Austin Area School District business manager Pamela Terrette said work has begun on the 2022-23 budget. A workshop is scheduled for March 23 at 6 p.m. with the budget committee. Terrette noted that there has been a 4.64% increase in district insurance costs.
The Board approved a salary increase of $1/hour for support staff and a salary increase of $1.50/hour for the PIMS Coordinator for 2022-2023. A 2.5% increase was approved for all maintenance staff. Job descriptions for various positions were also approved by the board.
The district’s contract with the Nutrition Group food service will expire this year. This is a five year contract. Terrette expressed satisfaction with the Group and the services it offers. Attendance at cafeteria meals increased with the Nutrition Group.
Billy Sue Glover has been named to fill the vacant seat of Austin Borough Region 1 Manager. Glover will have to race in 2023 to complete the term.
Athletic director Angela Brewer announced that senior basketball players Ally Nelson, Adam Lucas and Cameron Rees were honored. The junior high basketball program has begun. Referees and workers were also secured. Registration for spring track and baseball at Coudersport is underway.
Brewer reported that all schools had problems finding sports officials. The district is looking for ways to recruit new officials and prevent referees from being harassed at games.
Superintendent Dr Kimberly Rees reported that the district went virtual for two days during a recent snowstorm. Rees noted that virtual days could be used in the future when large storms are forecast, which could eliminate snow days. However, snow days could still be used for last minute emergencies or unexpected storms.
The Summer Pay Memorandum of Understanding has been approved. The memorandum of agreement increases the salary of elementary teachers participating in the program from $23/hour to $46/hour. The teachers’ union accepted this increase. These funds are provided through a earmarked grant that is part of the US bailout for after-school and summer programs to help with learning loss.
The district accepted an offer from Hallstrom for $221,804 to renovate the high school wing. A bid was also approved by WC Eshenaur & Son for $53,704 to repair the water pipes and $14,889 to convert the remaining bathrooms to hands-free toilets and sinks. These funds come from the American Rescue Grant.
Kimberly Watson has been approved for the 2021-22 roster. Craig Hooftallen was also added to the roster of substitute teachers after completing the Emergency Certification Classroom Management course. Jody Hilarzewski has been approved as backup goaltender.
Rees reported that one of the hot topics at the superintendent’s meeting was the lack of staff to fill teaching and administrative positions. A few districts advertised for superintendent and received no nominations.
It is also difficult to find substitute teachers. It was noted that there were 20,900 certified teachers in Pennsylvania in 2010; in 2021, there were 7,600.
Dr Rees reported that the prom had been rescheduled for Saturday May 14 in the school gymnasium.
The board approved the 2022-2023 school calendar; August 24 is the first day for students. Graduation is scheduled for June 2, 2023.
Dr. Rees noted that there had been no changes to the health and safety plan.