Indiana, PA - Indiana County

PENNS MANOR: Tentative school budget calls for increase

by on May 14, 2014 10:50 AM

KENWOOD — Residents in the Penns Manor Area School District are facing a potential $122 tax increase according to the 2014-15 preliminary budget approved last week by the school board.

On Thursday, the board approved a 12.66 mill tax increase, a slight decrease from the proposed increase of 13.5 mills proposed in March. The proposal would bring the school district’s millage rate to 120.22. One mill brings in approximately $26,500, according to business manager David Kudlawiec.

The 12.66 mill increase was approved at the state level after the district received exemptions for special education, retirement funding and bond refunding, Kudlawiec said.

Budget revenues are projected at $15,755,246 and expenses at $15,986,662. A total of $231,416 from the fund balance would be used to help make up the difference.

The budget will be on display at both the high school office and on the district's website for 30 days, according to Kudlawiec. The board is expected to vote on a final budget during the normal voting session on June 12.

Acting Superintendent Daren Johnston said that the amount one mill brings into Penns Manor justifies the millage increase when compared to other districts. One mill in the Indiana Area district, he said, brings in almost $300,000.

“There’s the comparison,” he said.

Members of the Penns Manor support staff came out in a show of support for the cafeteria workers of the district at the meeting. Negotiations with the support staff union — which includes cafeteria workers, maintenance and secretaries — continue with no immediate end in sight, according to Kudlawiec. Negotiations have been under way for the past two years, according to Johnston.

Penns Manor support staff member Mary Davis, cafeteria worker Beth Kokla and district parent Cindy Goril all showed their support during public comment.

Board President Robert Packer and boardmember Susan Wheatley assured the support staff they are valued as employees and "subbing out" the cafeteria jobs is not the board’s preference.

According to Johnston, the board found that the cafeteria was losing “almost $100,000 a year.”

The board approved a fact-finding report that requested the cafeteria workers accept a pay cut. The union rejected the report.

“I’m sure as negotiations continue, more options will become available,” Johnston said.

The board approved a motion on an 8-1 vote to enter into a contract with Metz Culinary Management for the supervision and operation of a food service program, effective July 1 through June 30, 2015. The expense to the general fund is guaranteed not to exceed $87,766.

The district has scheduled its senior awards banquet for June 9 at 6 p.m. in the multipurpose room. Baccalaureate is scheduled for June 8 at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium. Graduation is scheduled for June 11 at 7 p.m. in the football field or high school auditorium.

In other business, the board:

• Elected Joette Dudeck as the district's treasurer for a one-year term, effective July 1. The board agreed to waive the salary for this position.

• Hired Meghan Williams as varsity cheerleading coach at a salary of $3,551.

• Accepted, with regret, the resignation of Barbara Thornton as girls' junior high volleyball head coach. The position will be posted and advertised immediately if necessary.

• Voted to post and advertise the positions of social studies department head and vocational department head.

• Approved the following day-to-day substitutes: Sarah Alman, early childhood pre-K-4; special education pre-K-8; McKenzie Gross, art K-12; Catherine Krygeris, biology; Danielle Malicky, elementary and special education; Nicole Stiffler, elementary K-6; Kristine Reilly, guest teacher; and Pearl Donahey, cafeteria.

• Hired Beth Isenberg as a 3.5 hour-per-day cafeteria employee, effective May 12. Her 60-day probationary salary will be $7.25 per hour, switching to $12.05 per hour afterward.

• Approved the voluntary transfer of Mary Davis to the position of instructional assistant at $14.75 per hour, posting and advertising her vacated cleaning position.

• Extended the contract with Keystone Rehabilitation Systems for athletic trainer services at $35,450 for 2014-15. This is an increase of $1,032.

Jeremy Hartley is a staff writer for The Indiana Gazette.
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