Tax hike for ’Sock residents

The Loyalsock Township School Board on Wednesday voted 8-0 to increase the tax rate 0.33 mills to 13.58 mills and approved a budget with revenues and expenditures of $20,338,486.

A homeowner with a property valued at $100,000 will see a $33 increase in real estate taxes.

The tax hike, coupled with the revenue from leasing the current district service center to Chief Oil and Gas LLC still will result in a $62,435 deficit. However, it will be removed with funds from the assigned fund balance, according to Business Manager Daniel Egly.

“That money from the unassigned fund balance will result in a balanced budget,” Egly said.

Board member William Carlucci addressed the raise in taxes by pointing out the number of years the district has not raised the tax rate.

“From 2005 to 2012, there were no tax increases,” Carlucci said. “The consumer price index will have increased almost four times compared to the tax increase in the district.”

Voting in favor of the budget were Carlucci, Sheila Yates, Paul Young, Stephen Dewar, Edward Ade, Maureen Carey, John Raymond and David Hornberger. Absent from the meeting was Christina Kiessling.

Suzanne Foresman was hired as an elementary school principal, effective July 1, at a salary of $88,000 for the 2014-15 school year.

Margarette Brooks, Vanessa Kinley, Ashley Long and Robert McKenzie were hired as temporary professional staff employees assigned as elementary teachers. All four will receive a salary of $42,125 each.

The board heard a presentation from Todd Lorson, a technology educator in the school district. Lorson shared how his classroom has been using a 3-D printer and how he looks forward to future student projects with the printer.

Carolyn Dubois, design director of landscape architecture at L.R. Kimball, of State College, presented the board with the results from the track feasibility study that was conducted.

“We did a bare-bones approach … just enough to get you the running track facility,” Dubois said.

She said the firm initially surveyed three possible locations and determined that the athletic field at Schick Elementary was the most suitable to accommodate a 400-meter track.

“We didn’t account for seating or lighting, just the running track and field locations,” Dubois said.

An equal quadrant track, or a track where each straight stretch is 100 meters and each turn is 100 meters, would require two retaining walls at the north and south end of the track, according to Dubois.

“The two retaining walls would be the biggest expense for the project,” she said. “Each wall would run upwards of $400,000.”

A PIAA-approved non-equal quadrant track, or a track that is shorter in the straight stretches and wider in the turns, would fit without the need for a retaining wall.

The cost for the track facility without the retaining walls figures to be around $860,000, Dubois said.

Carlucci motioned for the feasibility study to be analyzed in a public meeting by the facilities committee. The board approved unanimously with board President Yates stating, “this is going to take some serious discussion.”

A motion was approved for the facilities committee to meet at 6 p.m. July 1 at the new district service center, 1605 Four Mile Drive, to discuss the study.

“The public is welcome to attend,” Yates said. “We want to hear what people think about this.”

Under board reports, Superintendent Gerald McLaughlin recognized Sherry Griggs, supervisor of curriculum and instruction, for the completion of her doctorate.

The board of directors meet again on July 23.