School board refinances bonds and reviews budget figures

PAT FRIDGEN

The Greencastle-Antrim School District will be getting a $271,700 refund next year, thanks to the sale of two sets of 2005 general obligation bonds. The board adopted a resolution March 4 to approve the refinancing after hearing details from Gregg McLanahan, consultant with Public Financial Management. The savings was $100,000 higher than McLanahan had predicted in January. The principal of the Series of 2010 bonds was $7,035,000.

Business manager Richard Lipella updated the board on budget figures for 2010-2011. He projected revenue of $31.1 million and expenditures of $33.5 million. The district would operate at a $2.4 million deficit if taxes were not increased.

With the maximum increase of 3.2 mills under the Act 1 index, an additional $580,000 would be raised. To operate a balanced budget, Lipella said the district would have to take $1.8 million out of reserves.

Expenditures are expected to rise 1.19 percent from this year's adjusted budget, and revenues are expected to be down 2.85 percent.

The board will approve the preliminary budget April 15.

Bob Crider, Director of Education, sat in for superintendent Greg Hoover, who was performing at the Rescue Hose Company Minstrel Show.

Classes get the ok

Classes for summer and fall were approved. The high school third semester curriculum, which runs June 14 to July 16, includes five accelerated or elective classes that will be held on campus: English 9, Essentials of English 1, Wellness, 2-D and Graphic Design, and Art in the 20th Century.

Blended Schools classes will be taken from home as online courses, but the student will meet with the teacher once a week at school. Those classes are U.S. in Modern World Affairs, English 10 World Literature, American Literature, British Literature, The Bible as Literature, African American Literature, Earth Science and Biology. These classes are free to G-AHS students.

Credit recovery courses will also be offered at $160 for local students and $235 for out-of-district students. Those include English 9, English 10, English 11, English 12, Algebra 1, American History, Earth Science, Biology, Civics and U.S. in Modern World Affairs. Some courses could be dropped if there is not sufficient enrollment.

The board also picked up a conversation from the previous meeting, when high school principal Ed Rife suggested allowing wellness credit for students participating in athletics. It could affect 50 students, who would apply for the credit, and they would have to complete the season of a PIAA sport.

Rife said the trade-off was the students wouldn't be able to take the health portion of the class. However, since it was only a 40 minute class, it would free up time for the students to enroll in an 80-minute full credit class. The credit from sports would be graded pass/fail.

The board approved the measure, open to juniors and seniors. The time commitment for sports guaranteed adequate hours of exercise.

Student board member Jake Statler had heard from peers who also wanted an elective credit for participating in drama. Administrators considered the point valid but said the number of hours would not be enough to replace academic time required for a course. There was also not a specific class it could replace.

Personnel

The board met in executive session for an hour and 20 minutes on personnel items.

It accepted the recommendation of the Pupil Personnel Committee to expel a 16 year old boy who brought an airsoft gun to school on Feb. 23. The junior will attend Manito and be on social probation. His case will be reviewed in a year, said Rife. He had had other discipline issues in the past.

The board split on whether to dismiss a support staff employee. Favoring termination were William Thorne, Paul Politis, Kristy Faulkner and Joel Fridgen. Opposed were Arnie Jansen, Eric Holtzman, Howard Ritchey and Mike Shindle. Brian Hissong was absent. After a quick review of Roberts Rules of Order, the board determined that the motion failed and the employee still had a job.

In other business the board approved revised Articles of Agreement for renovations at the Franklin County Career and Technology Center. Greencastle's share had waivered depending on what Chambersburg intended to do for a new school. Since state funding had not materialized as hoped for to construct its own education center, the large district reverted to the first plan to modernize the 40-year-old tech center. It will also purchase land adjacent to FCCTC from the Franklin County Technical School Authority for its own academic wing, but its students will continue to take some courses at FCCTC. The buildings will be connected by a walkway.

Each participating school district will pay a share of the improvements. The board was satisfied that Greencastle's share remained at the original 13.78 percent of construction costs, capped at $13 million.