Loyalsock to stay within index
The Loyalsock School Board approved a resolution electing not to increase the tax rate above the index established by the state department of education for the 2021-22 school year. The action came at the board’s meeting held virtually Wednesday night.
According to M. Dan Egly, the district’s business manager and board secretary, the index for the district has been set by PDE at 3.7 percent.
Egly told the board that the Act I index was introduced in 2006 to restrict school districts from being able to tax above a certain percentage year to year, unless a district filed a waiver to seek the state’s approval to go beyond that amount.
“What we’re saying is the for the 2021-22 school year that based on our index, which is 3.7 percent, we will not increase our millage or our tax rate above 3.7 percent,” he said.
He stated that 3.7 percent of the current tax rate of 14.67 mills would equal .54 mills and would result in an increase in tax revenue of over $400,000.
In approving the resolution, the board did not say that they had decided to increase taxes for the upcoming school year, but that if they did decide on a tax increase they have agreed to stay within the index.
In other tax-related business, the board approved a contract, effective Jan. 1, 2022 through Dec. 31, 2025, between the district and Dorothy White Mertz, for the collection of business privilege taxes.
They also approved setting the tax collector rates for that same period at $4 per bill for real estate taxes and $4.50 per bill for interim real estate bills.
The board approved authorizing RAL Architecture & Design, Inc., Lewisburg, to conduct a feasibility study regarding building expansion projects. Cost of the student is not to exceed $15,000 and will be paid from the Capital Projects Fund.
Egly explained that the projects would include areas at all three schools in the district.
“What we’re looking at is expansion to instructional areas–possibly four classrooms at Schick and four to six classrooms at the high school, middle school,” Egly said.
“In addition we are looking at expanding our cafeteria and kitchens at both buildings. Also expanding one gymnasium at the high school/middle school complex and also some interior modifications to possibly the music area and other functional areas within the footprint of the existing building,” he added.
He said that once the feasibility study is completed the company will come back to the board with several options to consider. Egly noted that approval of the study does not mean that the district has made the decision to move forward with the projects. Results of the study are expected back by the end of February or the beginning of March.
In his report to the board, Gerald McLaughlin, superintendent, addressed the issue of the lack of bus drivers in the district. He noted that the administration will be analyzing over the next few months what can be done to solve the problem which has reached the point of being critical.
McLaughlin said that the district is looking at various possibilities, including shifting school schedule.
“Nothing’s chiseled in stone with this, but we certainly want to do our homework, so that it we are going to recommend a change in late spring for next year, that we’ve vetted the process and allowed board input as well as the community,” he said.
Under personnel items, the board acknowledged the retirement of Denise Holmes, secretary and the resignations of Kathryn Hauck, food service worker and Josephine Powley, part-time paraprofessional.
They also approved the appointment of Kyle Rude as a volunteer girls’ soccer coach for the spring 2020-21 sports season.
The next meeting of the board will be at 7 p.m. Feb. 10.