South Side school board updated on districts budget

The South Williamsport School Board members heard updates on the school budget and the district’s “Mountie Pride” program at their Monday night meeting.

Business manager Denny Artley told the board the district is currently spending 27.6 percent of its funds – out of a budget of nearly $17 million – on “support” costs, which include guidance counseling,administration and maintenance. “For every two dollars that we spend on instruction, we spend about one dollar to support it,” Artley said.

He also told the board that, while people often talk as if athletics and music are costly programs, the district is spending 2.9 percent of its funds on extracurriculars.

The district is also spending 11.2 percent of its budget on servicing its debts.

“That’s one of the lower numbers you’ll find in the state,” Artley said. “It’s usually around 20 percent.”

High school principal Jesse Smith told the board that the Mountie Pride program, an incentive program for good behavior, is showing results even with high school students.

“You do something nice, you get something nice in return,” Smith said. “The kids really respond to it – anyone, wherever they are in behavior and achievement, they can achieve in this program.”

The board also approved paying coaches and ticket takers for fall sports. Before the salaries were voted on, member Don Lowe brought up the concern that people are often getting into sporting events before the ticket takers get to the venue and suggested keeping the gates closed before games.

“They’re supposed to get here at least an hour early,” Smith said. “It all depends on the availability of the ticket takers. People are not exactly beating down the door to do that job.”