MUHLENBERG TWP., Pa. -

Muhlenberg School District will move forward with plans for 2014-15 as decided by vote last month, even though the Ready-to-Learn Grant from the state was $303,535 less than anticipated.

The district was expecting a contribution of $633,698 and instead only received $330,163. 

The three new teaching positions in the plan were to be funded from the expected money, but the district said they will still make the additions and will find the difference elsewhere.

Board member Mark J. Nelson, who last month said to “proceed with caution” on the new positions, brought up the shortfall in aid from the state for discussion.

He and all other members still fully supported the idea of adding three new teachers to the elementary and special education areas, in order to cut down class sizes.

On Wednesday night, the board also approved two assistant principal hires.

Effective August 4, Krista M. Venza will be assistant principal at the middle school and Charles Eric Schaffer at the high school.

The board also heard a presentation from Stephen Flaherty from RBC Capital on funding opportunities for the district that could potentially save hundreds of thousands of dollars over several years.

The board wanted more information on the concept of accruing negative arbitrage to get the most out of interest rates in coming years, as it is a path they have not taken before.

The board took no action as the presentation was just to make the district aware of the opportunity.

“It’s incumbent of us as representatives of the taxpayers to understand any risk we are entering into,” said Otto Voit, board member.

Flaherty will return to the August meeting with more information after gathering specifics on legalities about the opportunity.

Also, Gregory Schneider, coordinator of buildings, grounds and transportation, updated board members on the HVAC renovations at the high school in the summer months.

Schneider said the project was about 65-70% completed, and reported there were no sightings of mold within the interior of the building.

His presentation eased concerns about finishing the project in time for school to begin.

The district also honored recent graduates Aubrie Potteiger and Sean O’Brien for their efforts in scientific research and competitions throughout the year.

Both students are looking to patent their work and will continue their research work at Albright College and the University of Pittsburgh, respectively.