Greencastle-Antrim School District sells bonds for stadium project

PAT FRIDGEN

A number of financial matters were handled during the June 2 meeting of the Greencastle-Antrim Board of School Directors. Members Paul Politis, William Thorne, Kristy Faulkner, Brian Hissong, Joel Fridgen, Mike Shindle, Melinda Cordell and Eric Holzman accepted bids and money, and approved expenditures. Howard Ritchey was absent.

The low bid of 4.01 percent interest on a general obligation bond for the Stadium Improvement Project was accepted with six approving votes. Holtzman said no and Hissong abstained without explanation. The highest of the five bids collected by Public Financial Management during the bond auction that morning was 4.28 percent. Business manager Richard Lipella said the district hoped to pay off the bond in five years, and the interest outlay would be $200,000. The timing would depend in part of the success of G-A MAAX, the capital campaign directed toward the stadium.

Holtzman asked why the board didn't consider a loan from Antrim Township. Superintendent Dr. C. Gregory Hoover said there had been no formal proposal. At the end of the April 12 township meeting, supervisor Rick Baer threw out the idea of loaning G-ASD money at a lower than market interest rate, and Antrim could also benefit from a higher rate of return than its investments were getting. The matter was never again discussed at a public township meeting.

The school board approved a contract with School Sports Media LLC to acquire advertisements for three years as an additional source of income. It accepted $630,642.34 in Pennsylvania gaming money, which will reduce property taxes for eligible households. The board also renewed an annual  contract with G.H. Harris Associates Inc. to collect delinquent per capita taxes. Lipella said the income was about $110,000 per year against the collection fee of up to $18,000. Holtzman suggested in the future eliminating what he termed a "nuisance tax".

Lipella countered that the amount equaled two-thirds of a mill. "If you drop it, you are dropping revenue."

In other business, the board granted high school teacher Shai David a compensated professional leave for the 2011-2012 school year, and accepted the resignation of Rita Hillwig, high school learning support teacher, effective Aug. 24. And citizen Kevin Jackson spoke to the board for the fourth time this spring.

"I had no intention of addressing you this week until I received an expletive-filled letter on Saturday."

The anonymous missive said he was targeted 'because you mouthed off at a director's meeting.' Previously Jackson had spoken during public comment supporting initiatives for students, such as extracurricular activities. He said Thursday he hoped other citizens did not also receive such a letter and he didn't want it to discourage anyone from participating in public discourse.