BLOSSBURG - Southern Tioga School District Business Manager Laura Perry asked the board Monday to consider limiting any tax increases for 2013-14 to the Act 1 index of 2.3 percent, and the board agreed to vote on a resolution to that end during next Tuesday's meeting.
"In the state of the district not knowing which school we will be closing, and not even voting on that until Dec. 3, I want to have a discussion with the board about not raising taxes above the index," Perry said.
She noted there won't be enough time to get everything together in time to file by the deadlines required.
"You won't have to file an early budget if you are not applying for exceptions," Perry said.
She also noted the exceptions were needed last year but, for at least one year, it shouldn't be necessary.
"The district has never raised taxes above the index except last year. I have a sense the board would not look to do that again," she said.
Board members Stephen Hall and Ivan Erway suggested getting the resolution on the agenda, and the remainder of the board seemed to be in agreement.
Board member Barb Shull said she didn't want to raise taxes above the index.
"This is the upper limit we would go to, and doing this would also help the budgeting process," Shull said.
Board member Frank Kollar asked when the board will begin organizing a committee to consider switching from an earned income tax-based system to a personal income tax-based system, to which Perry replied after the first of the year in order to get the question on the May 2013 ballot.
In other business, the board discussed Nutrition Inc.'s temporary food service contract.
"The state Department of Education has said as long as they are only administering the program and not preparing meals, it would be OK," Perry said.
She added that according to the state, any school district that wants to have a food service company do that has to put out a request for proposals.
"Their proposal is under review by our solicitor. Hopefully, we will have that answer for you Tuesday," she said.
The board also:
Heard a request for approval to this year's calendar to add two days, June 4 and 5, due to emergency closings. Dismissal time on June 5 would be 1 p.m., and any additional days needed would be put on after that, said Superintendent Keith Yarger.
Heard that board meeting dates for 2013 will continue to rotate between the three high schools, at least until one of them closes.
Heard from Sullivan Township resident John Ritter, who told the board he found it "disturbing" that it is "on the verge of spending $20 million on a construction project and, time after time, there has been misinformation given out to the public," referencing the incorrect adequate yearly progress (AYP) scores put out at October's board meeting. "That had to be corrected by a student. It is an embarrassment."
Heard from Johnny Berguson, of Blossburg, who asked the board to consider what is best for students when it makes its decisions. Berguson also praised North Penn High School for having the highest dual enrollment of both high schools and colleges of any of the high schools in the district, adding he thinks "NPHS is doing something really well, and take that into consideration in whatever decisions you make."
Heard from Roaring Branch resident Carolyn Moyer, who corrected the perception going around that the North Penn building project is paid for. "We haven't paid for the building project until the debt has been retired," she said.
Heard there will be no board work session in December. The final meetings for the year will be Nov. 13 and Dec. 3, both at Blossburg.