— Hiring additional personnel for special education and school safety highlighted Tuesday night's meeting of the Wayne Highlands School Board committee.
Superintendent Greg Frigoletto made presentations on both matters saying he feels the time has come to put these positions into place.
Frigoletto is proposing the board create the position of assistant special education director because of the increased workload.
He presented the board with statistics which indicate the increased demands on the special education director in the district.
In 2001, there were 27 special education teachers in the district. By next school year, there will be 39. Teacher assistants and personal care assistants have increased from 16 to 38.
The number of students in special education has increased from 398 to 477 in that same time period, something Frigoletto called a "huge jump."
The superintendent called special education "quite a task and quite a challenge."
He said a lot of the issues stem from the amount of state and federal mandates placed on special education.
"I believe it is an appropriate time to look at an assistant," said Frigoletto.
Frigoletto is proposing the position be at the administrative level and the salary would be based on the current Administrative Compensation Plan.
He is proposing the salary range be $90,300 to $93,460 plus benefits. It is a 12-month position.
Board member Lothar Holbert questioned the salary range, although he said he "100 percent agreed" the position needs to be created.
"The problem I have is the cost," said Holbert.
He suggested a new category be made under administration which would allow for a lower salary range. He suggested the range be between $60,000 and $90,000.
Page 2 of 3 - Holbert also pointed out the contract allows for administrators to receive up to $3,600 in raises per year.
Bur Frigoletto said he thinks the salary range proposed is correct because the position is in administration.
"I believe there needs to be a separation," said Frigoletto, referring to the salary of teachers compared to administrators.
He said the district currently has teachers "at the high end" of the salary schedule and with extra-curricular activities, some of them already make more than administrators.
Holbert said he thinks the assistant would have less administrative duties but Frigoletto disagreed.
He said the individual demands of special education include handling Individual Education Plans (IEP), which takes a lot of time and effort.
In the end, Frigoletto stood by his recommendation on the salary range. The matter will be voted on at the next regular meeting of the board, set for next Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
Another proposal brought forth by Frigoletto is hiring a school safety and security director for the next school year.
"When events occur that get national attention, it makes us reflect," said Frigoletto, referring to the school shooting incident at Sandy Hook Elementary last December in Connecticut.
Frigoletto made a presentation to the board about why he thinks it is necessary to hire someone to coordinate safety throughout the district.
"I am passionate about this," said Frigoletto.
In the presentation, it states the move is "not an emphasis on an armed guard," nor will it take the authority away from building level administrators.
Responsibilities include coordinating security on all campuses and after school hours, appraising the district about security matters, conduct spot checks, be involved with school safety drills including fire, weather and evacuation drills, assist in the development of new safety and security polices and procedures as needed and much more.
Page 3 of 3 - "This is all about student safety," said Frigoletto.
The person would be a sworn police officer, said Frigoletto.
He is proposing the position fall under the supervisors compensation plan with a starting salary range of $50,000-$61,000 plus benefits.
• Frigoletto went over bids which were received for concrete curb and paving at the high school and middle school complexes in Honesdale.
The project is for the bus line and sidewalk areas as well as various walkways, parking lots, in front of the track concession building and the high school main entrance.
Leeward Construction was the low bidder on the project at $220,273.
The board also heard about the bids for the drainage, resurfacing and blacktopping of tennis courts and entrance way at Preston Area School.
The low bidder was Joseph Blacktop at $32,908.
Other bidders were Bluff Blacktop ($44,132), Como Construction ($44,470), Leeward Construction ($51,810) and Wayco, Inc. ($47,980.)
The bids are expected to be awarded at the regular meeting next week.
• The board announced the following teachers are now eligible for tenure: Katherine Bluff, Kristy Keeler, Joseph Koscuik, Kevin Lockwood, Jenna Morgan, Brenda Schweighofer, David Semon, Alisha Thompson and Lisa Vender.