PURCHASE LINE –— The Purchase Line school board held the line on taxes for the 2013-14 school year Monday during its regular meeting.
The budget, as outlined by business manager Janice Pearce, includes revenues of $17,519,860, expenditures of $18,083,675 and plans to borrow $563,815 from the fund balance. The budget does not reflect a tax increase, although millage rates will be adjusted for market value provided by the State Tax Equalization Board due to the district being shared by two counties. The millage rate for Indiana County will be 86.04 mills, a 0.23 mill increase, and for Clearfield County will be 76.12, a decrease of 0.22 mills.
The budget reflected a slight increase from the budget first proposed in May due to the costs of security upgrades around the district, Pearce said.
Another show of support for Purchase Line’s music program — and concern that retiring music teachers and personnel are not being replaced — was made by district residents attending the meeting. Several wore T-shirts bearing the slogan “I’m All In — Music Education.”
Anna Harkleroad, 17, who will be a senior next year, told the board she is having conflicts in her schedule for the next year. She is unable to attend the classes she wants in order to pursue her planned college major because the classes take place at the same time, forcing her to choose one or the other. She is also unable to take an advanced language course because it conflicts with her gym class.
“In both of these cases, we have not replaced retirees in these courses,” she said. “I don’t think that makes sense. … As you continue to not replace retirees, scheduling will become less and less flexible, so while I’m very grateful that we offer classes like physics, calculus, chemistry II, AP English, I’m disappointed that students can’t take advantage of these classes in the most optimal ways due to inflexible scheduling caused by not replacing retirees.”
The board passed several resignation and hiring motions, simultaneously accepting the resignation of Rebecca Bracken as musical drama director and assistant band director while hiring her as marching band director for $4,700 and musical co-director for $1,661 for the 2013-14 school year.
The resignation of Raymond Keith as assistant girls’ basketball coach was also accepted. The board hired Steve Woodrow as head boys’ basketball coach at $4,300, Brian Goss as assistant football coach at $2,500 and Karen Woods as assistant volleyball coach at $2,000 for the coming year. The board also approved of the renewal of athletic contracts for Isaac Solak as athletic director, and Chad Small and Steve Woodrow as assistant football coaches.
Solicitor Ron Repak commented on the recent public auction of the former North Elementary School building, noting that the reserve amount for the building was not met, therefore the building was not sold. However, an individual did submit a low bid, which gives the board the opportunity to pass a motion to enter into negotiations with that bidder to see what the bidder would be purchasing the building for and what the intentions for its future use are.
“I can tell you one of the big issues was the taxes held on the building,” Repak said. “That was a major selling point; it’s almost $50,000 in taxes.”
So far this year, it has cost the district approximately $46,000 to keep the building vacant, according to Repak. The board passed the motion to enter into negotiations with the bidder.
In other business, the board:
• Approved a motion to hire Carl Beard, of Andrews and Beard Law Offices, for solicitor work at $125 an hour and specialized services, including labor relations, special education, negotiations and litigation at $155 an hour.
• Approved recalling Eric Misko and Tiffany DeStefano as full-time elementary teachers and Carlene Sadler as a Title I reading specialist.
• Approved ACE American Insurance Co. for student sports insurance at $8,337.
• Approved a 2 percent increase for athletic and activities extracurricular wages for the upcoming school year.