SF Taxes Holding Steady
The Southern Fulton School Board opted to hold the line on real estate taxes in spite of projecting increases in expenditures in several budgeted areas, including debt service, staffing and the possible creation of a new Life Skills program at the elementary level.
Following the original proposal aired during its May meeting, the board agreed on a 7-2 roll-call vote to adopt the 2009- 10 budget totalling $11,601,933. Board members Danny Crouse and Edgar Yates dissented, while fellow board member Richard Mosemann was unable to attend the June 23 meeting.
In accordance with the budget announcement, real estate taxes as well as payment of various per capita taxes will remain unchanged for Southern Fulton property owners. The millage rate is set to stay at its current rate of 22.5 mills, while Act 511 and 679 per capita taxes are staying at $5. Earned income taxes and real estate transfer taxes are listed at 1 percent, and penalties are at a maximum 10 percent.
In other financial matters, the board agreed to have F&M Trust serve as both district treasurer and depository of funds.
Annual approval was again granted for the 2009 Homestead and Farmstead Exclusion resolution.
Falling within its budgeted figures, the board secured insurance through the Strickler Agency. A total of five policies ranging from the commercial package and commercial auto insurance were secured through the company for a total premium of $63,869.
On the heels of a 36-minute executive session to review personnel issues, the board agreed to alter the title of elementary Principal Kendra Trail. Trail will not receive any additional income for the title change, which will now read elementary principal/ assistant to the superintendent. Board member John McKee abstained from voting on the matter.
The services of several individuals, including psychologist Philip Wilson and special education consultant Andrew Klein, were retained for the upcoming 2009-10 school year. Klein, who was recommended to the district by solicitor Carl Beard, is slated to receive an hourly rate of $180 to provide expert advise.
Meanwhile, Wilson will receive $20,000 to primarily deal with special education issues. Superintendent Ralph Scott, noted the district gets its "money's worth" with Wilson, who replaced services previously offered by Tuscarora Intermediate Unit (TIU) #11.
Occupational Therapy Services will continue to be provided to the district by TIU #11. The cost for the OTR/L and COTA/L services will hinge upon the number of students needing assistance.
Pending the completion of paperwork, the following individuals will be approved to serve as substitute teachers during the 2009-10 school year: Beverly Chronister, Patricia Scott, Jamie Shaw, Amanda Schetrompf, Carol Souders, Jennifer Arnoth, Deborah Remeikas, Debbie Duran, Adam George, Nancy Harris, Elizabeth Merica, Terry Diehl, Jamie Shipley, Lindsey Bard, Linda Smith, Holly Stambaugh, Deborah Cooper, Brittany Frost, Kevin Sandell, Melissa Wilson, Gail Potter, Kay Bradshaw, Brooke Francis, Carol Wolf, Carol Hendershot, Christy Boehme, Linda Banks, Joan Mellott, Sharon Bakner and Angela Fuss.
Teacher aide substitutes receiving board approval were Barbara Peck, Barbara Mellott, Daisy Wertz, Debra Hixon, Vivian Bernhard, Rose Shank, Karen Smartt, Via Shaw, Anna Thompson, Sandra Wills and Sharon Knable.
In addition, Sandra Wills, Dana Myers, Daisy Wertz, Sharon Knable and Barbara Mellott received authorization to serve as cafeteria substitutes. Substitute custodians approved to date include Sharon Knable, Barbara Peck, Via Shaw and Daisy Wertz, and nurse substitutes are Lucinda Lynch, Wendy Fischer, Rebecca Dase and Cassie Scott.
The board wrapped up its motion with approval of G. Jean Morton, Barbara Mellott, Karen Smartt, Sandra Wills and Anna Thompson as secretary substitutes.
