2010-03-25 / Local & State

SF Delays Action On Selecting Architectural Firm

Annual art festival set for April 18
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

The Southern Fulton School Board delayed taking action last week on selecting an architectural firm to conduct a feasibility study outlining building needs, current space constraints and possible future construction costs.

At the suggestion of district Superintendent Ralph Scott, the board agreed to take the item off the March 16 agenda. In further explaining his suggestion, Scott referred to his monthly district report that stated the first round of interviews was completed on March 10 and 11.

The superintendent added of the eight architectural firms that were interviewed, half have been asked to return for a second interview. As of the board’s meeting last week, the interview schedule for the follow-up meetings had not yet been determined.

“Once the feasibility study is completed, the board will then determine its next course of action in terms of accepting and implementing the recommendations contained within the study, rejecting the study’s recommendations, modifying the recommendations for implementation or tabling the recommendations,” Scott said in his report.

“The board has committed to this point only to doing the study ...,” Scott said.

In other matters discussed last Tuesday, the board unanimously adopted a resolution prepared by the Pennsylvania School Board Association (PSBA) urging action on school employee pension reform.

According to the resolution, the board of directors of the Pennsylvania Public School Employees Retirement System (PSERS) has voted to raise the employer contribution to the pension system for the 2010-2011 school year to a total of 8.22 percent, which represents an overall increase of 72 percent over the current 2009-10 rate. Projecting future employer contributions, the rate is expected to reach a peak of 33.60 percent by the 2014- 15 school year.

That specified increase in employer contributions, the resolution states, would cost Southern Fulton and the taxpayers an additional $545,050.41 between 2008-09 and the 2012-13 school year.

“A meaningful solution to these problems must involve the identification of another funding source for PSERS, decreasing or cutting the costs/liabilities of the system, including benefit levels, and deferring the system’s liabilities,” the resolution further relates. “ ... The district calls upon the General Assembly to begin immediate consideration of school employee pension reform with the dual purpose of reducing projected employer contribution rate increases over the next four years and reducing projects costs to school districts, taxpayers and the commonwealth over the next two decades, while maintaining an appropriate pension benefit for school employees.”

The board also accepted a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the current professional collective bargaining agreement that addresses specific wording of “personal leave and emergency leave.” The MOU was revised to reflect, “No personal days shall be taken during a scheduled Parent/Teacher Conference Day, the school day of the PTCD if the conference time commences after the conclusion of the regular school day, Act 80 days scheduled prior to the personal day request or on the day of a field trip.”

A letter of resignation was accepted with regret as penned by sixth-grade teacher John Barkow. Barkow is set to retire at the conclusion of the 2009-10 school year after logging 40 years of service at Southern Fulton.

Pending the receipt of necessary paperwork, Stephanie Walker and Derek Mills were approved to serve as substitutes for the remainder of the school year. Meanwhile, Carl Harper Sr. will serve as a substitute custodian.

The 2008-09 audit report was accepted as presented at the February 16 meeting by Chuck Frame of Boyer and Ritter, certified public accountants. In addition, the 2010-11 tentative school calendar was approved as was the tax exoneration list for the current 2009-10 school year.

Existing funding in the 2009- 10 athletic budget is scheduled to be utilized for the purchase of track and field uniforms for the spring season. Up to $2,500 will be used for the purchase, and track and field will accordingly be removed from the district’s annual cycle to receive new uniforms next year.

Prekindergarten students will be travelling to Del Grosso’s Amusement Park on May 19.

The board was advised a total of 50 books ranging in topic from history to science were donated to the junior/senior high school library by an anonymous donor in memory of L. JoAnn Mowen. During the announcement, the board also learned that new and gently used books are always welcome at the district library and a label honoring the donor can be placed inside the books upon request.

The annual student art festival has been scheduled for Sunday, April 18, from noon to 3 p.m. at the elementary school. At the event, baked goods and hot sandwiches will be available and various activities such as face painting will be offered.

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