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WASD board reacts to state budget proposal

“I have to say we were a little surprised” was the response of Dr. Timothy S. Bowers, district superintendent at the Williamsport Area School District, to Gov. Wolf’s 2020 budget address which had been delivered Tuesday. Bowers made his comments at the district board meeting.

“Gov. Wolf has been very pro-education and we’re very grateful and thankful for that. His numbers were certainly below what we anticipated. Now that can change. Legislators have to debate that budget,” he said.

“History tells us it typically doesn’t get better than what the governor proposes, often it gets less than that,” he added.

Earlier in the meeting, during her finance report, Wanda Erb, business administrator and board secretary, told the board the district had received $880,000 in additional state funding for basic education last year, but, if the 2020 budget proposed by Wolf passes as-is, the district’s share of new funding for basic education would be $446,000.

Erb echoed Bowers in reminding the board that this was just a proposed budget and not the final, which would be approved by the legislature this year.

“This is kind of disheartening for us,” Erb said.

In other business, a motion was made by board member Adam Welteroth for the district to commission a third-party investigation in review of an incident which occurred in 2018 involving the high school’s baseball team. Welteroth said that the investigation should be contracted to a law firm that doesn’t have a vested interest with the district professionally or privately.

“The scope of this investigation will attempt to answer what happened at Myrtle Beach, the timeline of what the district did in response, a review of the district’s investigation,” Welteroth stated in making the motion.

The motion did not receive a second and Lori Baer, board president, said the matter would be better handled in executive session with legal advisement.

Under personnel, the board accepted the retirements of the following employees: Cathy L. Burger, Krista Fagnano, Lisa M. Nible, Kimberly A. Cassidy, Alice W. Good, Kay E. Knarr-Fisher, Joseph T. Marzzacco, Pamela Nolan, Laura B. Schmack, Phyllis J. Sieber and Marjorie F. Stopper.

The board approved the following staff:

• Amy R. Mahon, after school tutor at a rate of $31.20 per hour.

• Olivia R. Pierce, substitute after school tutor at a rate of $31.20 per hour.

• Benjamin A. Lorson, athletic event worker.

• Kiley L Couturiaux and Sarah E. J. Rhone as substitute teachers at a rate of $120 per day for the first 45 days and $130 per day for any time after that.

• Dawn G. Naugle, part-time administrative support at a rate of $13.48 per hour.

Several spring coaches were approved by the board.

The board also approved the following bids and contracts:

• Clarkson Chemical Company, a quote of $11,839 for the purchase of a floor scrubber machine.

• Tanner Furniture, Harrisburg, cafeteria tables for three schools at a cost of $81,429.

Prior to the business portion of the meeting, board members were presented with books by students from each of the district’s schools as a show of appreciation for their work.

Board members present were: Lori Baer, Jane Penman, Patrick Dixon, Jennifer Lake, Star Poole, Barbara Reeves, Marc Schefsky, Nancy Story Somers and Welteroth.

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