UDA preliminary budget shows $950,000 deficit


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LOYALTON - A worse-case scenario for Upper Dauphin Area School District's 2014-15 budget shows a $950,000 shortfall in revenue, according to Business Manager Mary Bateman.

The UDA school board took an early look at the budget on Jan. 14 and also approved a settlement agreement between the district and another person, the details of which were kept confidential.

Bateman reviewed very preliminary figures with the school board. Under the anticipatory $18.1 million spending plan she presented, there were no tax increases included and no pay hikes across the board. Much of the increase in expenses for 2014-15 is due to the $621,809 increase in employee benefits from last year, according to Bateman. The board took no vote on the preliminary budget itself.

The board did, however, approve, by a 7-0 vote, the accelerated budget opt out resolution under Act 1. That means the board has agreed it will not increase property tax rates by more than the inflation index of 2.9%. The board could go with no tax increases at all, or put a tax hike in place that could go up to 2.9%, but no higher.

Bateman said that a 2.9% increase would be equal to about $48.59 for every $100,000 of assessed valuation for property owners.

Voting in favor of the opt out resolution was board vice-president Gerald Wiest, Mills Eure, Jack Laudenslager, Roni Mace, Angela Mattern, Rev. Nathan Minnich and Kathryn Talhelm. Board president David Barder and director Tony Matter were absent.

Settlement

The board voted 6-1 to approve an undisclosed settlement agreement, with Eure voting against the measure. Superintendent Evan P. Williams could not elaborate on the details of the settlement, citing FERPA - the Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act. FERPA is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records.

"That is all confidential," said Williams, in response to an email from The Citizen-Standard seeking settlement details the day following the meeting.

The board agenda lists the item as the approval of "the settlement agreement and release between 13-14-06 and the Upper Dauphin Area School District". It's unknown if the agreement is between the district and a student's family, an employee, or another person.

FBLA

Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Advisors Shelli Casner and Todd Rupp alerted the board to the success of the district's students at regional competition. They reported 27 out of 34 members placed in the top five at regionals; and 15 out of 27 advanced to the state FBLA competition. UDA's state qualifiers include: Niles Kauffman, Megan Mench, Ian Stence, Laura Felix, Shannon Motter, Brandon Platzer, Brianna Rupp, Hannah Powers, Natalie Travitz, Aspen Bloom, Alexis Bowser, Addy Wolfe, Fiona Daghir, Laura Sweger and Ashley Hobbs.

Several of the FBLA members attended the board meeting. Director Wiest offered them congratulations for their "fine achievements" on behalf of the board.

Heating system

David Talhelm and George Skelton presented the board with a review of the district's heating systems within the elementary, middle school, administration building and at the high school. They demonstrated how the district can use technology to monitor a variety of operating systems, including temperatures in each room, discharge and circulating temperatures and speed of pumps, etc.

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