2013-05-16 / Front Page

Central Fulton Proposes .328 Mill Tax Increase

Final budget to be adopted June 11
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz

NEWS EDITOR

The Central Fulton School Board gave its general operating budget for the upcoming 2013-14 school year a tentative nod of approval with final adoption slated for next month.

Highlighting the budget that is expected to total $13,491,103, is an increase in real estate taxes by the amount of .328 mill. The increase in taxes was approved on a 5-3 roll call vote, with board members Ryan Richards, Christopher Hann and Eric Hollinshead dissenting. Fellow board member Roger Strait was unable to attend the board’s May 7 monthly meeting.

In announcing the proposed increase that could see taxes rise to 28.85 mills, board member Gary Shives indicated the board and administration were initially faced with a shortfall in excess of $300,000. Through “diligence,” Shives pointed out that amount has dropped to around $40,000. Sixty percent of the budget involves areas outside of the board’s control such as health insurance and salaries, he said.

The average household will see an increase of $18, it was noted.

Superintendent Dixie Paruch told the “News” that when officials first began looking at the budget and realized what they were facing, talks were initiated with building administrators to discuss purchases such as maintenance and classroom materials and supplies.

“We are on a textbook rotation and purchased kindergarten and first-grade reading series last year and are planning on adding one or two grade levels each year until we have the entire series purchased,” Paruch stated. “We also took the budget and went line by line and cut wherever we felt we could without impacting the educational programming of our students.”

“I also believe our teachers have been very cautious on what they are requesting, knowing we need to keep costs down. It truly was a team effort on the part of the board, administration and teaching staff. We tried really hard not to cut programs and were able to save all programs by making reductions in other areas.”

Final adoption for the 2013-14 budget is currently scheduled for June 11.

In other financial matters addressed last Tuesday, the general operating budget for the Fulton County Area Vocational-Technical School was approved in the amount of $843,846. The district’s share of the budget has been calculated at $224,960.

The 2013-14 extracurricular and cocurricular salary scale was approved as presented to the board. The scale does not contain any increases in pay.

Under personnel, the board agreed to amend a retirement letter previously submitted by district food service secretary Annette Lynch. Lynch’s retirement date was moved from September 1 to June 28.

Having completed their emergency certification through Tuscarora Intermediate Unit #11, Caleb Washabaugh of Mc- Connellsburg and Robertsdale resident Dustin Peffer were added to the district’s day-to-day substitute list.

Angela Marshall was elected to serve a four-year term as school board secretary beginning July 1, 2013, and concluding June 30, 2017.

Dr. Jack D. Steele, D.D.S., was retained to serve as school dentist for the upcoming school year. Examinations are performed on students in grades three and seven at a per student cost of $3. Meanwhile, Dr. Steven Cohen will be serving as school physician at a rate of $8 per student physical.

Roberta Binder Heath was hired as school solicitor for 2013-14 at a rate of $115 per hour for general legal services and negotiations and $130 per hour for litigation.

Troy Harrison was authorized to serve as a volunteer track and field coach for the remainder of the spring sports season.

Area resident Mike Ott spoke briefly to the board during public comment on the future of the district’s basketball program. As a referee and proud alumni, Ott said he sees a lot of talent moving up through the elementary and junior high levels and would hate to see it wasted.

Later in the meeting the board approved Brent Seville as the newest girls varsity basketball coach. Seville’s salary was accordingly set at $2,645.

Amy Conner was granted permission to take gifted students and the Odyssey of the Mind team to the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh on May 23. The trip will be taken at no cost to the district.

Conner, along with Odyssey of the Mind teammates Andrew Smith, Bryan Guyer, Brandi Welsh, Sara Beth Winegardner, Larkin Shearer and Ashton Doyle, appeared before the board to share their most recent competition experiences. The group was awarded the Ranatra Fusca award for going above and beyond the judge’s creative expectations for the second consecutive year.

Smith told the board Odyssey of the Mind is a perfect opportunity for a gifted child to grow and learn new skills. Smith and Guyer both noted their participation in the group has been one of the highlights of their high school career.

Baccalaureate services have been scheduled for Tuesday, May 28, while graduation is set for Wednesday, May 29. Both events will begin at 7 p.m. in the middle/ high school auditorium.

Following adjournment, the board met behind closed doors for an executive session to discuss personnel matters.

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