WILKES-BARRE — Wilkes-Barre Area School Board unanimously approved a new, four year contract from July 1, 2013, through June 20, 2017, for the union representing custodians, cafeteria workers and housekeepers Monday night.
Within minutes of that vote the board also hired a custodian two members said was not recommended by the professional staff committee that reviews candidates.
And the board voted to keep any property tax increase in the 2014-15 budget at or below a state-set maximum of 2.9 percent. Districts must annually either agree to stay with in the limit or seek state or voter approval to exceed it.
Board members Shawn Walker and Christine Katsock both said they voted against Steve Gilroy because the committee had recommended two people, and he was not on that short list.
The contract gives hourly employees such as housekeepers and cafeteria workers annual 50 cent-per-hour raises. It gives custodial workers annual increases of $1,040 each year.
Solicitor Ray Wendolowski said the contract has the same health care plans accepted by two other district unions recently, with higher co-payments and deductibles.
The board also voted to purchase “time and attendance terminals” for $25,471 from School Technology Associates Inc. of Wisconsin. Superintendent Bernard Prevuznak said one machine will be in each building and all employees will swipe the new building access cards in the desktop machines when they start and finish work.
Prevuznak said the data can then be used as a time clock for hourly employees. Prevuznak said all unions had been contacted regarding the plan and that “they are all on board.”
And the board approved electrical repair work at Memorial Stadium where water seeping into underground lines has shorted out lights. The work calls for a new line running 10 foot above ground along a wall, then dropping into the ground to run to the lights.
The district had sought quotes from several contractors and the low quote with all metal conduit was $19,021, while an alternate quote using PVC conduit for lines 10 feet or higher was $18,486.
Wendolowski said the PVC bid was below a state trigger amount of $18,500 that would require districts to seek full bids, and that the trigger amount varies and may have risen. The board agreed to get all metal conduit if the $19,021 is below the current trigger amount, and to go with PVC if it isn’t.
The board made the following appointments: Mark Belles as technology education long-term substitute; Joe Pesotski as acting Title 1 math teacher; Erica Jacobs as early childhood coordinator; Tammy Letinski, Courtney Sawicki, Leah Zelinka, Jessica Hendler and Denise Elko as elementary education long-term substitutes; Alicia Erwine as acting elementary dean of students, Jill Hall as elementary special education long-term substitute, Migdalia Roldan as 20-hour-per-week English-as-second-language teacher associate; Lenore Benzi, Christine Bergold and Sylvia Decker as 12-month secretaries; Mark Krebs as utility custodian; and Michael Yelland as substitute security greeter.
The board also granted an unpaid leave of absence for the second semester of this school year to Dodson Elementary first-grade teacher Elise Mosca. Mosca is currently appearing as a contestant on ABC’s romance reality series “The Bachelor.” She was granted an unpaid leave of absence for the first semester of this school year last summer.