Budget Deficit Faces School Board

By Storm Kelley and Jennifer Felegi –

The Penn Manor School Board discussed a possible tax increase of 1.64 percent at its May meeting to fund the 2011-12 school year expenses but did not vote on a specific increase.

District business manager Christopher Johnston opened the school board meeting, asking for approval for  placement of 2011-12 proposed budget with expenditures totaling $64,423,313, to be placed on the voting agenda.

Penn Manor School Board. Courtesy of Penn Manor District web site

One school board member predicted that tougher years are ahead.

On Sept. 10, 2010, the state published the tax index at 1.7 percent as the ceiling for a tax increase for Penn Manor.

If a 1.64 percent property tax increase is enacted, Johnston, said a property assessed at a value of $100,000 may see a $23 increase in school taxes.

The proposed budget includes the elimination of ten positions through retirement and/or resignation. Some of the budget cuts include; transportation services, building budgets, cuts to the athletic budget, maintenance budget, technology budget.  The district is currently looking at ways to cut down on energy consumption, insurance, and charter school subsidies.

Mr. Johnston says there has been loss of federal funding and moral support, stating “What’s gone is gone and its not coming back.”

The budget will be finalized at the June 20, 2011 meeting.

The meeting continued with Technology Director, Charlie Reisinger’s proposal to lower copying costs for the district, by using less paper. The districts current contract is with Ikon.

The current contract provides 49 copiers, 4 colored units and unlimited prints. The district pays $15,560 for 1.7 million copies. There are six new proposals, however, Ikon presented the best deal, with a new contract stating; 49 copiers, 10 colored units, and 1.5 million copies for $9,842 per month with a service charge of about half a penny for every extra copy.

Reisinger’s goal was to save one teacher salary. Mr. Reisinger encourages duplex printing (back and front page) with his new code system.

Mr. Carlton Rintz, a Penn manor school board member said, this is a “great step at reducing costs, but we need to reduce copies,” and that this is “just a baby step.”

Mr. Gale was at the meeting to explain graduation plans which will be held at F&M College.

Some students and families may not know but the past four years of graduation have been held inside Penn Manor because of rain.  It is very crammed inside and extremely hot.

“The best thing I saw [at F&M] were the large vents on the ceiling,” Mr Gale joked referring to how much an improvement graduation ceremonies will be with air conditioning.

Not only would it be cooler in F&M but it would also be cheaper since Hempfield is using F&M for graduation the next day.

A man from the community must not have understood what Mr. Gale was saying because he stood up and asked, “Why is it taking place at F&M when it’s been at Millersville every year?”

Mr. Gale responded by explaining again how the cost is cheaper and also there would be more room for families.

The only problem Mr. Gale mentioned was parking but he told everyone that school will be out so the campus will have a lot of parking available along with the side of the roads.

This is the first year for graduation to take place somewhere different.