Southern Fulton Proposes .63 Mill Increase
Southern Fulton School Board recorded one vote of dissension on both the tentative budget as well as the proposed hike in the real estate tax rate last Tuesday in the minutes prior to adjourning its meeting at midnight.
In reviewing the tentative budget for the 2010-11 school year in the amount of $11,677,426, board member Danny Crouse opted to cast a “no” vote on the motion made by Donald Whiteside and Dwight Bard. Fellow board member Timothy Hull was unable to attend the May 18 meeting.
The proposed budget shows an increase in expenditures totalling $75,493 from the current school year. In speaking with district Superintendent Ralph Scott, the “News” learned the district was able to lower its net increase through the elimination of two teaching positions. The two cuts were made, Scott noted, as a result of “attrition and careful line item cuts.”
In addition, dramatic increases in expenditures encountered by the district at this time include raises in pension contributions ($244,000) and healthcare ($302,000).
In a follow-up motion, Whiteside suggested raising real estate taxes by .9225 mill to its proposed rate of 23.4225. The motion failed for lack a of a second. Board members Allen Morton and Timothy Mellott in turn proposed a motion to raise the real estate taxes by .63 mill. The motion passed on a 7-1 roll-call vote, with Whiteside voting against the measure.
“The millage increase and expenditure cuts are being proposed in an effort to alleviate the impact of the PSERS crisis, which begins its most significant increase in 2012-13,” said Scott. If the politicians do not achieve consensus to amortize the retirement rates no later than next year, all Pennsylvania districts will experience financial difficulties.”
“Southern Fulton’s board is acting now, rather than waiting for the state Legislature to act in a year or two,” he concluded.
The board is slated to adopt the $11,677,426 budget with real estate taxes levied at 23.13 mills on June 15. Additional taxes tentatively set by the board include Section 679 and Act 511 per-capita taxes at $5, and earned income and real estate transfer taxes at 1 percent. Penalties will likely remain at the maximum level of 10 percent.
In other finance-related matters, on a 7-1 roll-call vote the board accepted the general oper- ating budget for the Fulton County Area Vocational- Technical School. Those voting against the $903,743 budget for the 2010-11 school year were board President Kenny Wuertenberg.
A proposal submitted by Bollinger Co. for student accident and athletic insurance was approved as presented to the board. The plan includes $100 primary excess with maximum coverage of $1 million during a five-year benefit period. The premium associated with the plan has been calculated at $3,843.
The board approved a three-part motion to authorize the redemption of the remaining 2003 bond on August 6 outstanding in the amount of $2.515 million. The board then agreed to direct the bond’s paying agent to notify the necessary bondholders of the redemption prior to July 6. As a result, the school district will forward the funding from the paying agent equal to the principal amount outstanding plus accrued interest before the August 6 deadline.
In a follow-up motion, the board opted to put the funding reimbursed by the state for the bond redemption back into the district’s Tax Stabilization Fund.
The administration announced that fact-finding results in connection with union negotiations were slated to be received last week. The board agreed to conduct a special meeting on Tuesday, May 25, at 7 p.m. to review and vote on the report.
Pending the completion of all graduation requirements, the board approved a list of seniors eligible for graduation in 2010.
A resolution from the Tuscarora Blended Learning Charter School was amended by the board thereby altering the school’s primary curriculum focus to students enrolled in grades seven through 12.
Stephanie Hartman is scheduled to attend the AP Summer Statistics training set for July 26 through July 29 in Malvern. Trip expenses will be covered by Title 1 stimulus money.
In addition, Diane Younker, Meredith Hendershot, Theresa Corle and Kendra Trail will be travelling to the Blair County Convention Center in Altoona on June 13-15 to participate in the Student Aligned System training. Lodging in conjunction with the trip will be paid by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Several textbooks were approved for purchase by the board, including “Social Studies” for grades, two, three and five by Scott Foresman at a cost not to exceed $19,806; “Our Pennsylvania Story” by Penns Valley for students in grade four at a cost not to exceed $1,928; “ASI SE DICEL L- 1,” “ASI S DICE 1-E,” “ASI S DICE 2-E” by McGraw Hill at a cost not to exceed $10,974; and “Mathematics for Business and Personal Finance” by Glencoe at a calculated cost of $2,696.35.
Dr. Joseph Wolfe was given authorization to serve as school dentist at a rate of 80 cents per exam.
Certified public accountants from Boyer and Ritter will be completing the 2010- 11 audit at a cost of $19,950, while Carl Beard of Andrews and Beard was approved to provide legal services next year at an hourly rate of $120 for general services and $150 per hour for special counsel and negotiation services.
F&M Bank received a nod of approval to serve as the district’s treasurer and depository of funds next year.
Special education consultant Andrew Klein received a raise of $15 per hour, bringing his hourly rate to $195 to review all cases. Meanwhile, the annual salary of school psychologist Philip Wilson is slated to remain steady at $20,000.
Metz Inc. will continue as the district’s food service provider during 2010-11 with a projected loss of $126,674. In conjunction with discussing the loss detailed in the company’s proposal, the board further agreed to increase lunch prices by 15 cents.
