2013-05-30 / Front Page

Southern Fulton Looks At Millage Increase

Final budget adoption set for next month
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz

NEWS EDITOR

Southern Fulton School Board visited the topic of the district’s annual operating budget on two occasions last Tuesday night, discussing real estate taxes as well as possible additional cuts to staffing.

On a roll-call vote by board members Patrick Bard and Mark Mosemann, the board proposed a tentative budget for the 2013-14 school year in the amount of $11,945,461. The motion failed to pass on a 4-3 roll-call vote as did a follow-up motion to increase real estate taxes to a new level of 23.9220 mills.

Voting against the tentative budget and the establishment of a higher tax rate were board members Danny Crouse, Timothy Mellott and Timothy Hull. Fellow board members David Smith and Sam Souders were unable to attend the May 21 monthly meeting.

The board returned to the matter later in the evening having additional discussion before offering up the exact same two motions.

Both motions passed on a 6- 1 roll-call vote, with Crouse being the lone dissenting vote.

In addition to raising taxes by .5607 mills, the board also set Section 679 and Act 511 per-capita taxes at $5 each. Earned income and real estate transfer taxes will remain at 1 percent, while penalties will be at the maximum level of 10.

According to Superintendent Hervey Hann, the district is projecting increases in several major areas of the budget next year, including salaries, benefits and of course, healthcare and retirement contributions.

While the budget talks took up about 40 minutes of the board meeting, district finances were also on the mind of local resident and transportation contractor Dave Smith. Smith used the public comment portion of the meeting to share his vehement opposition to any size millage increase. Smith cited several reasons for keeping taxes stable such as $300,000 in budgetary reserves for 2013-14, approximately $82,000 of district money being held in the vo-tech’s deferred revenue and $1.5 million in capital reserves for elementary renovations.

The budget will remain on public display until final approval at the board’s June meeting.

Another financial issue addressed by the board was approval of the 2013-14 general operating budget for the Fulton County Area Vocational-Technical School in the amount of $843,846.

A request for proposal (RFP) was accepted as submitted to the board by Metz Inc. The company will continue providing food services at a projected loss of $132,658.17.

Personnel

It was with regret that the board accepted a letter of resignation submitted by high school English teacher Nicole Brown. Brown’s resignation is effective August 18, and the vacancy for the 2013-14 school year will be advertised as directed by the board.

Karen Oliver was granted permission to serve in the capacity of long-term substitute for Amanda Keiper, high school education teacher. Oliver will serve as a substitute for the remainder of the existing school year retroactive to May 6.

Dorothy Rohm was hired as a substitute custodian for the upcoming 2013-14 school year.

Brian Mottern was hired as the junior high girls basketball coach as per the professional staff contract and on the recommendation of the district’s athletic director. Mottern’s employment for the 2013-14 school year is pending the completion of necessary paperwork.

Anita Munson was appointed to a four-year term as board secretary in accordance with school code. Her newest term is slated to begin July 1 and run through June 30, 2017.

Dr. Joseph Wolfe was retained as the district’s school dentist at a rate of 80 cents per student exam for the 2013-14 school year,

Robin Binder Health was approved 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 services. The rates remain at the same level as those previously established for the existing school year.

In addition, Andrews and Beard was appointed to serve as special counsel next year at an hourly rate of $130 for general legal services and $160 per hour for special education, negotiations, labor and employment and litigation.

F&M Bank received a nod of approval to serve as district treasurer and depository of funds

Curriculum

A list of 71 seniors eligible for graduation in 2013 was approved pending all graduation requirements are met.

Seventh- and eighth-grade students were slated to travel to Hershey Park on May 28 as part of the STARS reward program.

Contracts/agreements

A motion to amend a professional service agreement with Crabtree Rohrbaugh & Associates was unanimously approved as presented to the board. Superintendent Hann told the “News” the amendment was regarding the addition of minor renovations in the high school cafeteria that had previously been discussed during a PlanCon presentation.

A contract with Tuscarora Intermediate Unit (TIU) #11 was penned for IMS services for next school year at a cost of $3.85 per student.

A bid submitted by Precision Sports Surfaces in the amount of $34,307 was approved as submitted for the resurfacing of the track. In a follow-up motion, the board unanimously rejected all additional bids regarding resurfacing the remaining areas of the track.

Building and grounds

A request from the girls basketball team was approved for permission to use the elementary gymnasium on June 6, 11, 13, 18, 25, 27 as well as July 9 for the purpose of basketball recreation.

In the event of inclement weather, the varsity softball team will be using the elementary gymnasium for a softball camp for girls enrolled in grades three through eight. The camp is slated to run from June 5-7 from 9 a.m. to noon.

Meanwhile, the cheerleading squad is slated to use the elementary gymnasium for a cheer camp June 8 through June 10 from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Early intervention speech services will be offered to students through TIU on July 11 and 18 and August 8 and 15. The program will be held in an elementary classroom.

Dee Ann Spade is organizing a majorette camp for June 22 through June 25 to be held in the elementary gymnasium.

Transportation

A bid sheet was approved for use in filling the vacant extracurricular transportation contract.

Public comment

According to the board’s unofficial meeting minutes, local resident Daniel Peck addressed the board regarding various cafeteria issues. The discussion reportedly focused on several areas, including the installation of cameras in the elementary cafeteria as well as future proposals and advertising for food service companies. Fellow member of the public David Fagley suggested the development of education programs for the student body.

After addressing the agenda, the board held an 35-minute executive session to discuss personnel and possible litigation with regard to a student. No action was taken.

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