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South Board re-elects president; agrees to fill vacant board seats

The South Williamsport School Board re-elected Todd Engel as president and agreed to advertise for three open board seats during its annual reorganization meeting this week.

Engel represents Region III of the district.

The other Region III seat remains vacant as well Region I and Region II seats.

Airneezer Page, who was elected to Region I in the November election, has moved out of the district and cannot serve.

No person ran in the general election for the Region II seat.

Jonathan Thompson, appointed to the Region III seat, is unable to serve due to employment reasons.

The board elected Todd Rupert, of Region II, as vice president of the board.

Rupert, Cathy Bachman, and Nathan Miller, each of whom won elections in November, were sworn in during the meeting.

Business manager Jamie Mowery briefly discussed next year’s budget and the possibility of a tax increase.

She noted that the board can either opt or decline to pass a spending plan that includes raising taxes at an amount that exceeds the Act 1 index.

If the board opts to exceed the index, it must apply for a special exception.

She said the district does qualify for an exception under special education.

“My suggestion is to pursue exceptions,” she said.

The board is to begin considering its options in January.

The deadline to pass a final budget is June 30.

The board approved a revised health and safety plan.

Among the changes, effective Jan. 1, are to no longer exclude students from school who are asymptomatic of COVID-19, despite having been in close contact with infected people. Symptomatic students and staff and those who test positive for COVID-19, regardless of symptoms, will be excluded from school.

Masks will remain optional in the district for now. However, the district will continue to review guidance from Centers for Disease Control and the state Departments of Health and Education when decisions and recommendations regarding face coverings are established or modified.

Between Aug. 30 and Dec 1, the district reported the following numbers of positive COVID-19 student cases: Central Elementary School, 52; Rommelt Elementary School, 13; and South Williamsport Junior/Senior High School, 63.

Superintendent Dr. Mark Stamm reported that 85 people came to the district’s one-day vaccine clinic opened to the community.

A second vaccine day, set for Dec. 18, will mark the final one held in the district, Stamm reported.

In other matters, the board approved American Rescue Plan funding of $43,908 with BLaST Intermediate Unit 17.

The board approved the following people to positions:

• Charles Davis, custodian, $12 per hour.

• Megan Apker, lunch room monitor, $11.54 per hour.

• Jodi Nolan, guest teacher.

• Scott White, assistant junior high wrestling coach, $2,006 stipend.

Stamm reported that letters of resignation were accepted from Julie Horning, lunch room monitor, and Jacquelyn Newlen, secondary special education teacher.

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