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UPSD Seeking Instructional Paraprofessionals
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            With the new school year looming, the Upper Perkiomen School Board took action to fill a shortage of instructional paraprofessionals. Earlier this month, the members approved an increase for the position and adjusted the related compensation.

            Instructional paraprofessionals will now earn $18.50 an hour and job coaches will be paid $19 an hour. Prior to the vote during the Aug. 10 regular meeting, Superintendent Allyn Roche said the increases will bring the wage more in line with similar positions throughout the industry and outside it.

            The district held a paraprofessional open house from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 16 at the Education Center in Upper Hanover. The new school year starts Monday.

            "We're really struggling with paraprofessionals, as are most districts," Roche said early in the meeting, declining to disclose the number of openings. "We want to make sure our buildings are fully staffed."

            Newly hired instructional paraprofessionals will be eligible for a second-step increase to $20 per hour. Job coaches will receive a $2 increase for a second step increase. Employees are required to utilize direct deposit and are paid on a bi-weekly basis, according to a copy of the agreement attached to the meeting agenda. 

            The district has contracted with an Allentown company to maintain the manholes at the middle school. The board voted to approve a service agreement with Evercor Facility Management.

            Upper Hanover Township required the board to take this action, according to President Melanie Cunningham.

            Municipal officials recommended that the manholes along Montgomery Avenue be cleaned more than once a month, according to Assistant Superintendent Andrea Farina.

            "The manholes need to be cleaned out," Cunningham said. "We have to make sure it is done right."

            The process will include removing debris from baskets located at grates along Montgomery Avenue, according to Farina. Roche told the members the agreement will keep district employees out of the manholes.

            The agreement sets the rates for labor, equipment and trucks to complete the work. The company will bill the district 50 percent of the total project cost when the work begins. Upon completion, the remaining amount will be billed, according to language included in the agreement.

            The document sets the hourly labor rates at $75.71 for a laborer/operator/driver, $86.63 for a supervisor, $115 for a geologist/scientist and $195 for a professional geologist.

            The utilization of various equipment -- including a circular saw with blades, a hammer for compressor, two types of crack sealers, two rollers, three wheel loaders, five excavators and two skid steers -- costs between $37 and $217 per hour, according to the language of the agreement embedded in the meeting agenda posted on the district's website.






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