Jersey Shore School Board approves new high school principal

JERSEY SHORE – The Jersey Shore Area School Board unanimously voted to approve Steven Keen as the high school principal and the district’s director of Career and Technical Education effective July 1 during its meeting on Monday.

Keen will have an annual salary of $112,667, with $104,967 for the principal position and $7,700 for the director of CTE.

He already was employed at the district as the assistant senior high school principal.

He will be replacing Reed B. Mellinger, who retired this year after serving the district for 25 years.

In other business, Ben Enders, business manager, gave an updated presentation on the budget which included the most recent real estate tax figures.

As the board continues its ongoing discussion of how to decrease its district wide deficit, the budget numbers are not final until the board votes on a final budget at its June 25 meeting.

“The budgeted revenue right now is $41,265,205. Budget expenditures are $41,382,159,” he said. “For a budget deficit of $115,954.”

The preliminary budget reflects real estate tax rates of 17.7513 mills for Lycoming County and 12.9608 mills for Clinton County.

The 2017-18 real estate tax rates are 17.3736 for Lycoming County and 12.1009 for Clinton County, which means the preliminary budget currently reflects an increase of 0.3777 for Lycoming County and .8599 for Clinton County.

For a home valued at approximately $100,000, those increases would be about $37 for Lycoming County and $85 for Clinton County.

Enders said the district did not go above its Act 1 Index if these numbers are approved.

“It’s obvious that we’ve made a tremendous effort here to balance this budget … We went as far as we can go as far as asking for a wage freeze and then on top of that, we furloughed staff,” said Merrill Sweitzer, board member. “I would like to double check the numbers.”

He said he wanted to see if the district could save enough money through all the measures it has taken to fight its deficit so a tax increase would not be required.

“The deficit shown to you tonight of $115,954 includes a tax increase,” Enders said. “If you take the tax increase out of there, the deficit would add $450,000. So, we would have a $560,000 deficit.”

In other business, the board unanimously voted to approve a new athletic fee of $40 per season.

“It makes more sense than each participation … Just a seasonal pass for $40,” said Harry Brungard, board member.

“Students are paying more for their athletic shoes than what the participation is,” said Craig Allen, board member. “I think it’s reasonable.”

Kelley Wasson, board president, said the fee was not per sport, but per season.

“So if you play two sports in one season, it’s $40,” she said. “It’s per season. You pay $40 depending on which season you pay.”

She said for every season of play, the cost would be $40.

So two sports in the spring would only be a $40 payment, but one sport in the winter and one sport in the spring would cost two payments of $40 for a student to play two seasons.

Voting yes were members Allen, Brungard, Christopher Fravel, Dr. John Pecchia, Michelle Stemler, Karen Stover, Sweitzer, Mary Thomas and Wasson.

The next school board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. June 25 at the administration office, 175 A and P Drive.