UNION TWP. —The Northwest Area School Board will remain under the leadership of Randy Tomasacci through the 2013-14 school year.
On a unanimous vote (9-0), Tomasacci was re-elected board president at a re-organizational meeting on Wednesday night. It is Tomasacci’s third consecutive term as president.
There were, however, changes in two other official positions. Gerald Conger, on a 5-4 vote, was elected vice president, and Michael Kreidler, on a 9-0 vote, became the secretary, succeeding Albert Gordon.
Gordon, who declined the nomination to serve again, had held the post since 1999.
Attorney Mark Lehnowsky was sworn in as the board’s only new director. Lehnowsky succeeds Gina Schwartz, who chose not to seek re-election. Lehnowsky’s swearing in ceremony was conducted by District Judge John Hasay of Shickshinny.
While in the process of changing assignments, Gordon raised a cautionary flag for Northwest taxpayers.
He said that based upon information out of state government, pension contributions for educators and other school district personnel are scheduled to increase in 2014 to levels he called “the largest increase in my experience.” Gordon said the contribution rate is rising overall by 4.5 percent. Northwest’s share, he added, will be 2.75 percent, an amount Gordon estimated “will hurt the taxpayers.”
The board debated the issue of students from the Benton Area School District participating in football at Northwest.
Director Daryl Morgan contended Benton players have the potential to push Northwest out of its Class A ranking next season and into Class 2A — a situation, Morgan claimed, would not be in the best competitive interests of Northwest.
Morgan was supported by Conger and Director Peter Lanza. However, Superintendent Ronald Grevera pointed out that Northwest has an existing agreement with Benton and to initiate a change at this point would be “going back on our word.”
The cooperative agreement with Benton was extended by 6-3 vote.
Tomasacci said football also came up in the executive session prior to the regular meeting when the “job tenure for the head football coach” was discussed. Carl Majer is serving as coach. Tomasacci didn’t expand on his comment, but at last month’s meeting Majer survived, on a 5-4 vote, a motion to open the position.
On the heels of that decision, the board, as per terms of the collective bargaining agreement, acted to “post” coaching positions in football, cross country and field hockey for the 2014-15 term. The board also approved a recommendation to retain Joe Stepanski as volunteer boys’ varsity basketball coach for the current season.
In other matters:
• It was announced that Agnes Miller has been retained as Clearbrook secretary at a salary of $8.50 per hour.
• Grevera stated that career programs are being developed to enhance college oportunities for high school students.
• The purchase of two-way radios for school buses was approved with the total cost not to exceed $35,000.
• A parent filed a complaint about the need for more recess supervision at an elementary level. She said her complaint stems from her son having been injured when struck by a rock during recess.