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MARION CENTER: Directors weigh budget concerns

by on April 29, 2014 10:50 AM

MARION CENTER — The Marion Center Area school board will continue to work on its proposed budget for the upcoming school year, according to the board during a combined session meeting Monday at the W.A. McCreery Elementary School.

According to Business Manager Richard Martini, a proposed increase in the millage rate has dropped from 2 mills to 1.5 mills. Beyond that decrease, he had no significant number changes to report to the board.

The current millage rate for Marion Center is 104.48, according to the Indiana County website.

“Between now and next month we hope to get it down even further,” Superintendent Frank Garritano said. “And hopefully we’ll have additional information from the state which will help our discussions.”

According to Garritano, no new information has come from Harrisburg regarding funding for special education or basic education subsidies.

The preliminary general fund budget for 2014-15 projects revenues of $23,204,991 and expenditures of $23,405,024, as reported by the Gazette on January 29.

A Marion Center High School student, Alyssa Stancombe, 16, died Sunday from injuries she sustained in a traffic accident April 18 in White Township. The vehicle she was riding in overturned and landed upside down in a pond.

In response to Alyssa’s death, Garritano told the board the district was “very saddened as a school community that a young person lost her life. (Monday) we did provide services to students through our guidance department who needed and/or requested any counseling.”

In other business, the district responded to a water-restriction advisory by providing students with plastic utensils and paper plates in the cafeteria. This prevented students from eating with utensils that would require washing. Students were also provided with water cooler-type refreshments in place of water fountains throughout the day.

Until the boiling restrictions are lifted, Garritano said the district “thought this was the best option at this time.”

The board heard a proposal by high school Principal Matthew Jioio regarding the initiation of a junior high track and field team for the district. According to Jioio, similar proposals have been adopted by other districts, including most recently at Purchase Line.

Salaries for track coaches would be based on the existing salaries for the junior high volleyball coaches, with $2,250 for head coach and $2,000 for assistant coach. Additional costs would include equipment, uniforms and sponsoring home and away meets. The initial startup cost is expected to be $9,570 with a yearly recurring cost of $6,570. Approximately 30 to 40 students are expected to participate.

Board members were reminded that if they wanted to approve this venture, the costs would need to be added to the proposed budget. The board will consider voting on the proposal at a future meeting.

In further business, in an 8-1 vote, the board approved an LED display sign to be installed outside the high school along East Main Street at a cost of $35,022.

The sign, provided by Scholar Promotions Inc, of Johnstown, will be a two-sided board approximately 4.2 feet by 8.4 feet. The structure will stand 16-feet high supported by six-inch square steel columns with an aluminum cap on top.

Additionally, the board approved:

• Entering into supplemental coaching contracts with Matt Reed, boys’ head basketball coach, at $4,750; Chris Stewart, head wrestling coach, at $4,650; Rick Adkins, head swimming coach, at $4,500; and Candy Hadden, head cheerleading coach, at $3,600.,

• The 2014-15 Indiana County Technology Center’s general operating budget with the district’s share being $533,567.

• Authorizing the business manager to request the Indiana County Tax Assessment Office to complete an interim assessment within the district boundaries.

• The adoption and purchase of the K-12 mathematics textbooks and resources for 2014-15 in the amount of $152,503.

• To accept, with regret, the letter of resignation with intent to retire from Sharon Hayes, elementary Title I teacher. Hayes has been with the district since 1986.

• To accept, with regret, the resignation of Karla Freede, high school chemistry teacher. Freede has been with the district since 2012.

Jeremy Hartley is a staff writer for The Indiana Gazette.
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