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Montoursville Area School Board votes not to exceed index

Montoursville Area School Board voted to not exceed the Act 1 index in preparing next year’s budget during its regular monthly meeting Tuesday night.

By not exceeding the index, real estate taxes cannot be increased beyond a certain millage percentage before exceptions or a voter referendum.

Business manager Brandy Smith reported to the board that she expects to consider the spending plan when the board meets in work sessions.

The plan, she said, calls for voting on a proposed budget in May and a final plan June 8.

Smith did not reveal numbers to the board or whether a tax hike is being considered.

“We did start out our current year ahead. Hopefully, that will give us a better balance sheet as we finish out the current year,” school director Dale Ulmer told the Sun-Gazette.

A positive fund balance to start the present fiscal year, along with government funding, including CARES Act dollars, are certainly a help going into the next budget year, according to Ulmer.

Overall, he said it’s a bit early to know precisely how the budget will look.

The board approved payment of Series 2014 Bonds for $1.67 million from the capital reserve fund.

The plan, Smith said, is to pay money back into that fund to allow the district to pay for projects.

She said the plan will save the district money.

“This is helping us for the long run,” District Superintendent Christina Bason said. “It gives us better bond ratings. It is a win, win for us.”

Added Smith: “We don’t want to continue paying interest to bond holders.”

In other matters, it was reported to the board that a recent audit of the district revealed no issues.

The board voted to hold the length of its meetings to two hours, with an additional 30 minutes allowed by a vote of school directors.

Board member Ron Snell said he was against limiting the length of meetings.

He said school directors should be willing to put in the time.

William Ruffing said he favored the two-hour limit.

“I think it keeps things moving,” he said. “I just think you have to run an efficient meeting.”

He noted a board meeting held in the fall which lasted until after 2 a.m.

The vote was 6-3 to limit meetings to two hours.

Voting yes were Ruffing, Ulmer, Daniel Albert, Scott Konkle, Dottie Mathers, and Jennifer Marriott. Voting no were Snell, Susan Beery and David Shimmel.

Tina Marie Kline, a district resident, thanked the three board members who voted no.

“Those voting yes showed lack of consideration for taxpayers who put you in your position,” she said.

The board agreed to remove the public comments from YouTube recordings of meetings.

School officials noted the comments have raised some potential legal issues for the district.

The board approved Promiseland Bussing’s rate of $2,529 for December and for At Bay Insurance Co. to provide cyber liability insurance at $9,085.

In personnel action, the board approved:

• Extension of a professional employee contract including tenure to Daniel Heinrichs, high school science teacher.

• Resignation of Michael Cillo, girls track and field coach.

• Resignation of Jessica Cole, support staff position.

• Megan Green to the substitute teacher list.

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