— A lot of personnel items were on the plate of the Wayne Highlands School Board at their monthly meeting on Tuesday night.
One of the biggest was the hiring of a new girls high school basketball coach.
By a 9-0 vote, the board voted to hire Pilar Beam to take over the position. She takes over for Tracy Ludwig, who was not issued a new contract by the board. (See our detailed story about Beam on page A13 as well as our editorial opinion on page A4.)
In another matter, it was announced last week that Chris Pietraszewski has been named the new principal at Wayne Highlands Middle School. He has been the principal at the elementary schools in Damascus and Preston.
A couple of new positions were also approved by the board — both of which were discussed extensively at last week's board committee meeting.
One is for an assistant special education director.
Superintendent Greg Frigoletto said during the committee meeting the demands of special education warranted hiring of the new position.
At that meeting, he suggested a salary range of $90,000 to $96,000, saying it was an administrative position.
During the public comment period Tuesday, that salary range was questioned by local resident Tom Atkinson, Sr., who felt it was too high.
Atkinson said he agreed with the comments of board member Lothar Holbert who also questioned the salary range during the committee meeting.
"We live in a community where $40,000 is the average annual income," said Atkinson.
Local resident Carol Santos asked Frigoletto is the position was mandated by the state.
Frigoletto said the position is not mandated, but the federal and state mandates for special education does require that programs have to be at certain standards. He felt the time is now to hire the assistant because of those demands.
Frigoletto said the needs in special education continue to rise, including the number of students. He believes having an assistant director will help with the demanding work load.
He also told the board last week he felt it should be an administrative position and that was why he had that salary recommendation.
Though Holbert questioned the salary range last week, when the vote was taken to approve the position on Tuesday, it was 9-0 to move forward.
The vote was to create the position and officials will now begin the process of filling that position.
Another position discussed at length last week was hiring of a security officer for the district.
Frigoletto recommended that position be created to help with the security needs of the district. He said since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, "it makes us reflect."
Page 2 of 3 - He recommended a salary range of $50,000 to $61,000 plus benefits.
Responsibilities include coordinating security on all campuses and after school hours, appraising the district about security matters, conducting 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.
"This is all about student safety," said Frigoletto.
The person would be a sworn police officer, said Frigoletto, which is allowable under Pennsylvania law.
A motion was made to proceed with creating the new security position and when the vote was taken, it was 6-3 to move forward.
Voting against it were Holbert, Kathy Grandjean and Heather Stephens.
Motions were also made and approved to hire a part-time personal care assistant and a full-time personal care assistant at Stourbridge Primary Center.
The board also hired several people for open positions. Those were:
• Erika Cavanaugh, special education, life skills teacher at Stourbridge Primay Center.
• Robert Derrick, math teacher at Honesdale High School.
• Eric Irwin, fifth grade teacher at Lakeside Elementary.
• Sara Teeple, family and consumer science teacher at Wayne Highlands Middle School.
• Amy Lesek, English teacher at Honesdale High School.
• Andrea Hollister, English/Latin teacher at Honesdale High School.
• Shawn Knash, English, language arts, social studies teacher at Wayne Highlands Middle School.
• Bethann Holbert, school nurse at Preston Area. (Note: Board member Lothar Holbert abstained on this vote.)
• Scott Theobold, district mechanic.
In other business, the board:
• re-appointed Diane Mott as board secretary from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2017. They also approved her salary in that role at $10,885.
• awarded bids for concrete, blacktop, drainage and resurfacing project.
• approved solicitation of bids for snowplowing services.
• approved the substitute rates for the 2013-14 school year. Those positions are teacher ($85 per day); assistant nurse as teacher ($9 per hour); special education paraprofessional, paraeducators and personal education assistant ($7.75 per hour); food service ($7.25 per hour); custodian ($7.25 per hour); administrative assistant ($7.50 per hour); teacher, library and physical education assistant ($7.25 per hour); and nurse assistant ($7.75 per hour).
• approved various depositories for a wide range of accounts for the district. Institutions approved were First National Community Bank, Wayne Bank, The Dime Bank and Honesdale National Bank.
• granted bus age waivers for use during the 2013-14 school year. Ten buses were approved for model year 1999-2001.
• unanimously approved spending $85,021 from the construction account. That included $74,423 to Apple Computers.
Page 3 of 3 - • granted three requests for facility usage at Honesdale High School and two requests at Wayne Highlands Middle School.
• announced the board will conduct a special meeting before the end of the June to do final budget approval. A date was not announced.