DuBois school district to increase taxes|
Thursday, June 21, 2012
By Dianne Byers Staff Writer
DUBOIS - DuBois Area School Board adopted the district's 2012-13 budget last night with a tax increase.
The decision was not without controversy. Prior to the vote, board member Beverly Kurts, asked Roland Bechtel, board member, about a statement he made in an e-mail that was sent out to a number of news media, district residents, business owners and teachers.
At last week's work session, Bechtel urged members to vote against the spending plan because he did not believe a tax increase was necessary.
Kurts read a portion of Bechtel's e-mail denouncing the tax increase that read, "Cost reductions within the operations of the school district need to be accomplished on a steady and continuing basis; day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month. We've all witnessed signs of day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month waste. When questioned; the answer is too often, "It's in the budget..." then asked him to give examples of the district's "waste."
Bechtel said he was unprepared to respond to her question and had she told him previously that she intended to quiz him, he would have been ready. Kurts told him he was responsible for what he had written and he should have been prepared to defend his statement. "You put it out there Roland. Where do you see (the waste)?"
Bechtel noted, although he voted for them, he was unhappy with the cost of many of the conferences attended by instructors and administrators then said again he did not appreciate being put on the spot. He told the board, "We know there are instances of waste, we've all seen it."
The general fund budget adopted last night is balanced with both income and expenses of $54,373,301. It contains a property tax increase of 2.4 percent the inflationary index set for the district by the state Department of Education under Act 1.
The financial plan's adoption sets the millage rate for Clearfield County at 81.75 - a decrease of 1.01, and Jefferson County, 28.92 - an increase of .67 percent. The lesser amount of property taxes for Clearfield County will be offset by a 7 percent increase in the taxable real estate base, it was noted at last week's work session.
Voting to approve the spending plan were Scott Farrell, Kurts, Lloyd McCreight, Thomas Repine, Louis Russell and Nancy Shade, board members. Members, Bechtel, Patty Fish and Melissa Mowrey voted no.
The board also adopted tax structure supporting the general fund budget of $5 each, per capita, personal and local service taxes, and 0.5 percent each, wage and real estate transfer taxes.
In other business, the board:
• authorized an agreement to provide community service liaison services between the board and Cen-Clear Child Services Inc., beginning Aug. 1 through July 31 at a rate of $23 per hours not to exceed 789 hours. The agreement would provide day-to-day management services for approved students to perform community service hours or an alternate punishment as determined by the offense they commit.
• renewed the worker's compensation policy with School Boards Insurance Company at an annual rate of $244,164 for the 2012-13 school year - an increase of $43,461. Fish asked why the district would renew with a company that increased the policy cost. Sam Kirk Jr., the district's business manager, said the district "had a horrendous year last year for compensation claims" and added "no matter where we went, we would have seen an increase."
• accepted the resignation of David Rupprecht, head boys' soccer coach, effective immediately.
• hired Torie Sedor as a special education supervisor at a salary of $72,000 and Sam Armagost as maintenance and custodial supervisor at a salary of $65,000.
• approved payment of construction bills for Juniata Elementary School renovation project totaling $289,829.21. The board also heard a progress report on work at the school, noting the project is on schedule for a mid-August completion.
The board canceled the July work session but will hold a business meeting July 25 at 7 p.m. at the administrative offices' conference room.