In his monthly district report, Superintendent Ralph Scott suggested an increase of only 10 cents. He added the meal prices at Southern Fulton are lower than those found at other schools districts in Fulton, Huntingdon, Bedford, Franklin and most of Blair County.
Pending the completion of necessary paperwork, Karen Varney and Rachel Leese were approved to serve as substitute teachers for the remainder of 2009-10. Substitute teachers receiving permission for next year pending the completion of paperwork include: Gail Potter, Jamie Shaw, Lindsey Bard, Linda Smith, Deborah Cooper, John Henry, Hope Moore, Laura Northcraft, Betsy Clippinger, Terry Diehl, Jamie Shipley, Carol Wolf, Carol Hendershot, Gloria Hurney, Kenneth Welsh, Bradley Fitz, Lindsay Clark, Kay Bradshaw, Amanda Schetrompf, Carol Souders, Jennifer Arnoth, Winter Decker, James Harvey, Sarah Keefer and April Leese.
Sandra Wills, Dana Myers, Daisy Wertz, Sharon Knable, Barbara Mellott and Jacqueline Duley received permission to serve as cafeteria substitutes, while Sharon Knable, Barbara Peck, Carl Harper Sr., Daisy Wertz and Sandra Wills were authorized as custodian substitutes. In addition, Barbara Peck, Barbara Mellott, Daisy Wertz, Debra Hixon, Rose Shank, Karen Smartt, Anna Thompson, Sandra Wills, Sharon Knable and Jacqueline Duley were approved to work as teacher-aide substitutes in 2010-11.
Nurse substitutes for next year tentatively include April Hiller, Wendy Fischer, Rebecca Dase and Cassie Scott, and secretary substitutes will be G. Jean Morton, Barbara Mellott, Karen Smartt, Sandra Wills, Anna Thompson, Sharon Knable and Jacqueline Duley.
Extracurricular coaches and advisors approved as recommended by the district athletic director were:
• Julie Dickerhoff, varsity volleyball coach
• Brian Strait, varsity soccer
• Ryan Ickes, varsity assistant soccer coach
• Leah Eslinger, junior high assistant soccer coach
• Debbie Hixon, cheerleading coach
• Mark Mellott, varsity girls basketball coach
• Melissa Mackel, junior high girls basketball coach
• Amy Fischer, junior high girls assistant basketball 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 assistant basketball coach
• Joe Hollenshead, track and field head coach
• Heather Hollenshead, track and field assistant coach
• Andrew Pepple, varsity baseball coach
• Dustin Fischer, varsity assistant baseball coach
• Dave Gordon, junior high baseball coach
• Charles Conley, junior high assistant baseball coach
• Stephanie Mills, varsity assistant softball coach
• Melissa Mackel, junior high softball coach
• Melissa Barton, junior high assistant softball coach
• Craig Elbin, varsity volunteer softball coach
• Kent Hendershot, athletic director
• 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.
On a 7-0-1 roll-call vote, Terry Bard was hired as an assistant girls varsity basketball coach for 2010-11. Bard’s brother and current board member Dwight Bard abstained during the rollcall vote.
Heather Kauffman, Mike Shade and Connie Mellott were approved to serve as game managers. The motion regarding their employment passed on a 6-2 rollcall vote with Allen Morton and Timothy Mellott dissenting.
Building and grounds
The cheerleaders were granted permission to use the high school gymnasium on July 22-24 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily to conduct a cheerleading camp.
Stephanie Iker and Debbie Hixon are scheduled to use the gymnasium in the high school or elementary facility on June 8, 10 and 11 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Participants at the cheer squad event, which is conducted as part of a senior project, are students enrolled in grades two through six.
The Warfordsburg Presbyterian Church will be utilizing the parking lot at the old elementary school on June 5 for a Pickin’ and Praisin’ concert and barbeque between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
The board held a 20- minute executive session to discuss student issues as well as an additional fiveminute session to review litigation.
High school Principal Meredith Hendershot reported the junior-senior prom was held on May 8 in Berkeley Springs. Prom court participants were Alexandra Barnhart, Lora Douglas, Carissa Gordon, Harry Strock, Dylan Whiteside, Derek Younker, Masey Brown, Bailey Elbin, Taylor Leasure, TJ Gibbs, Nathan Keebaugh and Ryan Harper. Whiteside and Barnhart were crowned king and queen.
Hendershot went on to report juniors TJ Gibbs, Nathan Keebaugh, Dakota Unger, Morgan Mills, Bailey Elbin and Masey Brown participated in the William Penn Leadership Conference hosted by Sen. John H. Eichelberger Jr.
Elementary Principal and assistant to the superintendent Kendra Trail shared facts regarding study halls at the junior-senior high school. She noted 85 percent of the students have either zero or only one study hall per day, and study halls are deemed as instructional time by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
According to Trail,teacher perceptions of study halls revealed study halls give athletes the opportunity to study and catch up on their assigned work. The time is also utilized for Accelerated Reader, Study Island and as time to research in the library.