When: Elizabethtown Area school board meeting, May 26.
What happened: The board expects to vote on a $66.3 million final budget at the June 23 meeting, and the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic is still being sorted out.
Relief money: Dan Forry, director of finance and operations, discussed the federal coronavirus relief bill, noting pandemic-related expenses from March 16 through Sept. 30, 2021, can be reimbursed. That allocation is $383,000. However, Forry said, it’s still unclear how much of the funding will be shared between the district and local nonpublic schools.
Funds for online learning: Superintendent Michele Balliet said some relief bill funding will be used for supplemental online learning for about 300 students in kindergarten through sixth grade who are currently receiving reading intervention. This program is designed to minimize the summer learning gap, she said. Invitations will be sent out in June.
Superintendent’s evaluation: Board President Terry Seiders announced that an executive session was held prior to the meeting to discuss the superintendent’s annual evaluation. After board members complete their input, the date of the evaluation will be posted on the district website along with whether performance objectives were met, according to district spokesman Troy Portser. When asked whether this is tied to a salary increase, Portser said that, according to Balliet’s contract, she is guaranteed no less than a 2% annual raise in salary if those performance standards are satisfied. Her current salary is $184,712.
Staff cuts: The board also approved the elimination of three instructional paraprofessional positions in special education, effective June 3. The jobs are being cut because two autism support classes are being combined into one, and due to economic concerns. Eliminated are two full-time positions held by Emily Musser and Elaine Foultz, and a part-time position held by Jacquelin McMullen. Portser said the savings would amount to about $120,000.
Psychologist contract: The board approved an agreement with the Manheim Central School District to share the services of a school psychologist for the 2020-21 school year. This replaces an agreement with the Donegal School District. The two districts would share equally in salary, benefit and program costs totaling $110,000, Portser said.