2011-03-24 / Front Page

SF May Lose Kindergarten Funding

Board gets environmental update
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

The elimination of the state’s Accountablility Block Grant (ABG) program in the governor’s proposed budget announced last week may mean changes for Southern Fulton School District’s kindergarten.

Superintendent Kendra Trail told school board members at their monthly meeting last Tuesday that the proposed cut in ABD funding coupled with a projected loss in education funding could mean a loss of $647,561 to the district. Trail said that ABG money covers kindergarten teacher salaries as well as approximately

10 percent of benefits. According to the superintendent, ABG money has subsidized Southern Fulton’s kindergarten program for around seven years.

Following up on Trail’s comments, elementary Principal Theresa Corle told the board that Pre-K Counts funding is tentatively slated to remain at its current level. So far, 16 children have signed up to participate in Southern Fulton’s pre-K program.

Southern Fulton Elementary’s environmental education and technology teacher appeared before the school board last Tuesday and touched on a variety of topics ranging from an upcoming open house to pending grant applications.

Herb Brambley presented the board and administrators with a brochure detailing his overall curriculum at the elementary, which includes stream studies, macroinvertebrate pond studies, integrated pest management, local flora and fauna as well as keyboarding, PowerPoint, smartboards and utilizing the Internet.

To assist him in his teaching endeavors, Brambley has applied for a variety of grants during the 2010-11 school year. Funding applications outstanding are through the Pennsylvania Conservation Corps, Trout in the Classroom, Western Pennsylva- nia Conservancy and Discovery Education. Combining the last three grants, Brambley could potentially bring in $11,000 in funding to the district.

Touching on upcoming events, Brambley said an Environmental Open House and Festival of the Arts has been scheduled for Saturday, May 14, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the elementary facility. Demonstrations on site will include spinning, music, basket weaving, wood turning, fly tying and jewelry making. The special event will likely include a no-trace-leftbehind presentation by officials from REI, and the district’s walking trail will be open to interested hikers.

The teacher further noted the “back side” of the elementary property is better suited for advanced hikers due to its steep terrain. Brambley added some trails on the system are not necessarily for student usage but geared toward the general public and individuals training for running events.

In other matters heard by the board on March 15, Charles Frame of Boyer and Ritter CPA handed out a “draft” copy of the 2009-10 audit report. Frame pointed out the district received a “clean opinion” regarding its financial statements and moved on to the corrective action plan, which delved into three findings.

As in prior years, Frame noted the district does not have a sufficient number of personnel in the business office to better segregate duties. Furthermore, the district should be preparing its own financial statements instead of using the auditor, said Frame, who added these are both typical findings in small school districts.

Frame went on to review the expenditure of federal stabilization funding for roof repairs. Davis Bacon wages should have been applied to this case as the expense went over $2,000.

The board gave a nod of approval to the tentative 2011-12 school calendar. All three school districts attempted to align their calendars for next year to help alleviate teaching, scheduling and transportation issues at the Fulton County Area Vocational- Technical School. To date, only Southern Fulton and Forbes Road have agreed to be on board with the new calendar.

Rotz & Stonesifer will be serving as the district’s new local auditor for the upcoming school year at a cost of $18,500. Fees for services rendered in the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years come to $18,750 and $19,000, respectively.

The tax exoneration list for this year was unanimously accepted as presented to the board by district business manager Deb Schetrompf.

After approving the second reading of Policy 904.1, Complimentary Passes for Athletic Events on a 7-1 roll-call vote, the board agreed to revise the policy for next month’s meeting. Board member Mark Mosemann, who was the lone dissenter, suggested that the board “needs to trim” and be an example to others by refusing to accept free passes to sporting events.

Fellow board member Danny Crouse stated regardless of what the policy stated he would continue to pay for admission to events as he has done in the past.

The board regretfully accepted the resignation for the the purpose of retirement from Dean of Students Mike Shade and fourth-grade teacher Dorothy Brambley. Both resignations are effective at the conclusion of the 2010-11 school year.

The Southern Fulton soccer program will use the high school athletic fields and buildings to hold a soccer camp for varsity and junior high players between August 1 and 5.

Pending the submission of necessary paperwork, Christopher Divelbliss was authorized to serve as a substitute custodian for the remainder of the school year.

Job descriptions were revised and approved for the business manager and assistant business manager positions. Superintendent Trail stated the descriptions were streamlined to avoid duplications of duties.

Following adjournment, the board held an executive session to discuss negotiations and possible litigation.

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