School board fills positions, approves new band uniforms

The South Williamsport Area School Board saw members sworn in and the positions of president and vice president filled at Wednesday’s meeting.

The board elected member Chris Branton as president pro tempore, who then administered the oath of office to Jerry Broskey, Region II, and John Engel, Region I, who had won re-election to their seats this November. Board member Gregg Balawajder was not present to be sworn in.

The board then held a special election to appoint a president and vice president; John Engel was re-elected as president and Donald Lowe was re-elected as vice president. Both terms take effect immediately and will run for 12 months.

The school board meeting calendar for 2013-14 was approved unanimously.

The treasurer’s report was approved unanimously. The 2013-2014 general fund of $1,395,621.11 also was approved unanimously, as was the capital reserve fund of $3,341.60.

Superintendent Dr. Mark Stamm presented his report and recommendations, including a request from Dwight Woodley to attend the 2nd Annual iPad Summit sponsored by the Capital Area Intermediate Unit and Apple in Enola on Dec. 16. The request was approved unanimously by the board.

Superintendent Stamm also presented requests for winter athletic coaches and stipends. The board unanimously approved the hiring of JV boys basketball coach Joe Caschera at $2,681; 8th grade boys basketball coach Bryan Zysset at $1,1915; first assistant wrestling coach Eric Caschera at $2,681; wrestling volunteer Chris Engler; wrestling volunteer coaches Steve Noviello and Tyler Watts; and Dave Geise, Wilfred Knecht, Brian Cardone, Jennifer Greenbaum – all pending clearances – Steve Persun, and Scott Manning for the boys elementary basketball program.

It also was approved unanimously to appoint Matt Eisley as the Science Department Chair K-12.

Jessica Kaledas, band director, presented a request for the purchase of 100 new band uniforms for the district, at a total cost of $51,542. She displayed one of the current uniforms and some of the various replacements and alterations that they have had to undergo in recent years. She also showed a prototype of the new uniform she had designed herself, having been inspired by a photograph of South Williamsport’s band uniforms from the 1960’s.

“The current uniforms were last updated in 2000,” Kaledas said. “This design and these uniforms will last for the next 13 years.”

The board praised Kaledas’ improvements to the marching band program in her eight years with the district. Superintendent Stamm noted that “marching bands everywhere are struggling” but that the number of students in South Williamsport’s band has increased significantly in recent years.

Board member Jerry Broskey expressed concern at such a large out-of-pocket expense and voted against the request. The final vote was 6-1 in favor of approval of the purchase.

In other news, it was announced that the high school band and chorus concert will be held at 7 p.m. next Thursday. The elementary concert will be held at 7 p.m. Dec. 19.

The next school board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Jan. 6 at Rommelt Elementary, 515 W. Central Ave.