2009-05-28 / Front Page

Southern Fulton Taxes Holding Steady

Vo-tech budget fails to pass; superintendent gets 5% pay raise
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

Members of the Southern Fulton School Board couldn't bring themselves to unanimous agreement last Tuesday regarding their operating budget for 2009- 10, which will see an overall increase in expenditures of $1,031,193.

Board member Ed Yates voted against accepting the tentative budget in the amount of $11,601,933, while fellow member Danny Crouse abstained during voting on the matter at the May 19 monthly meeting.

Head administrator Ralph Scott pointed out that of the overall increase in spending, a total of $878,193 is for debt service. Additional costs of $235,137 are attributed to several areas, according to the superintendent, including $107,000 to establish an elementary Life Skills program and $50,000 for hiring a half-time elementary/art teacher.

Scott further stated health insurance costs are continuing to rise, with next year's increase expected to top out at 6 percent.

In spite of the additional forecasted expenses, the board followed up its tentative budget approval with a unanimous announcement it will not be raising real estate taxes, which will remain steady at the current rate of 22.5 mills. Section 679 and Act 511 per capita taxes will hold at $5, and earned income and real estate transfer taxes continue forward at 1 percent. Maximum penalties are tentatively set at 10 percent.

Following a 46-minute executive session to discuss personnel issues, the board approved Diane Younker to work an additional 45 contracted days. Her contracted days, as a result, will jump from 215 to 260.

Furthermore, on a 7-2 vote, the board agreed to increase Superintendent Scott's salary by a total of 5 percent during 2009- 10. The increase of $5,750 will bring Scott's income next year to $120,750.

The motion by board members Richard Mosemann and Donald Whiteside also included mention of possible healthcare savings involving the Northern Bedford County School District as well as an additional 10 vacation days. Fellow members Yates and Crouse voted against the matter involving Scott's contract.

The general operating budget for the Fulton County Area Vocational-Technical School for the upcoming 2009-10 school year failed to pass. The roll-call vote showed three members in favor, five dissenting and one abstaining.

Those against the vo-tech budget in the amount of $892,829 were Patrick Bard, Mosemann, Crouse, Kenny Wuertenberg and Dwight Bard. Whiteside refrained from voting.

A proposal for student accident and athletic insurance submitted to the district by Bollinger Co. for next year was unanimously approved as presented. Details of the proposal include a $100 primary excess plan; $1 million maximum benefit over a five-year period; and an approximate $3,592 premium.

A grant in the amount of $103,000 has been accepted from the Pennsylvania Conservation Corps (PCC). The funding has already been earmarked for improvements on the elementary nature trail.

Curriculum

A list of seniors eligible to graduate Southern Fulton High School in 2009 was approved provided all graduation requirements are met.

John Sigel was granted authorization to receive his high school diploma through the district's diploma recovery program.

The board agreed to enter into a PIAA cooperative agreement with the Everett School District for Southern Fulton students to participate in its wrestling program. In exchange, Everett students will be permitted to travel to Southern Fulton to participate as members of the district's cross-country squad.

Elementary students receiving permission from their parents will be able to participate in the Camp Joy-El Released Time Program during the upcoming 2009-10 school year.

Teacher Amber Galson is slated to attend the 2008-09 Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts statewide meeting held at Penn State on June 2 and June 3. Approximate cost to the district is $213.

In addition, members of Southern Fulton's administration will be traveling to State College on June 23-24 for the Tuscarora Intermediate Unit #11 Administrative Retreat. The trip will be taken at no cost to the district.

Personnel

On an 8-1 roll-call vote, Dr. Joseph Wolfe was approved to serve as school dentist and Dr. Joanna Brady and/or Tri-State Community Health Center as school doctor. Wolfe's services were set at 80 cents per dental exam, and physicals will be completed at a rate of $8 per student. Board member Timothy Mellott voted against the appointment of the district's school doctors.

In another annual appointment by the board, Boyer & Ritter received approval to serve as the district's local auditor for 2009-10. The firm will receive a total of $19,360 for its duties.

Wuertenberg and Yates voted against Carl Beard, of the firm of Andrews and Beard, to serve as solicitor next year at a rate of $120 per hour. The motion for Beard's appointment was accepted on a 7-2 roll-call vote.

Pending the receipt of necessary clearances and paperwork, the following individuals received approval to serve as substitute teachers during the remainder of the 2008-09 school year: Adam George, Kevin Sandell, Sharon Bakner, Nancy Harris, Melissa Wilson and Angela Fuss.

Leah Eslinger and Brian Strait will be serving as junior high soccer assistant coach and head junior high soccer coach, respectively, during the fall of 2009.

The district agreed to continue utilizing the services of Metz Inc. as its food service provider next year. In accordance with Metz's request for proposal (RFP), the company has set the guaranteed loss for 2009-10 at $88,267.47.

Building and grounds

The Shooting Stars majorette group is scheduled to use the high school cafeteria for a basket bingo on June 28 starting at 11 a.m. and ending at 5 p.m.

The Southern Fulton junior high volleyball camp has been set for June 22-24 at the elementary school.

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