the district under the Affordable Health Care Act, dubbed ObamaCare.

NASD Administrator Terry Leh said the timelines are measurement period, July 1 - April 1, 2014; administrative period, April 2, 2014 - June 30, 2014; and stability period, July 1, 2014 - April 1, 2015.

Under ObamaCare, employees working 30 hours or more are to be provided health care insurance. Leh said the measurement period will determine which and how many employees are working 30 hours or more.

During the administrative period, these employees would be offered health-care options. The benefits would be implemented in the stability period.

Medical coverage may need to be provided district substitute teachers, part-time coaches, security and custodians and possibly even sports events ticket-takers.

"I'm not sure it was intended that way, but that's the way its going to affect school districts," Kovalchik said.