School District Budget Impasse Finally Explained

June 11, 2018 – School Board Meeting

Computer Curriculum Presentation

NASD School Principals did a collective PowerPoint Presentation on the use of Technology in their classrooms and proposed an action plan for the future. The School Board sat stone-faced as one principal after another explained the statistics on the use of computers in their school. The takeaway seemed to be that students are spending a lot of time using computers, but no data was presented to show if all this technology is having a positive effect on education. Most of the schools, and especially the high school, have added lessons on “Digital Citizenship” into the curriculum. When the principals finished, not one school board member asked a question.

School Budget

So far, the budget has failed to pass the School Board twice—once on April 16th and again on May 21st. The budget will be presented to the board again on Monday, June 18th and the vote is currently set for June 26th. If it fails to pass, the district will not be able to pay salaries or bills and the state will take over.

Superintendent Riker proposed changes. He wants to take money out of the Capital Projects budget for the following expenses:

Item Cost
Two additional police officers $138,368
Surveillance for athletic areas $105,533
Sound System Upgrades $48,500
Additional Cameras $20,000
Security for large area rooms $42,000
Exterior wireless for all schools $61,600
Swipe Card upgrade $ 2,800
Portable Radios $56,500
Other proposed purchases TBA
Estimated Total $475,301

 

Riker explained that the district spent $330,000 in the Summer of 2017 for multiple surveillance systems for all buildings but that more security was needed. He proposed paying for these expenses through the following cuts/revenue increases.

Proposed cut/Revenue increase  
Don’t replace the hall monitor + $41,000
Decrease the furniture/musical equipment fund –        $10,000
Decrease the Superintendent’s and HR Account –        $5,000
Decrease the School Board legal services account –        $7,500
Increase funds from Marketing & rental + $20,000
Buy a backhoe instead of renting one every winter $10,000
Administrative Reduction –        $15,000
Increase from local revenue +$87,592
Estimated increase in funds $199,545

 

This would decrease the cost from the current 1.28 to 1.22 mils. Linda Stubits expressed concern that all these funds were going to security with no increase to mental health or more guidance counselors. In other words, no help for the kids themselves—just more policing.

Dr. Riker blamed the problem on school violence on social media and was quickly taken to task by new board member Kathryn Roberts who, as a criminal defense attorney, has represented six children in Northampton accused of threatening their fellow students. She pointed out that all six were boys and had been extensively bullied. None had had access to guns, but had lashed out verbally in response to the abuse. Roberts pointed out that the High School and Middle School have only one school psychologist between them.

Stubits also advocated for smaller class sizes which would give teachers more opportunity to interact with their students and head off problems.

Agenda Items

Items V & IX passed. Kenneth Butz was appointed as the School District Treasurer. A question from Roberts revealed this position to more in line with a figurehead. The Business office carries out the duties spelled out in the school code, not Mr. Butz: https://www.nazarethasd.k12.pa.us/Page/1024

 

Becky Bartlett covers these meetings because citizens have a right to know what their government is doing.

 


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