MIFFLINTOWN - The Juniata County School Board of Directors took a final vote Thursday evening to pass the budget for the 2012-13 school year.
Prior to the vote, Beth Finkbiner offered public comment as a tax paying resident of Juniata County. She said by raising taxes gradually over several years, tax payers will be able to plan for and adjust to the change. If the county holds off on adjusting its revenue and spending, the cost will become overwhelming, she said.
"Our community as a whole would suffer and definitely the education of our children would suffer," she said.
As voting resumed, William Book, board member, made a motion to amend the recommended 2012-13 budget in the amount of $31,420,526, and the final adoption of the 2012-13 school year real estate tax rate at 56.71 mills, to 57.49 mills. William Book, Melvin Brubaker, Randy Dressler, Glenda Leister, Christine Shadel, Joseph Shearer and Danny Snyder voted in favor of the budget, while John Noss voted in opposition. Ray Page was not present at the meeting.
The board also voted to transfer $200,000 to the capital reserve fund.
While a number of considerations went into the adoption of the proposed budget, board member Glenda Leister brought attention to the county's retirement estimates as one example of future spending considerations. The following retirement estimates were provided by the board of directors: $1,772,424 in 2012-13; $2,449,989 in 2013-14; $3,170,358.90 in 2014-15; $3,889,649.93 in 2015-16; $4,076,097.47 in 2016-17; and $4,243,115.02 in 2017-2018. The state pays half of those figures, she said.
"I think the public needs to see where (costs are) going," she said.
As costs across the district increase, the board continues to make adjustments to maintain the quality of the school district, Superintendent Richard Musselman said.
After the budget was passed, personnel changes that were tabled during Tuesday's meeting were brought back for consideration. The board approved the furlough of Tuscarora Junior High School guidance counselor Caren C. Mann, based on a decrease in student enrollment and approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The board also approved reducing the work year for assistant principals Nancy J. Kramer and Clint J. Mitchell, as well as school psychologist, Nancy M. Cipriani, and director of support services and speech therapist, Elise L. Hazel, to 200 days with reduced salaries and vacation.
In addition to decisions on the spending plan, the board welcomed a brief presentation by the Juniata County chapter of the Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees. Mr. Daniel R. Smith, a teacher at Juniata High School, and Mrs. Margie Baker, an aide at Tuscarora Junior High School, were presented with the PASR Lauretta Woodson Awards. The awards are sponsored by the PASR and the local Juniata County chapter, and are presented to active public school employees who have exhibited outstanding creativity, initiative and productivity relevant to the learning process and growth of children.
Also during the meeting, the school board:
Approved a facility use request to Robert Burkholder, Susquehanna Valley Mennonite Church, who will be temporarily using the Monroe Elementary School for Sunday morning and Wednesday evening worship services beginning June 24.
Approved the final budget for the General Fund Approval Resolution, the 2012 Annual Tax Levy Resolution and the 2012 Homestead and Farmstead Exclusion Resolution.
Approved closing the TJ/JHS cafeteria checking account, TVES cafeteria checking account, Fayette/East Juniata cafeteria checking account, Monroe cafeteria checking account, athletic checking account, Juniata athletic checking account, East Juniata athletic checking account and payroll checking account, all at Juniata Valley Bank; and a money market account at First National Bank of Mifflintown.
Approved the opening of a general fund checking and retirement money market account at First National Bank of Mifflintown.
Approved a contract with Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf for transportation services for the 2012-13 school year at a rate of $2,500 per student.
Approved the reinstatement of Rodney D. Feltman to a secondary mathematics teaching position created by the retirement of Rodney D. Hart.
Approved the reinstatement of Valerie M. Ricedorf to a permanent, full-time elementary principal position.
Approved furloughed employees who desire to serve as substitutes.
Approved the resignation of East Juniata High School field hockey coach Jenna Brininger, approved extracurricular positions for the upcoming school year and approved volunteer extracurricular positions for the upcoming school year.