Last updated: April 08. 2014 11:18PM - 1891 Views
By - mguydish@timesleader.com

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WILKES-BARRE —Secretaries got a year added to their contract and high school students got an extra academic period added to their school day during Monday’s Wilkes-Barre Area School Board Meeting.

The board approved a “memorandum of understanding” with the Secretaries and Associates Educational Support Personnel Association, the union representing most secretaries and office workers in the district. The memorandum extends the terms of the current contract, which runs from July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2015, one year. It gives union members a 75 cent hourly raise for the added year.

Solicitor Ray Wendolowski said the move was part of an effort to “stagger” expiration of employee contracts. The district strikes four separate bargains — one for teachers, two for different support staff unions and one for administrators — and the board found itself recently negotiating all four in the same year.

The board also approved a memorandum of understanding with the teachers union to introduce a “flex schedule” in the three high schools. Director of Secondary Education Brian Costello said the move eliminates the brief “home room” period in the morning and shortens other class periods from 51 minutes to 45 minutes. The extra time creates another, shorter period, boosting the number of academic periods from eight to nine.

“We hope the class sizes can go down,” Costello said, “and we can offer students more electives.”

In other action, the board:

• Voted to get an estimate from Mark J. Sobeck Roof Consulting of Wilkes-Barre for inspection and recommendations of building roofs. Board Member Dino Galella said roofs are leaking at Heights Murray, Daniel Flood and GAR schools.

• Voted to solicit advertising to be placed around Memorial Stadium. Last year the board agreed to purchase equipment that will allow the district to print large ads on banners that can be hung around the field. The district hasn’t set rates, but Galella said he expects the district should be able to charge around $500 for a banner.

• Agreed to form a committee to review the district dress code. Board Member Denise Thomas said enforcement of the current code has become “lax” and that it was time to revamp the rules.

• Approved a calendar for 2014-15 setting the first day of school for Aug. 25 and last day for June 9 with three snow days. The board also set graduation this year on June 11 and the last day of school for other students on June 12. Superintendent Bernard Prevuznak said the district has been able to make up lost day snow days and will not have to bring seniors in on Saturday as had been previously considered.

• Made the following appointments: Robert Makaravage as data/cyber school administrator; Robert Watkins as elementary assistant principal; Kayla Turonis as day-to-day speech pathologist; Katie Richards as 27.5-hours-per-week locker room aide; Carissa Smith as 20-hours-per-week dental hygienist aide; Barbara Watlock as substitute teacher’s associate; and John Early as substitute crossing guard.

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