2009-05-07 / Front Page

Forbes Road Split On Budget

Foster to step in as acting superintendent
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

Members of the Forbes Road School Board found themselves at odds Monday night following a 70-minute executive session where they discussed at length "personnel and contract" issues in conjunction with next year's general operating budget.

Emerging from the closeddoor meeting, board members Dr. Walter Curfman and Teressa Bard proposed a motion to set expenditures at $7,289,956 for 2009-10 along with revenue and financing sources at the slightly lower amount of $7,078,456. The tentative budget passed on a 5- 3 roll-call vote.

Board members Kirby Shoemaker, Ed Brown and Deonna Carmack voted against the general fund budget, and board member Debbie Strait was unable to attend the May 4 meeting.

Final adoption of the budget, which could include up to a one mill increase from its current rate of 32.63 mills, is slated for June 1 at 7 p.m.

In other finance-related issues, the board also granted approval for the 2009-10 general operating budget for the Fulton County Area Vocational-Technical School. The budget in the amount of $892,829, according to Superintendent Arnold, is 2 percent lower than the total last presented to the board.


With Superintendent Arnold scheduled to retire, the board unanimously agreed to appoint high school Principal Fred Foster to the position of "acting superintendent" effective July 1. Foster's initial salary was accordingly set at $82,000.

Foster joined the district as principal February 2007 after having worn multiple hats at neighboring Southern Huntingdon School District, including those of assistant principal, middle school principal and high school principal. He also logged nine years teaching physical education and health at the Hartford County School District in Maryland and oversaw their football, wrestling and track teams before returning home to rural Pennsylvania. Foster is a native of the Pittsburgh area and active member of the Air Guard in Baltimore, Md.

Foster is in the process of obtaining his superintendent's certification and will reportedly have one year to finish the certification process. In the event he is unable to finish his certification, he will revert back to the position of high school principal.

In the meantime, the board has not made a final decision as to how to handle the principal's vacancy over the course of the 2009-10 school year.

The board agreed to retain the services of school solicitor Fred Gutshall at an hourly rate of $110. Gutshall will also receive a flat fee of $140 per trip during the 2009-10 school year.

In addition, school psychologist Philip S. Wilson will continue offering services during the upcoming school year at his current rate of $14,000.

Local auditors Boyer & Ritter were again retained for the 2009- 10 fiscal year at a rate of $18,750. The firm is slated to receive an increase from last year's rate of $15,965 based on additional hours it will be logging.

Dr. Walter Curfman will continue serving as school board treasurer for the 2009-10, while F&M Trust will act as school depository.

Glenda Wolford was re-elected to the position of school board secretary for a four-year term of office.

Meanwhile, the school board accepted the resignation, for the purpose of retirement, from high school health and physical education teacher Craig Cutchall. Cutchall's retirement will commence June 15.

Nathan Whitsel was added to the professional substitute list with certification in math, while Tammie Waite was approved as a teacher aide and cafeteria substitute. The motion to add Whitsel and Waite was approved pending the completion of necessary paperwork and clearances.

Kayla Knepper and Danielle Berkstresser were respectively hired as varsity girls basketball coach and assistant coach. Their salaries were set on the first step of the extracurricular salary scale.

Nurse practitioner Deb Messner received authorization to conduct school physicals at a rate of $7 per exam, while Jamie Hall will continue providing dental checkups free of charge to the district for the 2009-10 school year.


The 2009-10 school calendar was approved as presented as was the special education plan that runs from 2009 through 2012.

A list of potential graduates for the Class of 2009 was accepted as presented pending the completion of state and local graduation requirements.

In lieu of attending the garden expo in Harrisburg, the ag science and FFA students are slated to visit various farming operations and agricultural industries in the the Lancaster area on May 18.

As discussed in prior months, the school board adopted a drugtesting policy for the student body to be implemented during 2009-10. In addition, revisions were approved for the 2009-10 student handbook. High school Principal Foster said he would be bringing additional changes to the board in June in regard to student driving.

Furthermore, the board discussed alterations made to the handbook on future attendance at the junior/senior prom. Participation will be restricted to students in grades nine and higher, and no one over the age of 21 will be permitted.

Upon doctor recommendation, homebound instruction is slated to commence for an elementary student.

Building and grounds

Cheerleading advisor Helen Lutz was authorized to use the high school gymnasium during the off-season and summer months for cheerleader recreation.


Craig Cutchall was granted permission to distribute the 1969 boys basketball warm-up suits.

Superintendent Arnold informed the board the number of free and reduced lunches has increased to 46 percent and will likely reach 50 percent during 2009-10. The percentage, Arnold concluded, is utilized as a benchmark by the state and could result in the district receiving additional grant money.

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