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UPSD Board Votes to Limit Size of Future Tax Hike
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            Property taxes in the Upper Perkiomen School District will likely increase during the upcoming fiscal year. However, the school board voted last week to limit the size of that increase.

            The members unanimously approved an action item indicating they will not raise taxes more than five percent as part of the district's 2023-24 budget during the Jan. 12 regular meeting. The rate was established by the state's Department of Education.

            According to board President Melanie Cunningham, the members voted to opt out of the opportunity to approve a higher tax for the upcoming school year. The board's Finance Committee, which she chairs, recommended the motion.

            "I'm pretty sure we're going to have to raise taxes," Cunningham said after the meeting, citing the need to hire additional teachers and multiple planned building improvements.

            The current budget included a 1.35 percent tax increase for property owners. The two previous budgets held the line on taxes.

            Superintendent Allyn Roche announced during a video report, that the district will be hosting a three-week girls wrestling club in March. Steve Adam, the high school's current wrestling coach, will be involved in the club, which will hold two to three sessions a week for girls from grades seven through 11.

            During the video, Roche explained that the club is part of the process to make girls wrestling a varsity sport. He said the district did the same thing for girls volleyball, which debuted in the fall.

            In personnel news, the members voted to accept the retirement of Robert Haas, a middle school social studies teacher, effective Jan. 23. They also approved the resignations of school psychologist Angela Spinozzi, paraprofessionals Lisa Williams, Denise Reinhard and Keri Summers.

            The board also voted to approve the professional appointments for AnnMarie Borovik, a middle school guidance counselor, and Julia Cupitt, a special education teacher for the 4th and 5th Grade Center, for the current school year.

            It also approved the appointment of Tanya Hilbert as a full-time custodian and Christine Stewart as part-time tech assistant for the current school year.

            The board also appointed three existing employees to new positions, effective Jan. 22.

            Lisa Dicesare, will work as the administrative assistant to the assistant superintendent. Kristal Bitner will serve as an administrative assistant to the business administrator. Amy Hartzell was appointed to the position of PIMS and child accounting specialist.

            The board also voted to approve leaves of absences for Gloria Hendricks, through Jan. 20; Lorie Seimes, from Dec. 9, 2022 through Jan. 3 and intermittently thereafter, as needed, for a total of up to 12 weeks; Timothy Herbert, through Feb. 14, 2023, continuously and intermittently thereafter, as needed for a total of 12 weeks; Mary Slemmer, beginning Dec. 3, 2022 and continuing for up to 12 weeks, as needed; Theresa Schlatterer, beginning May 21, 2022, and continuing for 6-8 weeks, additional leave until Oct. 24, 2023; Robert Dowd, unpaid leave until Jan. 13, 2023.

            Member Mike Elliott did not attend the meeting. Roche was also absent.

            According to Solicitor Kyle Somers, the board held two recent executive sessions. The members discussed issues of collective bargaining with the Upper Perkiomen Education Association on Dec. 16 and immediately prior to last week's public meeting.






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