UDA budget appears optimistic

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LOYALTON - A $16.7 million proposed preliminary budget outlined to the school board calls for no anticipated tax hikes for Upper Dauphin Area (UDA) School District residents for 2012-13.

The UDA board also hired a new business manager on December 6, and welcomed another recently hired administrator and a new board director.

Outgoing Business Manager Richard Meily II reviewed the proposed preliminary budget, which includes projected revenues of $16,731,853 and expenditures of $16.7 million. The budget, as presented is balanced, Meily said, and reflects a $300,000 decrease from last year's spending plan.

Meily said UDA has been able to increase its fund balance in several ways. UDA has seen transportation savings in excess of $500,000 from last year; has received delinquent taxes collected; garnered $165,000 for debt settlement; and saved $200,000 in cyber school tuition, due to a decrease in cyber school enrollment from 40 students to about 17, he said.

Superintendent Paul Caputo credited the staff, administration, support personnel and the shared sacrifice of taxpayers for helping to stabilize the financial status of the district, calling the proposed budget of 2012-13 "much more optimistic". Daniel Frake was named the new business manager for the Upper Dauphin Area School District at an annual salary of $63,000. He was also approved as the board secretary at a stipend of $3,000 per year. Since 2008, Frake has served as a business, computer, and information technology teacher for Upper Dauphin Area High School. He has also served as the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) club advisor and as a head track and field coach. Frake holds Bachelor degrees in both Accounting and Economics from Bucknell University and a Master's degree in Business Education and Office Information Systems from Bloomsburg University. Frake and his wife, Hannah, live in Halifax and are expecting their first child in March of 2012. He and his wife volunteer for the American Cancer Society's Upper Dauphin Relay for Life.

Director Jack Laudenslager voted no, and Director Anthony Matter abstained from the vote for Frake. After the meeting, Laudenslager said he initially thought there was a candidate with more experience and the board had been tied in its support for the two candidates, but following the final vote, Laudenslager said he completely supports Frake in the post.

Brandy Wiest, the new Supervisor for Special Education and Student Services who was hired at the last board meeting, also attended the December 6 meeting. Wiest has worked for the Harrisburg School District as a Special Education Facilitator since 2007. In 2010 and 2011 she was the coordinator of that district's ESY (Extended School Year) program held during summer months. From 2000 until 2007, she worked as a Learning Support/Emotional Support teacher for the Harrisburg School District. She possesses a degree in Special Education (N-12) and a K-12 Principal's Certificate. Wiest lives in Lykens with her husband, Kerry, and three children, Mason, Aiden and Hailey. She has a Bachelor's degree in Sociology from Penn State University, a Master's degree in Education from Eastern University, and an Administration degree from Drexel University.

Anthony Matter, the newest school board member, lives in Elizabethville with his wife, Ashley, and three children, Kade, Ava, Mariya. He is the Marketing Communications Manager at Carlisle Syntec. He studied Public Policy at Penn State, and is a 1999 graduate of Upper Dauphin Area High School.

The board entered into a 40-minute executive session to discuss personnel issues, before re-convening.

In other business, the board approved:

- program volunteers for the 2011-12 school year as outlined in Policy 916, Kelly Eure, Michelle Fulkroad, Renee Shade and Angela Klinger. Director Mills Eure abstained.

- closing of the Capital Reserve Account at Mid Penn Bank

- opening of the Capital Reserve Account at Gratz National Bank

- opening a fund 72 Account at Gratz National Bank

- addition of an Activity Account for the Spanish Club

- the UDA business office to pay any of the following categories without prior board approval and any other invoices where the district can realize discounts or avoid finance charges: phone, water, sewage, internet, electricity, oil, propane, Kratzer's (hardware), Klinger Lumber, and sports officials. Directors Gerald Wiest and Roni Mace voted no.

- assignment of contractural rights and general release between Upper Dauphin Area School District and Harris Transportation.

- the transportation contract with Knorr Transportation. Company representative Dennis Knorr was present at the meeting.

- the contract with Rohrer Transportation.

- Tyler Snyder as a volunteer junior high wrestling coach for the 2011-12 winter season.

- transfer of Todd Rupp, Computer Technology Middle School Teacher, to Business Education Computer Technology High School Teacher. Director Jack Laudenslager voted no.

- the request to retire from Ann Bonwit, art teacher, effective the end of the 2011-12 school year.

- the request from Meghan Daniels to use four unpaid days, January 10, 2012 through January 13, 2012.

- Chad Deitrich as a volunteer girls' basketball coach for the 2011-12 winter season.

- rescinding the motion from November 8, 2011 approving Pamela Zilinski as a before-and-after-school math and reading tutor at $20 per hour; and approve Zilinski as a before-and-after-school math and reading tutor at her previously approved hourly rate of $9.03 per hour until November 30, 2011; and approve Zilinksi for that position at $20 per hour, effective December 1, 2011. (Her emergency certification is now on file.)

- a field trip request from Ashley Hausman (Ski Club) to take 19 students to Mt. Snow, Vermont, for a ski trip from January 19, 2012 through January 22, 2012.

- the 2011-12 coaches handbook

- a field trip request from Roy Maurer (of FFA) to take students to the 2012 Agricultural Cooperation Establishes Success (ACES) at the Harrisburg/Hershey Sheraton Hotel, Harrisburg, from February 11 through February 12, 2012.

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