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No expectation of tax increase

By Staff | Jun 3, 2020

MUNCY-Muncy School Board members do not expect to raise taxes in the 2020-21 proposed final budget.

If given final approval next month, the budget, which unanimously passed initial approval Monday, May 18, will maintain the current tax rate at 16.72 mills for district homeowners.

School board members said at the ZOOM meeting, held virtually through a call-in format for taxpayers, that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy and employment is a major factor in resisting any tax increase.

Although it passed the budget as is, in order to advertise it for the required amount of time, the board did retain the option to enact an increase before the final vote on the budget in June.

With expenditures coming in at $18,920,048 and expected revenue at $18,261,800, the district currently faces a deficit of $658,248. The administration had vowed to continue to cut costs in order to decrease the deficit before the final vote.

The board also set the earned income tax at 1.25 percent, real estate transfer at .5 percent and local services at $5.00, all with no changes to the current rates.

Dr. Craig Skaluba, district superintendent, cautioned the board that early projections estimate that the Act 1 index, which determines the amount that districts can raise taxes, is expected to be lower next year than it has been, so that if the district needs to raise taxes for 2021-22, they may be limited in the amount they can raise them.

Under old business, the board approved the renegotiation of the district’s 2019-20 contract with Susquehanna Transit at 75 percent of the current contract, pending approval by the district’s solicitor. This includes any retroactive payments as well as any remaining payments for the current school year.

The renegotiation was in accordance with legislation passed by the state as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The board approved the following agreements:

A four-year Chromebook lease for 600 devices at $52,731 per year with Firefly.

Elementary swipe card reader replacement with Siemens at a cost of $18,739.

Student teaching affiliation renewal with Lock Haven University.

Measure of academic progress (MAP) growth for grades K-12 with Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) at a cost of $10,260.

Tax processing service for 2020, to include printing, postage and mailing, with Infocon Corporation at a cost of plus or minus $1750.

A change order of $14,260 for fan-powered box motor wiring was approved by the board. This change order is associated with the Jr./Sr. high school addition and renovations project. The district will be reimbursed for the amount of this change order.

The board okayed three summer programs for district students: kindergarten summer readiness distance learning at a cost not to exceed $4,000; special education extended school year service for summer 2020, which will include interpreting services and the summer school distance learning courses for Muncy Jr./Sr. High school students through Equip at a cost of $75 per course.

Connected to these programs, the board approved teachers Anne Johnson, Rae Pitchford, John Tewksbury, Mauria Sleboda and Meg Hoffman to participate in the summer readiness distance learning for kindergarten students at the current homebound instructional rate of $29 per hour. Kelly Groover and Kim Price were approved as extended school year distance learning program teachers at the same rate.

Fall and winter 2020 coaching appointments approved by the board are:

Cindie Lytle, volunteer field hockey.

Joe Tedesco, head Jr. High softball.

Mike Kuhns, assistant Jr. High softball.

Raychelle Ulmer, volunteer Jr. High softball.

Ed Rogers, head varsity girls basketball.

Royce Eyer, head varsity wrestling.

Jason Gresh, head varsity basketball.

The school board also appointed several Title I teachers and tutors funded through the federal Title I allocation. These appointments would serve in the extended day program and/or at community events.

Technology agreements for Ward L. Myers Elementary School and Muncy Jr./Sr. High School were approved as well as the revised English Learner’s Plan.

Members present at the virtual meeting were: Carla Auten, Joseph Earnest, David Edkin, David Frederick, Steven Hill, Scott Johnson, Lisa Sleboda and Kim Walker. Absent: Sarah Woodward.

The next board meeting will be at 7 p.m. June 22.