2009-09-17 / Front Page

Forbes Joins Schools Demanding Budget Action

Discusses obtaining line of credit
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

Forbes Road School District joined the list of public schools across the commonwealth so unhappy with unresolved state budget issues they are taking their issues straight to the General Assembly in the form of a resolution.

During the district's monthly board meeting held Monday evening, the board gave its unanimous support for the resolution that asks not only for approval of the 2009-10 state budget but also a commitment from the state to provide adequate and equitable basic education funding.

The district, according to the resolution, was "proactive" in reducing costs for the current school year to the tune of $95,000. The money represents reductions in several areas, including classroom supplies, technology initiatives and maintenance expenses. All reductions were included in the district's budget that met final adoption on June 23, with expenditures and revenues and other financing sources listed at $7,615,298.

Furthermore, budget ideas currently being eyed by the General Assembly could result in a loss of money for a variety of programs at the district, such as dual enrollment for college bound students, charter school reimbursements and the accountability block grant program.

Other financial issues addressed on September 14 tying in with the budget crisis was a discussion on pursuing a line of credit. An exact amount or figure needed to be secured by the district for operating expenses was not revealed, but it was noted credit rates will be secured and revealed at the board's next meeting.

The board agreed to move $1,060,000 from the unreserved, undesignated fund balance to an unreserved, designated fund balance retroactive to June 30 in direct accordance with Act 48 of 2003. The unreserved, designated fund balance is utilized for payments on bond principal and interest. By taking the official action, the district is ensuring the unreserved, undesignated fund balance remains within the 12 percent limit of total budgeted expenditures.

The Pennsylvania School Board Association received authorization to update and review existing current policies for a fee of $4,500.

In following action of the Fulton County Area Vocational- Technical School Joint Operating Committee and neighboring school districts, it was agreed to revise the method of prorating operating expenses for the votech.

An Act 32 resolution was approved thereby appointing business manager Lynn Wertman as Tax Collection Committee delegate and acting Superintendent Fred Foster as an alternate delegate. The position of second alternate voting delegate was given to board secretary Glenda Wolford.

Notice has been received that Forbes Road Elementary has been selected to receive funding in the amount of $1,000 through the Title 1 Academic Achievement Award.

Personnel

Under the category of personnel, remedial reading teacher Shannon Brown was approved to take medical leave. Teaching staff will be permitted to donate sick days to Brown while she is on leave.

Crystal Smith was hired as the learning support teacher as a replacement for Brandye Armstrong. Smith will receive a salary of $32,250, which will be prorated effective her official start date.

Elece Mitchell was appointed to the position of learning support teacher at the approved substitute rate with no benefits. Mitchell will be filling in for Carrie Gingerich, who will be on medical leave.

Haylee Runk will be joining the district staff as a part-time Red Birds teacher to help with the large number of K-4 students this school year. Runk will receive a salary of $19,350.

Michele Grace was selected to serve as a mentor for Sharon Bakner and tenure was granted for Joanna Sakala.

The following individuals were added to the professional substitute list: Bradly Truax, Nancy Harris, Jared Iampietro and Theresa Burd. Meanwhile, Brittany Mitchell was placed on the teacher aid substitute list.

Transportation

Pending the receipt of licenses and clearances, a list of bus and van drivers under the direction of contractor Ralph Helman was approved.

A form for policy purposes was approved for use by athletic transportation contractors. An additional form was also approved to be completed by bus contractors needing additional/ replacement vehicles.

Several new bus stops were approved, including 1176 New Grenada Highway Waterfall, where both a Red Birds bus and regular bus will be required for pickup. The buses will travel up Robertsdale mountain for slightly more than one-half mile and turn around. The route was previously operated by retired contractor Kenny Black.

An additional turnaround was set at 1573 Aughwick Road, Burnt Cabins. In the event of inclement weather, the turnaround will be moved approximately six miles away in Cowans Gap State Park. New Red Bird runs were added at 678 North Madden Road and 247 Huston Road, Three Springs.

Curriculum

Sixth-grade students will be travelling to the Englert Farm in Knobsville on October 6 to participate in a countywide Farm City Day.

A list of high school field trips for 2009-10 was approved as presented.

Building and grounds

A request from Girl Scouts representative Donna Werling was approved to set up in the elementary for registration purposes from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 19.

Athletic director Brown Cutchall will be using a high school classroom on November 18 for a PIAA mandatory basketball rules meeting. He will also be conducting meetings on October 25 and December 20 for meetings of the Fulton County chapter of PIAA basketball officials.

The field hockey team is slated to use the old high school for storage purposes in conjunction with their used book sale fundraiser.

Center for Families will offer daycare services at the old high school in the event of school closures.

A thank-you letter was presented to the board and administration from Janice Eichelberger, who along with her classmates took a tour of the new junior/ senior high school facility. Eichelberger also commended the district for staying current and providing a quality education to the students.

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