LIBERTY - Southern Tioga School Board members voted Tuesday to table any action on board member Sara Knipe's motion to open the board's policy and review making a two-thirds super majority vote of 6-3 necessary to close any school or program pending review by legal counsel.
Before the vote, Knipe pointed out that this was her initial request and that somehow it had been changed after she presented it to board President Ivan Erway to mean a vote on "building projects and contracts" and that is how it was presented at last Monday's work session.
Board member Frank Kollar said the board should remain united and not change the way it always has voted with a simple majority in order to assure the public that the board was "together."
Knipe responded the public would be assured that the board was voting as one if a super majority vote was required.
Knipe revised her motion from a two-thirds majority of whatever board members are present to a "super majority," which some board members objected to.
Board member Stephen Hall said a super majority requirement would mean delays in voting if fewer members were in attendance.
Kollar also objected on the grounds that a super majority requirement would keep the board from doing its "fiduciary" duty.
Knipe was the only "no" vote on the motion to table the action.
During the citizen comment portion of the meeting, several people, including two of the three Cogan House Township supervisors addressed the board, expressing their disappointment with the board on their lack of responsibility in handling the taxpayer's money.
Howard Fry, supervisor chairman, threatened legal action if the board continues with its proposed North Penn schools building project and closure of Liberty High School.
Fry derided the board for not "putting back" money it knew it was going to have to pay for escalating pension liabilities, to the tune of $2.7 million by 2016, he noted.
"Poor past planning has brought the district to its current state of crisis. The residents expect you to be responsible with the revenue stream we provide," he said.
Heidi Jones, an attorney from Blossburg, asked the public to respect the board's "cooling off" period between now and December when it votes on which school to close, and to lower the emotional atmosphere to give the board a chance to think clearly about what it has to do.
"Now it's time to stand back and let the board make its decision. We can't know what the future holds but we can trust this board has done its job thoroughly and responsibly," she said. She also asked the board to close the comment period on the pending closure.
The board also heard from Superintendent Keith Yarger, who presented the 2011-12 Average Yearly Progress report for the district and each school. The district is "on warning" for not reaching the state's graduation rate of 85 percent. The district's graduation rate is just more than 79 percent.
Yarger's presentation, along with the public's questions and administration's answers about the school closure, building project and plans for future educational structuring are on the board's website www.southerntioga.org.
The board will meet again for a work session Nov. 5 at the North Penn High School library.