Loyalsock approves no tax hike budget

The Loyalsock Township School Board Wednesday night approved a $23.6 million budget for next year that holds the line on real estate taxes.

To avoid a tax hike, the district will use money from its unassigned fund balance, according to business manager Daniel Egly.

Otherwise, the district is looking at a $359,000 budget deficit.

The district also will save money by not hiring an elementary teacher and making an adjustment to its special education contract with BLaST Intermediate Unit 17.

Earlier this year, the district was considering a .25 mill increase.

Superintendent Gerald McLaughlin noted that the district has raised real estate taxes six of the past 15 years.

“We’re doing a really nice job of managing funds,” he said.

However, he said it may be difficult to avoid a tax hike next year if the district wants to keep in place all of its services and programs.

“I think it’s time for taxpayers to get a break,” board president Paul R. Young II said.

He added that the board will certainly have to re-evaluate its fiscal situation next year.

The vote to approve the budget without a tax increase was 6-1.

Voting yes were Young, Chip Edmonds, David Hornberger, Robert Leidhecker, John Raymond and Edward Ade. Melvin Wentzel voted no.

In other matters, the board approved a $415,499 School Safety and Security Grant from the state Commission on Crime and Delinquency.

Part of the money is expected to be used for cameras in school buildings and buses, and for a trauma-based counselor.

The board approved the commercial solar electricity purchase agreement with TES Lancer Solar, Kennett Square.

The 25-year agreement is expected to bring about $40,000 annually in cost savings to the district, according to district officials.

The board approved an agreement with C.M. Eichenlaub Co., Pittsburgh, for installation of high school gymnasium bleachers at a cost of $72,087.

Also approved was an agreement for the purchase of a football stadium sound system from Pro Acoustics of Salado, Texas, at a cost of $9,989.

In personnel matters, the board approved Sabrina Nolan and Aine Wright as temporary professional employees.

Nolan has been hired to teach Spanish and Wright to teach elementary school.

In other action, the board approved:

• An agreement for contracted pupil services with William Martens, Hughesville.

• The Behavioral Support Classroom and ISS Support Agreement with Nittany Learning Services, Bellefonte, for the next two school years.

• A trail easement to Loyalsock Township to provide a portion of property for the construction of Phase I of the Miller’s Run Greenway Project.

The board met in executive session prior to and following the regular meeting to consider personnel matters.