HAZLE TWP. — The Hazleton Area School Board on Tuesday night adopted a 2013-14 budget of nearly $123.5 million that includes a tax hike for property owners in the Schuylkill County portion of the district, a decrease in the Carbon County section of the district but keeps tax rates for Luzerne County property owners the same.
Schuylkill County property owners will pay about 2 percent more and those in Carbon County will pay about 4.2 percent less, under the spending plan. District Business Manager Anthony Ryba said the new budget will preserve much of the district’s $2 million reserve fund.
The board also voted to approve a measure to advertise for security staff to oversee metal detectors in the district’s schools. The new unarmed security officers will earn $10 per hour with a comprehensive benefits package.
According to school officials, the total cost of the new security staff could top $400,000, which has not been allocated in next year’s budget.
The board members mulled the possibility of having armed guards in their facilities; however, after extensive discussion, they voted down the armed security measure, which would have been implemented at a much higher overall cost.
Board member Steve Hahn expressed concerns regarding the possibility of armed guards in the district and the specific rules of engagement for lethal force, if the proposal were to be adopted. Hahn voted no on the armed guard proposal.
In other business, the board:
• Voted to authorize RBC Capital Market and Rhoads and Sinon LLP to proceed with the required procedures in for the district to issue general obligation bonds in the amount of $10 million for construction of the Maple Manor Project and other capital projects.
• Approved the hiring of Thomas Orff to the position of instructional technology technician at an annual salary of $68,788.
• Appointed Matthew Marnell principal of the McAdoo Elementary/Middle School at a salary of $96,525.
• Agreed to hire Dr. Christopher Lake to be supervisor of federal programs at an annual salary of $93,026.