Souther Tioga superintendent’s contract renewed

BLOSSBURG – Southern Tioga School District Superintendent Keith Yarger’s contract was renewed for three years with an $8,400 raise from $106,606 to $115,000 Tuesday night. The favorable 7 to 2 vote came following an executive session to discuss health care concessions.

Even though the contract was not listed on the agenda, it was brought up under “additional agenda items for use as needed,” by board member Kyle Lefheloc, who said he “wanted to vote on it tonight.”

Following the vote, with Sally Knipe and Barb Shull voting against and Frank Kollar, Lefheloc, Stephen Hall, Ivan Erway, John Martin, Sue Jaquish and Dan Berguson voting yes, it was time for the public to have their say.

John Ritter, of Sullivan Township, told the board he thought “what just happened is unconscionable, the board decided to make an important decision with no public input.”

Steve Guilliaume, of Liberty Township, said he “hopes the board is proud of yourselves. This contract was not read today. It was not brought up in the administrative report and you approved it. I completely disagree. You’ve just rewarded someone when we do not have a plan,” he added.

Robin Stetter, of Liberty Township, noted the loss of 117 students at the beginning of the school year. “That is huge, in the last month we have lost another 23 students. We continue to lose students and this board doesn’t have sirens going off. Those numbers should be considered when considering a leader’s contract. You don’t have the data, and from my perspective you are sending a message to parents who are fence sitters that you don’t care,” she said.

Sharon Miller, of Cogan House Township, reminded Yarger of how much it is costing the district to pay for the cyberschool education of those students who have left the district, which last week was estimated at about a half million dollars by Kollar.

History teacher Todd Smith said he didn’t think “anyone in this district should be getting a pay raise until we are on a path to solvency.”

“There are going to be a lot of teachers laid off this year. The question is how many and when, not if. We have to reduce payroll or we will go bankrupt, or the state will appoint a comptroller and he will put us in the black,” he said.