BUSINESS

Greencastle-Antrim School Board meets with politicians; makes offer to buy Foremost office building

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot

Greencastle-Antrim school board members heard from their state senator at a Town Hall meeting Thursday, then went to their own delayed meeting and heard from their state representative. Both legislators spoke about the stalemate with the 2015-2016 Pennsylvania budget.

Sen. John Eichelberger Jr. met with people at Besore Memorial Library at 6 p.m. Rep. Paul Scheml offered to share his perspective at the 7:30 p.m. school board meeting.

The Republican statesmen made similar comments about the inequity of education funding, the PSERS crisis on taxpayers, and what the future could be if viable solutions were not found.

Schemel said, “In 15 years the pension obligation will sink the ship of state. We will then need a massive increase in taxes or require significant cuts in services. Sixty-two percent of the budget will go toward pensions.”

School board member Eric Holtzman responded, “We have to fund PSERS but change it, and not push it down the road to the next generation.”

Quick business

Holtzman, Jim Winslow, Tracy Baer, Paul Politis, Lura Hanks, Mike Still, Brian Hissong, and Linda Farley acted on financial matters for the district. Shannon Yates was absent.

The board agreed to pursue the purchase of the Foremost property on Buchanan Trail West for administrative offices. The offer was $570,000.

Business manager Jolinda Wilson said the appraisals came in at $540,000 and $600,000, so they chose to land in the middle.

“This is our best and final offer,” she said.

The only outstanding issue was what Foremost would do with its furniture.

Supt. Greg Hoover said the facility was turn-key ready, and the district would spend about $25,000 for renovations.

The board also authorized Public Financial Management to put out to bid two general obligation bonds on competitive internet auctions. The $8.8 million, Series of 2016, would be used for the Foremost purchase, energy saving projects at the middle school this year, and at the elementary and primary schools in the summer of 2017. The re-funding of the Series of 2011 bonds was to gain a better interest rate. The board required a savings of at least $43,000, but PFM predicted it would be $102,000.