Two openings at elementary school will not be filled
By Rob Wheary, Staff Writer • firstname.lastname@example.org
LOYALTON – Upper Dauphin Area passed its 2016-2017 spending plan with a proposed $350,000 deficit being covered by the school district’s fund balance and spending cuts.
On a 6-2 vote, the board approved the $18,822,034 spending plan at its June 9 meeting. This budget comes with a $354,000 deficit, which will be covered up by a $169,000 payment from the unassigned fund balance and $185,000 taken from the PSERS reserve account.
Business manager Mary Bateman said the deficit was brought down by making $180,000 in spending cuts for supplies and eliminating two teaching positions in the elementary school.
“There was an opening for a first-grade teacher and our reading specialist, so our literacy coach moved to the reading specialist position and we are not filling the first-grade position,” Bateman told the board. “No one is losing their job.”
The budget also comes with a .58 mills tax increase that the district can raise according to state law. This means an increase in property taxes of $58 for every $100,000 a property is valued at. Taking the average property value of a home in the Upper Dauphin School District, most taxpayers will see an increase of $40 in their bills.
For that reason, board member Mills Eure stated he would vote “no” for the budget.
“When you have people that are trying to decide whether to pay their water bill or the property taxes, that’s not a vote I can make to increase their payments,” Eure said.
Board member Jack Laudenslager questioned superintendent Evan Williams about the discussion to cut the Family and Consumer Sciences program, but Williams answered that they weren’t going to do it at this time.
“That would leave about 150 students without an elective,” Williams said. “As far as the first-grade teachers go, all we are doing is going from five to four first-grade teachers.”
The move will increase class size in first grade from 22 to 27 students.
The vote came 6-2 for the budget with members David Barder, Kathryn Talhelm, Angela Mattern, Steven Welker, Kirk Wenrich, and Roni Mace voting for the budget and Eure and Laudenslager voting no. The same vote approved the district’s tax resolution.
At a meeting on June 23, the board will approve the property tax discount for those that qualify for the homestead and farmstead exclusions.
In other business:
— The board approved a three-year contract with Knorr’s Transportation LLC and Rohrer Bus Service to provide transportation services to the district from July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2019. Knorr’s owner, Dennis Knorr, thanked the board for working with the firm and hopes to continue the great relationship the two sides have with each other.
— Dr. Angela Klinger of the Family Practice Center, Inc. was named school physician for the coming school year at a rate of $60 per hours and $4.50 per student for mandated physicals for students in kindergarten, sixth and 11th grade, and Dr. Rachel Nguyen as the school dentist at a rate of $60 per hour and $2.45 per student. An agreement was also reached for Pinnacle Health Sports Medicine to provide physician coverage for home varsity games.
— A vote to give all school support staff a 1.3 percent salary increase for the 2016-2017 school year was passed on a 6-1 vote with Barder, Mace, Mattern, Welker, Wenrich, and Eure voting yes, Laudenslager voting no and Talhelm abstaining. A motion to give a salary increase of four percent for administrators for the first four years of the agreement and 1.3 percent after year four with a satisfactory evaluation was tabled.
— Teachers Bridget Glunz-Wenner, Cory Shade, Michelle Fulkroad, Stephanie Cooper, and Elizabeth Kopp were approved to provide 30 hours of extended school year services during the summer, and Andrew Ditty was approved for a principal’s internship during the summer months.
— Adam Kravitz was named the middle school’s technology teacher on a provisional basis for 90 days at a salary of $47,356. Chad Everhart was named the head boys basketball coach for the 2016-2017 season at a salary of $3,091. A $500 stipend for the FBLA advisor this year was approved on a 7-0 vote with Jack Laudenslager abstaining.
— The board approved a $17,311 quote from Houck Services, Harrisburg, for flooring and for locker room lockers from CM Eichenlaub, of Pittsburgh, at a cost of $30,345. This year’s list of capital improvements to be completed throughout the district was approved. All total, the district will spend a total of $730,000 for such projects as repaving the parking lots, replacing the kitchen fridge in the middle/high school and other projects.