MIFFLINTOWN - The Juniata County School Board of Directors held a special board meeting Monday to vote on the budget for the 2012-13 school year, but were unable to agree on a spending plan.
In a public comment period, Beth Finkbiner, a resident of Fayette Township, encouraged the board to consider the consequences of a delayed decision on the Mifflin-Juniata Career and Technology Center budget. If the board did not approve a general fund budget for the MJCTC by the June 30 deadline, students would suffer, she said.
Unlike other programs in the district, the practical nursing program is a 12-month program. More than 40 students enrolled in the program would be unable to begin summer classes if the budget was not passed on time, losing valuable hours toward their graduation requirements.
"Making up time is not feasible," she said, and those students will start the year already behind.
After her statement, the board approved the MJCTC general fund budget for the 2012-2013 school year with the following revisions; a 2 percent overall decrease from the 2011-2012 budget, with no new hires for the 2012-2013 school year.
The board also plans to negotiate equal representation at the MJCTC with Mifflin County School District in the future. Right now, Juniata County has 35 percent of the seats in the program and Mifflin County has 65 percent.
After the CTC budget was approved, a motion to approve the transfer of $250,000 from the general fund to the capital reserve fund failed because it did not receive a second.
Superintendent Richard Musselman reminded the board that administrators have already trimmed more than $2.6 million from next year's budget and there is little left to cut without affecting the students directly. Using the capital reserves would have saved $10,000 on the next year, he said.
Likewise, a motion to approve the 2012-2013 school year budget in the amount of $31,219,008, and the final adoption of the 2012-2013 school year real estate tax rate at 56.71 mills failed.
After a heated debate between school board members and the public alike, Director John Noss made a motion to balance the budget at $31,219,008, using the general fund with no tax increase and no further furloughs. Board members mulled over the motion with no second before breaking for executive session.
When the meeting resumed, the motion failed with a split vote.
Director Randy Dressler then recommended a third motion, keeping the 2012-2013 budget to $31,280,479, bringing back one guidance counselor that was to be furloughed and increasing the millage rate to 56.71 mills. The motion failed with no second.
A number of personnel furloughs and reductions were tabled until a budget is secured. The board said it would discuss the budget further at its next meeting, scheduled for 8 p.m. Thursday at Fermanagh-Mifflintown Elementary School.
Also during the meeting, the school board:
* Approved the following facility use requests, in accordance with the rental fee schedule outlined in Policy 707: Mark Mingle, Juniata Junior Fall Baseball Team, JHS Field, July 16 to Nov. 30.
* Approved CPEC bids for heating oil from Petroleum Traders Corporation at a rate of $2.7886 per gallon.
* Awarded the bid for the district's property, liability and workmen's compensation insurance to $136,641 at a cost not to exceed $148,000.
* Approved the East Juniata High School Tigers Baseball Boosters and Juniata High School/Tuscarora Junior High School Cheerleading fundraisers.
* Approved review of Juniata County School District Policy 248.1, Bullying/Cyberbullying, per Pennsylvania Department of Education Safe Schools requirements.
* Approved a memorandum of understanding to the current Act 93 Administrative Compensation and Benefit Program regarding medical insurance.
* Approved the retirement of Stephanie Amtower, effective June 30.
* Approved the first reading of revised Juniata County School District Policy 815.1, Acceptable Use of the Computer Network/Digital Technology and Internet Safety.