Board member asks for more budget talk

A Montoursville Area School Board member Tuesday night questioned why next year’s budget hasn’t been discussed at recent board meetings.

Ron Snell noted that most other districts by now at least have in place proposed spending plans.

“I’m concerned we aren’t taking this seriously enough,” he said. “Two years ago, we started budget talks early.”

School director Dave Shimmel asked Snell what the board should be doing with regard to the budget.

“We could be looking at line items right now,” Snell said.

Shimmel told Snell he took exception with him saying he didn’t take the budget seriously.

“Don’t speak for me,” he said.

Following the meeting, district resident Dale Ulmer said he, too, was concerned over the lack of budget discussions at meetings.

He said he’d like to see what a spending plan would look like with no tax increase.

The board is considering a tax hike of .46 mills to help balance next year’s budget. The tax increase would not exceed the Act 1 Index.

The budget is expected to be discussed at the board’s work session March 26.

In other matters, Stephanie Lancaster, of Williamsport, questioned why she was passed over for a full-time custodial position in the district.

She noted she has been a substitute custodian and has received good reviews for her work.

The board approved the school calendar for next year, but not before discussion about snow days for missed school.

The question was raised whether to move a snow day from the end to the middle of the school year.

Superintendent Christina Bason said snow days are an issue much discussed in the district.

A suggestion to schedule a snow day on Martin Luther King Day failed to find favor with board members.

“I don’t think it’s a day that should be touched,” Snell said.

Bason noted the district has received two grants totalling about $50,000 from the First Community Foundation.

The grants will fund STEM equipment for the middle school and software and computer equipment for a math program.

The board was reminded that the Montoursville Area School District Foundation will hold its fundraising event March 28 at Herman & Luther’s.

The next Montoursville Area School Board meeting will be held on March 26.