2010-06-17 / Front Page

Central Fulton Adopts 1.0339 Millage Increase

Cuts costs to offset $1.5 million deficit
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

The Central Fulton School Board has announced a series of cost-cutting measures aimed at reducing expenditures in conjunction with giving a nod of approval to the adoption of the 2010-11 general operating budget.

In reading a prepared statement, board member and retired school teacher Gary Shives said last Tuesday evening the board was facing a $1.5 million deficit in making budget preparations for the upcoming school year. The deficit was attributed in part to increases in healthcare premiums, employer pension contributions and a flat lining education subsidy from the commonwealth.

As a follow-up to his public statement, Shives and fellow board member Eric Hollinshead proposed a motion to reduce expenses by $724,597 through a 13-step proposal. The motion was unanimously accepted on a 9-0 roll-call vote, with the the first and foremost item on the list being the elimination of cafeteria employees retroactive to June 2.

By allowing Metz & Associates Ltd. to assume control of all aspects of the cafeteria the district is slated to save an estimated $227,000. The employees released will be given the opportunity to apply for the open cafeteria worker positions through Metz.

The board, however, did note it would honor its agreement to pay the 13 employees for any unused sick days and to provide the retirement incentive to any of those employees who have logged over 20 years and wish to retire. The lone employee to take advantage of the retirement incentive was food service prep cook Nancy Buterbaugh.

The board also chose to reduce the employment status of two full-time aides to part-time without benefits. The change was made effective immediately and will likely save the district an additional $44,000.

In addition, in order to net an estimated savings of $137,938, beginning July 1 all nonunion employees at the district will have an adjusted health insurance benefit package and be required to pay 10 percent toward their premium. Furthermore, one professional position will not be filled through attrition, and support staff, middle management, administrators and the athletic director and trainer will not receive raises next year. The possible reduction in expenses from the two actions has been estimated at just short of $95,000.

The board also announced the elementary musical for 2010-11 has been cancelled and will become an every-other-year event. The decision regarding the musical coupled with the following measures will save approximately $220,801:

• No regularly scheduled overtime will be paid.

• Alternative education placement costs will be reduced.

• The purchase of new reading textbooks for elementary students will be reduced.

• An elementary vacancy will not be filled until 2011- 12.

• Reduce the supplies budget by 3 percent.

• Employ a part-time custodian to fill a full-time position open due to retirement.

• Eliminate one-half time family and consumer science position, and employ only the full-time teacher, who will teach childcare and guidance three periods daily.

Upon reviewing and approving the proposal, Shives added the revenue generated by the cuts should total $724,597. “We’ve been looking at this for a long time,” Shives concluded.

To help defray costs further, the board also opted to raise the millage rate for real estate taxes by 1.0339. The increase is expected to generate an additional $162,433.55 for the district.

The average would likely see an increase in taxes of $54.69 bringing the millage to 26.8814. Any additional funding needed by the district to balance the budget in the amount of $14,320,913 will be taken from the unreserved, undesignated fund balance.

Taxes set to remain at the current rate include Act 511 and 679 per-capita taxes at $5. The occupation tax will stay at $10, and real estate transfer and wage taxes will remain steady at 1 percent.

McConnellsburg resident Loren Leese appeared before the board to give comment in connection with the annual adoption of the general operating budget. Leese reminded those on hand that not only is he a district taxpayer, but he works for a living and also operates his own small business.

Having read and heard the news and knowing the district was proposing a millage increase, Leese stated everyone is in for a world of hurt. “The government is out of money. I feel very confident that they cannot continue to go to the well,” said Leese, who went on to discuss making budgetary cuts, benefits, sharing of health insurance costs and various retirement benefits.

Also under the category of finance, Community State Bank of Orbisonia was approved to serve as the district’s treasurer for the 2010- 11 and 2011-12 school years.

Several individuals were placed on the 2010-11 extracurricular salary scale, including drama set designer Brian Strait, $1,545; Odyssey of the Mind advisor Linda Henry, $1,820; drama director Linda Henry, $2,520; drama assistant Erica Sexton, $1,195; yearbook advisor Kimberly Richards, $2,995; boys soccer head coach Anne Marie Hollinshead, $2,995; and boys first assistant soccer coach Stephen Carroll, $1,895. Board member Eric Hollinshead abstained during the roll-call vote regarding Anne Marie Hollinshead’s employment, while fellow member Ryan Richards refrained from voting on the motion regarding his wife, Kimberly Richards, serving as yearbook advisor.

The salary of volleyball third assistant coach Ellen Wagner was adjusted from $1,745 to $1,795 in accordance with the extracurricular salary scale.

Paperwork related to Plancon K will be submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Education for 2010 bond refinancing.

Personnel

A job description was approved as presented to the board by the Personnel Committee for the title of elementary assistant principal. The individual will be responsible for a variety of duties such as overseeing school discipline; assisting the principal in coordinating building activities; help compile building inventories and budgets; assist in staff evaluations; help select and induct new staff; and work with community and government agencies on family concerns, drug abuse and truancy.

Elementary Dean of Students Billie Jo Beatty was, in turn, transferred into the new position effective July 1. Beatty will receive a 195- day contract for the administrative position.

The Personnel Committee was granted the authority by the board to fill vacant positions that may become open prior to the board’s next meeting on August 10.

A job description was approved for the position of food service clerk/recorder that was awarded to Annette Gress retroactive to June 2. Gress was previously employed as a food service worker and will continue to receive her current hourly rate.

Revisions were also made to the job descriptions of middle/high school principal and curriculum coordinator; elementary principal; middle/ high school dean of students; and director of special education.

Brent Pistner was transferred from his current position of elementary teacher to middle/high school dean of students for 2010-11.

The board made a revision to the supportive staff handbook that defines parttime employees as those individuals scheduled 30 hours or less weekly. Parttime employees are eligible to receive three paid timeoff (PTO) days per fiscal year, with a PTO described as an employee’s regularly scheduled day and not exceeding six hours per day.

McConnellsburg resident Nancy Harris was appointed to the position of long-term elementary substitute teacher. Harris is scheduled to receive a salary of $40,762, which corresponds with step one on the salary scale with a bachelor’s degree.

Meghann Campbell of Orlando, Fla., and Cherina Strait from Harrisonville were both hired as elementary teachers in following the recommendation of the Personnel Committee. Campbell is slated to receive $57,167 (step 11 with a bachelor’s degree), while Strait was placed on step one with a bachelor’s degree ($40,762).

Pamela J. Cutshaw, Mc- Connellsburg, was added to the aide substitute list, and fellow McConnellsburg resident John F. Griest was placed on the professional substitute list. Their clearances have been submitted and are in order.

Special education employee Keturah Gurish will be undergoing a leave of absence through the Family Medical Leave Act.

Curriculum

Members of the administration received authorization to attend Tuscarora Intermediate Unit #11 Retreat scheduled for July 13 at Lake Raystown Resort Lodge and Conference Center. There is no cost to the district to attend.

Building and grounds

A bid was awarded to Mervac Plumbing to replace a water heater at a low rate of $55,200.

Transportation

The daily rate for the Everett/Bedford route #017 belonging to James Wendy Laughlin was increased from $149.91 to $191.88. An additional student was added to the route thereby causing the increase.

The extracurricular contract was renewed with Sandy Deck Transportation for the upcoming 2010-11 school year.

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