BLOSSBURG - Even with the recently passed Senate version of the state budget proposing to add about $50 million for the previously zeroed-out Accountability Block Grant, what has been a tight budget for Southern Tioga School District remains so. There is no "pot of gold" at the end of the rainbow, according to district Business Manager Laura Perry.
"As of June 30, 2013, there may be a funding formula in place. One thing we can do is reach out to our legislators and make them aware of what happens at the local level," Perry said.
The board, minus Frank Kollar who was absent, approved the $27.2 million preliminary final budget during its meeting Monday, which still contains a near $900,000 deficit.
Included in the actions taken on the budget was an increase in real estate taxes to the Act 1 Index of 2.4 percent plus $297,418 in exceptions approved by the state Department of Education, a 5 percent reduction in department/building budgets across the board, resulting in savings of $25,694, termination of a special education contract resulting in a savings of $94,119, calculation of the reimbursement formula to bus contractors utilizing the 2011/12 State Cost Index plus 2 percent, resulting in a savings of $30,171, pending the state budget outcome and implementing a mandatory four-day work week for summer months to recognize utility savings.
In addition, the board approved the retirement of four long-term employees including Dr. Al Lindner, North Penn High School principal, who agreed to serve as principal without compensation for three years; and Francis Jaquish, Liberty High School principal; Dr. Barb Kelly, supervisor of special education; and Karen Sick, food services director, also are retiring.
The retirements have not yet been figured into the budget, Perry said.
The board also approved increasing lunch prices throughout the district next year by 10 cents, to $2.10 for elementary lunch; to $2.35 secondary lunch and to $3.60 for adult lunch.
The board also heard from Sullivan Township resident John Ritter who handed out his plan to reduce costs by $1.8 million by closing both North Penn and Liberty High Schools and consolidating all students to Mansfield, which would provide funding for programming and sports and easy access to programs at Mansfield University.
Superintendent Keith Yarger announced that Crabtree and Rohrbagh, of Mechanicsburg, now has a link on the district's website for residents to ask questions about the ongoing facility study.
The next board work session will be June 4 at the North Penn High School auditorium and the next regular meeting will be June 11 at the Mansfield High School auditorium or gymnasium.