Budget passes with no tax hike

LEWISTOWN – The Mifflin County School District will not be raising taxes next year following the board of directors’ adoption of the 2013-14 general fund budget Thursday in the amount of $67,255,515.

Chief Financial Officer Sean Daubert presented the spending plan, the same one the board tentatively adopted in May, for a final vote, which was approved by a 5-3 margin. Voting in favor of the budget were Walter Harpster, James Hurlburt, Beth Laughlin, Kirk Rager and Kristen Sharp. Those voting against included Dr. Ruth Armstrong, Mary Lou Sigler and Annemarie Swineford. Board member Travis Parkes was not in attendance at Thursday’s meeting.

There was no discussion on the budget vote.

Following that action, the board voted to adopt the following tax resolutions for the 2013-14 fiscal year: A real estate tax of 30.9519 mills, which Daubert said is the same as the current year; a tax of $5 upon each resident of the district over the age of 18; a resident tax of $5; a $10 flat rate local services tax; a 1 percent real estate transfer tax; and a 1.35 percent earned income tax.

In other business Thursday, the board began its monthly business session one hour earlier than usual to allow board members time to ask questions of the district’s architect, Vern McKissick, on the preliminary design phase of a proposed renovation project at the Mifflin County Junior High School. McKissick was on hand at the board’s May 23 meeting to introduce the board to a number of proposals to increase the life of the building.

One question came from Harpster, who wondered why air conditioning throughout the building was not included in the design.

McKissick said he was taking a conservative route in order to keep costs down, adding that to have the entire building air conditioned would add approximately $1.5 million to the proposed $16.8 million project.

“We can certainly take this back and give you some other options,” he said.

If the project is approved to move forward, Superintendent James Estep said the total cost estimate would be roughly $11 million following state reimbursement. That number is before considering air conditioning, he added.

In other business, Jerry Myers of Reynolds Construction was on hand to present an update to the renovation project currently under way at the Indian Valley Elementary Center before presenting the board with a number of change orders and credits for approval.

“Things are well under way,” he reported. “In the kindergarten wing, we’re finishing drywall work. The rest of the building is pretty ripped up. The demolition work is almost done. The roof is roughly 40 percent complete. Things are moving right along.”

In other business Thursday, the board:

Approved the following planned courses: Biology I, Science I, Computer Aided Drafting, Drafting Technology, Exploring Drafting, Exploring Technology, Exploring Visual Communication, Technology 1 and Technology 2.

Approved the supplemental custodial supply and equipment bids totaling $121,305.58.

Approved a bid from First Capital Insulation to provide asbestos remediation for the junior high school in the amount of $258,919.

Accepted the resignation of Kenneth Houser, custodian at the high school, effective June 3.

Approved a recommendation that the law firm of Rhoads & Sinon, LLP be appointed solicitor for the board of school directors for a term of one year beginning July 1.

Elected Sean Daubert as school board treasurer for a one year term effective July 1.

Elected Angela Wise as school board secretary for a term of four years effective July 1.

Approved a recommendation that the Tuscarora Intermediate Unit 11 continue to provide human resources services to the school district for the 2013-14 fiscal year.

Approved the 2013 Homestead and Farmstead Exclusion Resolution.

Approved the 2013-14 general supply bids in the amount of $133,670.98.

Deleted Sherry Zellers and Beverly Lightfoot-Gers from the cafeteria substitute list.

Accepted the resignations of cafeteria workers Cathy Schwenn and Susan Kanagy.

Approved Betsy Olson as a van driver for the district effective June 24.

Hired Christian Knouse as a permanent math teacher at Mifflin County Junior High School effective the start of the 2013-14 school year.

Hired Lacie Hostetler as a temporary math teacher traveling between the middle school and high school for the 2013-14 school year or less.

Hired Zachary Sigler as a K-3 Title I Math/Language Arts teacher effective the start of the 2013-14 school year.

Hired Tyler Fink as a first grade teacher at Indian Valley Elementary School effective the start of the 2013-14 school year.

Hired Kathryn Adolfo as a permanent reading teacher at the middle school condition upon the receipt of updated clearance.

Hired Garry Price as a permanent art teacher at the middle school effective at the start of next school year.

Hired Heather Confer as a permanent art teacher at Indian Valley Elementary Center.

Hired Corby Lancaster as a permanent kindergarten teacher at Strodes Mills Elementary School.

Hired Rebecca Swann as a permanent English 8 teacher at the junior high school.

Hired Seth Hartman as a permanent biology teacher at the high school.

Hired the following coordinators for the 2013-14 school year: Clint Aurand, mathematics grade 6-12; Jennifer Macknair, language arts grades 6-12; and Alan Miller, English as Second Language.

Hired Jeremy Stuter as a systems support specialist effective July 1.

Approved the following elementary school building leaders for next school year: Nancy Aurand, Lewistown; Jackie Shinskie, Strodes Mills; Carrie Stufft, East Derry; Kevin O’Donnell Jr., Indian Valley; and Diane Stewart, Lewistown Intermediate.

Accepted the voluntary resignation of Heather Fry due to the declination of a job offer.

Accepted the following teacher resignations: Elizabeth Goss, third grade at Lewistown Elementary, due to relocation; Debra Tate-Anderson, art teacher at Mifflin County Middle School, due to retirement; Donna Amspacher, Title I Language Arts at Indian Valley Elementary, due to personal reasons; Margaret Hackenberger, Spanish at Mifflin County High School, due to relocation; and Sarah Ake, learning support at Mifflin County Middle School.

Added Hannah Moore to the 2013-14 substitute teacher list.

Added Sally Weston to the 2013-14 substitute clerical list.

Accepted the resignation of Nicholas Wilson, paraprofessional at the high school, due to personal reasons.

Approved a contract for Cynthia Heister, occupational therapist assistant supervisor, for $60 per hour for a minimum of 10 hours per month, completing all referral evaluations, treatment plans, goals and assessments, and instructing and overseeing hands-on treatments when necessary.

Approved the following volunteer coaches for the 2013-14 school year: Kylie Corson and McKenzee Walker, cheerleading; Jeffrey Miller, Deanna Russler, Ruth Yoder and Holly Yeager, cross country; Courtney Kanagy, field hockey; Vince Inzerillo, William Snook, Jeffrey Weikel II, Harry Aultz, Joshua Grimes, Brian Rodgers, Seth O’Donnell, Steven Poche, Harvey Smith, James Drayer and Jonathan Baker, football; Roy Bucher, volleyball; Mark Cavanaugh, wrestling; Crystal Weaver, girls basketball; and Christian Knouse, boys soccer.

Hired the following coaches for the 2013-14 school year: Travis Zook, head baseball; Jack McCurdy, head softball; L. Glenn Kyle, head tennis; Scott Gantz, head spring track; and Jon Corbin, first assistant girls basketball.

Approved a request from the Mifflin County Music Boosters to have the fee waived for the use of the high school for a “Taste of Home” event on Nov. 16. All proceeds from the event will go toward funding activities for the Mifflin County High School Marching Band and indoor groups.

Approved the revised articles of agreement for the organization and operation of the Mifflin-Juniata Career and Technology Center between the Mifflin and Juniata County School Districts from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2018.

Approved the Career and Technology Center budget for the 2013-14 school year in the amount of $2,165,957.