Wednesday, May 15, 2013
The LEAD 21 language arts program was rolled out across the Parkland School District this year and has been a great success, according to Diane Neikam, Curriculum Supervisor of Elementary Education.
Parkland School District's LEAD 21, a language arts program, has been implemented across all schools this academic year with great success, according to Diane Neikam, Curriculum Supervisor of Elementary Education. The program, designed by McGraw-Hill, was pre-implemented and rolled out in two grade levels last year before going district-wide. LEAD 21 is based on common core standards adopted by states across the country. Some of the highlights of the curriculum include: Neikam said students across the district are making great gains in language arts as a result of the program. "It's very rigorous. It's a model that takes students out of their comfort zone and stretches them," she said. "A lot of the components are through technology, even …
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Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Parkland School District officials say the proposed final 2013-14 school budget will carry a tax increase of less than 2.5%. The proposed final budget will be introduced to the school board on May 21.
The Parkland School District will introduce its proposed final 2013-14 budget at its May 21 meeting and district officials say the anticipated tax increase will fall below 2.5 percent. Business Administration Director John Vignone said the tax increase will "crack the 2.5 percent mark" and fall somewhere between 2.4 percent and 2.5 percent. The proposed $144 million budget, which is a 4.36 percent increase over 2012-13, carries a 2.73 percent tax increase totaling 13.94 mills, but ongoing work by district officials continues to trim the hike. Vignone, in a Tuesday morning school board committee meeting, said the anticipated the decrease is due to additional retirements and their associated costs, such as salary, benefits and pensions. …
Monday, May 6, 2013
A state audit report says paying former Parkland Superintendent Louise Donohue for unused sabbatical leave was 'a questionable use of taxpayer funds.' Parkland says it had been offered to attract and retain the most qualified candidate.
Paying former Parkland School District Superintendent Louise Donohue for unused sabbatical leave was "a questionable use of taxpayer funds," according to an observation made in a performance audit report by the state Auditor General's Office. Donohue, who retired on June 30, 2011, was eligible for a payment of $81,721 for leave that she didn't use over a three-year period, the report said. It also said Donohue was eligible for an administrative agreement retirement incentive totaling $28,417 to be paid out over two years into her 403(b) account. "The taxpayers have the right to expect that their hard earned money will be spent on the education of the District’s students and not on excess benefits to individuals," the audit report said. "…
The state Department of Auditor General calls interest rate swaps 'risky financial instruments that can needlessly waste taxpayer funds.' The school district says it does not have any current or near future plans for a swap transaction.
The Parkland School District was scolded in an audit report by the state's Department of Auditor General for entering into an interest rate swap related to its 2004 issuance of $47,660,000 worth of bonds. An interest rate swap allows a bond issuer, in this case the Parkland School District, to enter into a contract with an investment bank and speculate on which way interest rates will move. The party that guesses correctly concerning which way interest rates ultimately move receives what's called a swap interest payment. The amount of the payment, according to the audit, is determined by several factors, including the the amount of debt (bonds) involved and the overall movement of interest rates. "In reality, however, swaps are complicated…
Monday, April 29, 2013
Development in neighboring South Whitehall and North Whitehall townships will help boost assessments and tax collection within the entire Parkland School District.
Last week, Patch reported on development projects in Upper Macungie Township that will help keep school-related property taxes down. On Friday, during an all-day 2013-14 school budget seminar, the Parkland School Board also reported on similar development in neighboring South Whitehall and North Whitehall townships. Development in these neighboring sending districts will also help assessments and tax collection within the entire Parkland School District. According to the school district: In South Whitehall: In North Whitehall:
Sunday, April 28, 2013
Parkland School District administrators, during an all-day budget seminar Friday, pointed out some of the major Upper Macungie development projects that will increase tax revenues in the district in coming years.
Assessments and collection of taxes are critical to every school district and the Parkland School District is no exception. District administrators, during an all-day budget seminar Friday, pointed out some of the major Upper Macungie Township development projects that will increase tax revenues in the district in coming years. According to the school district:
Friday, April 26, 2013
Parkland School District administrators and school directors met Friday to examine and discuss 2013-14 budget issues.
Parkland School District administrators and school directors met Friday to examine and discuss 2013-14 budget issues. At the meeting's opening at the district administration building in South Whitehall, Parkland Superintendent Richard Sniscak said, "Challenges continue to impact school funding and that continues to impact Parkland. We've done more with less for three consecutive years." District officals and school board members were examining every facet of the proposed 2013-14 school budget. The proposed $144 million budget, which is a 4.36 percent increase over 2012-13, carries a 2.73 percent tax increase totaling 13.94 mills, but work continues on it. Sniscak has predicted that the final budget presented in June will carry a lower tax…
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Kelly Rosario was appointed Parkland School District's new director of curriculum, instruction and professional development.
Kelly Rosario was appointed Parkland School District's new director of curriculum, instruction and professional development. Rosario will replace L. Randy Claroni, who will retire at the end of the school year, according to a news release. The Parkland School Board approved Rosario's appointment at its Tuesday meeting. She will earn $112,000 a year. Rosario is currently director of professional development in the Allentown School District, where she has worked for 21 years. While in Allentown, Rosario served two years as the director of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) for kindergarten through 12th grade. Prior to that, she was elementary mathematics curriculum coordinator, an elementary mathematics specialist and taught …
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Lehigh Carbon Community College is sitting on a $17 million budget surplus but asked Parkland and other school districts for more money.
An angry Parkland School Board rejected Lehigh Carbon Community College's request for more money from the district after it learned the college was sitting on a $17 million budget surplus. Several board members said they were outraged LCCC asked Parkland for $1.23 million, a 2.1 percent increase, for the 2013-2014 school year when the college's surplus was nearly 40 percent of its $41.8 million budget. Although the board voted 5 to 3 against LCCC's budget, Parkand will still have to pay the amount unless the majority of the 13 Lehigh County member school districts rejects the college's budget. LCCC asked Parkland for $25,751 more than last year to help fund the $439,830 more it needs to fund next year's budget. Board member David Kennedy …