Purchase Line renames school, passes budget|
Monday, July 02, 2012
By Dianne Byers Staff Writer
COMMODORE - Purchase Line North and South elementary schools became simply references in the school district's history as the board at Friday's rescheduled meeting approved a resolution changing the name of the newly-consolidated school to Purchase Line Elementary School.
The action was a result of the school board's vote at a special meeting May 29 to close North Elementary due to low student enrollment and the cost of renovating the school to meet state and federal codes and standards, and merge all students in grades kindergarten through six at the elementary school located adjacent to the junior and senior high school complex at Commodore RD.
Ron Repak of Andrews & Beard Law Offices, Altoona, the district's solicitor, said, following Friday's meeting, he had received an e-mail from an official at state Department of Education noting the agency had affirmed the board's decision to close the North Elementary but the district has yet to receive official notification from PDE.
The board also adopted the 2012-13 budget with no tax increase. Janice Pearce, the district's business manager said the budget numbers were revised slightly from those approved by the board at its May 29 special meeting with the amount of the deficit being reduced from the more than $1.2 million that had been projected earlier. The spending plan expects revenue next year from local, state and federal sources of $17,092,574 and expenses of $17,940,180. The shortfall of $847,606 will be balanced using monies taken from the district's fund balance.
Although the board set no property tax increase, rates are going up slightly for Clearfield County residents. Next year's millage rates for Clearfield and Indiana counties will be adjusted using market values provided by the state Tax Equalization Board. Next year, Clearfield County residents will pay a rate of 76.34 - a 1.43 mill increase from the 2011-12 rates, and Indiana County residents will pay 85.81 mills, the same rate as last year.
According to the budget resolution adopted by the board the rates adopted are "a zero tax increase when taking into consideration the rebalancing the 2011-12 levy according to the state Tax Equalization Board rates."
The board also authorized tax deductions for district properties that have applied and are eligible for homestead or farmstead exclusions. Pearce said the district will receive a total of $282,761 in state gaming monies which breaks down to discounts of $142.22 for qualified Clearfield County property owners and $142.19 for entitled Indiana County property owners.
The budget resolution also includes the assessment of taxes supporting the general fund budget. They are per capita, $5 each; occupational privilege, $10; earned income 0.7 percent; and real estate transfer tax, 0.5 percent.
During discussion, Jim Stiffler, board member, expressed concerns the budget contains many potentially unnecessary expenses resulting from the closing of North Elementary. He asked the board be provided with information at its August meeting "so we know where we're at," he said.
In other business, the board:
• hired Thomas Grierson as the elementary principal, effective Aug. 27 at a salary of $80,000. Matthew Pearce, board president, said in an interview following the meeting, Grierson is currently an administrator in a school district located in Cleveland, Ohio. Grierson replaces Dr. Susan Sibert who resigned the position to accept a professorship at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
• tabled hiring a food service director.
• rescinded a portion of a resolution approved at a special meeting June 11 and reinstated five cafeteria workers who were furloughed or had their hours reduced. Those whose jobs were restored are Bridget Buterbaugh, 4.5 hours per day; Tonya Kachmarchi and Connie Pershing, 5.5 hours per day, each; and Debra Pearce, eight hours. Cafeteria employee Cindy Mattis will have her hours returned from 5.5 hours to 7.5 hours per day.
• accepted a resignation for the purpose of retirement from George Scott, media technician, effective Aug. 24 and a resignation from Karen Conrad as the student newspaper adviser.
• hired Debra Fisher as the department chairwoman for the secondary industrial arts, business technology and consumer science for grades seven through 12 and Paula Davidson as department chairwoman for health and physical education for grades kindergarten through 12. Both positions have an annual salary of $1,856.
• hired Andrews & Beard Law Offices, Altoona, as district solicitor for the 2012-13 school year at a rate of $125 per hour for general work and $155 per hour for matters including labor relations, special education, negotiations and litigation.
• approved the compensation plan for Tina Hazelet, district superintendent. Pearce said Hazelet's salary was retained at $107,000 per year and there were no changes to her benefits package. Hazelet's compensation plan is effective for three years but is reviewed annually by the board, he said.
• held a 68-minute executive session for personnel matters.
• hired assistant coaches and set their annual salaries. They are: football, Steve Woodrow and Brad Dubetsky, $2,500 each, Matthew Falisec, $2,814, and Chad Small, $2,575; girl's basketball, Rebecca Hudak, $2,500, and Raymond Keith, $2,732; boy's basketball, Steven Boring, $2,500; volleyball, Leesa Elling, $2,000; track, Erica Fetterman, $2,000, and Keith, $2,252; softball, Elling, $2,000; and cheerleading, Lovell Rearick, $1,350. Brandon Overdorff was hired as the weight room supervisors at an annual salary of $1,900.
• awarded a 12-year contract for transportation to Tri-County Transportation, Northern Cambria. The length of the contract will allow the company to purchase a fleet of new buses equipped with cameras. Prior to the vote, Stiffler asked fellow board members whether they are satisfied with the agreement since the length of the pact would impact decision making for several future boards. Members and Pearce indicated the agreement is beneficial to both the company and the district.
• awarded bids for diesel fuel to Petroleum Traders Corp, Fort Wayne, Ind., who submitted a bid for the 2012-13 at .251 cents over the rack price and for gasoline to Jacobs Oil Co., Dysart, whose offer was 22 cents per gallon over the rack price.
• approved a request for the Purchase Line Red Dragon Foundation to host its annual dinner dance Oct. 6 at the high school. Renee Lash, RDF president, said this year three distinguished Purchase Line High School alumnus would be recognized and named brothers John, G. Daniel and David Prushnok as those to be honored.
• heard Sibert, during her report to the board, note she has received a number of requests from parents asking for an opportunity for their children to visit the elementary school prior to the start of the 2012-13 school year. She said currently items are still being moved into the school but once this is completed the community will be invited to come and see the building.
The board has no scheduled meetings in July. The next meetings are a work session Aug. 6 and a monthly business meeting Aug. 13. Both meetings begin at 7 p.m. at the administrative offices conference room.