Extracurricular activity coaches and advisors appointed to positions for 2009-10 in accordance with the professional staff contract and as recommended by the athletic director are:
• Denise Conley, varsity volleyball coach
• Melissa Mackel, varsity volleyball assistant coach
• Jessica Ritchey, junior high volleyball coach
• Herb Brambley, varsity soccer coach
• Ryan Ickes, varsity soccer assistant coach
• Brian Strait, junior high soccer coach
• Leah Eslinger, junior high soccer assistant coach
• Debbie Hixon, cheerleading coach
• Mark Mellott, varsity girls basketball coach
• Joe Hollenshead, junior high girls basketball coach
• Amy Fischer, junior high girls basketball assistant coach
• Kent Hendershot, varsity boys basketball coach
• Dave Gordon, junior varsity boys basketball coach
• Terry Wertz, junior high boys basketball coach
• Justin Sholes, junior high boys basketball assistant coach
• Joe Hollenshead, track and field coach
• Jon Diffenderfer, track and field assistant coach
• Heather Hollenshead, track and field assistant coach
• Mark Lund, track and field assistant coach
• Andrew Pepple, varsity baseball coach
• Dustin Fischer, varsity baseball assistant coach
• Dave Gordon, junior high baseball coach
• Charles Conley, junior high baseball assistant coach
• Stephanie Mills, varsity softball assistant coach
• Melissa Mackel, junior high softball coach
• Melissa Barton, junior high assistant softball coach
• Ryan Ickes, junior high softball volunteer assistant coach
• Kent Hendershot, athletic director
• Heather Kauffman, Jean Morton and Missy Barton, game managers
• Ben Arnold, instrumental music
• Karen Smartt, band front advisor
• Carolyn Mottern, yearbook advisor
• Dan Meredith, vocal music director and stage director
• Heather Hollenshead, National Junior Honor Society advisor
• Carolyn Mottern, play director/ drama coach
• Julie Dickerhoff, National Honor Society advisor
Board President Dwight Bard refrained or abstained from voting on Terry Bard and Candace Bard being appointed to the respective positions of varsity girls basketball assistant coach and junior high volleyball assistant coach.
With much regret the board accepted the resignation of varsity softball coach Mike Shade. Superintendent Scott stated the district has appreciated Shade's efforts both on and off the softball field. Shade, according to Scott, has given countless hours to the district.
"It's a big hit to Southern Fulton to lose a man like that," Scott said of Shade.
The high school and elementary student handbooks were approved on a 6-2 roll-call vote. Board members Patrick Bard and Danny Crouse dissented after the board held a discussion on cellular phone usage by students.
Crouse pointed out he had contacted the district in the past to make various transportation arrangements for his daughter, who never reportedly received the messages. As a result, Crouse stated it has been easier to contact her directly on her cellphone.
In the meantime, Scott pointed out that use of cellphones within the high school has become an epidemic. Scott added that some parental emergencies may not be deemed emergencies, but office staff will take the necessary steps to funnel calls to the students.
Board member Edgar Yates questioned if favoritism will be an issue in enforcing the cellphone policy included in handbooks. The superintendent stated children of school employees have been disciplined the same as other students for breaking cellphone rules.
Fellow board member Tim Mellott added in that even though texting and phone calls are a convenient way to make arrangements, those seated at the June 23 meeting managed to make it through the school system without cellular phones. Kenny Wuertenberg concluded he did not have a problem banning cellphones, but the end result would be a large gathering of concerned citizens and parents at their next board meeting.
"We're asking kids to be responsible, and I don't think that's a bad thing," said Wuertenberg.
The first reading of multiple policies dealing with employment of district staff, employment of classified employees, transportation and contracted services were approved by the board as presented. Final reading of Policy 200, pupils, enrollment in district was also approved.
Scott Foresmann Science Series books will be purchased for elementary grades K-5 at a cost mandated not to exceed $32,500. Furthermore, physical science, Earth GEU, Teen Health 3 and Glenco Health 2009 texts from Glenco McGraw Hill will be bought at a price of $21,060 or less.
Additional science textbooks totalling $33,650 or less will be purchased from Holt McDougal. Books slated to be purchased include sound and light; weather and climate; water on Earth; microorganisms, fungi and plants; environmental science; inside the restless Earth; forces, motion energy; astronomy; cells, heredity and classification; Earth's changing surface; introduction to matter; interactions of matter; Caymen biology; and modern biology.
Books totalling $8,658 will be bought from Pearson Prentice Hall and will touch on the following subjects: Pennsylvania environment and ecology; conceptual physics; calculus with applications; and college algebra and trigonometry.
"Manual for Landscape Plants" from Stipes Publishing will be purchased at a cost not to exceed $805, while Delmar Cengage Learning will provide home horticulture, exploring agriscience and small animal care and management books at a cost not exceeding $10,980.
Building and grounds
The district entered into an agreement with the Southern Alleghenies chapter of the American Red Cross to serve as a disaster shelter and reception center.