Fridgen named to fill school board seat in Greencastle-Antrim

MEGAN HERR, The Record Herald Contact Megan Herr at 717-762-2151, or on Twitter: @mherr_RH

The Greencastle-Antrim School Board appointed a new board member at its meeting Thursday night.

Pat Fridgen was unanimously selected to serve the remainder of Lura Hanks’ term. Hanks, who was just past the halfway mark of her first term, resigned in April for personal reasons.

“There were seven applicants and they were all very good. There were a lot of really interesting answers and good ideas. It was a good experience,” said Jim Winslow, president of the board.

“The people we don’t choose I hope will consider running again,” said board member Linda Farley.

Paul Politis agreed before nominating Fridgen. “They were all good. There’s three or four that I hate to be saying no to, but that being said, I would like to nominate Pat Fridgen.”

G-ASD Superintendent Dr. C. Gregory Hoover said Fridgen would be sworn in Friday morning and should join the board at their next meeting on June 2.

“I want to say thank you very much,” said Fridgen following the vote.

Budget discussion

The board also discussed the proposed budget following another presentation by G-ASD Business Manager Jolinda Wilson, who also discussed the budget at a public meeting held a few weeks ago.

The proposed $39 million spending plan, which was approved at the May 5 meeting and can be altered before the final vote, includes 3.19-mill property tax increase.

“In order to move forward, I had to have some kind of direction,” said Wilson. “This is by far not a final budget.”

According to Wilson, if the tax increase is approved, the average taxpayer will see a $75 increase which is expected to raise $615,101 for the district.

Wilson presented how the budget compared to previous years.

“We are not in an as optimistic position as we were in 2014-2015, but we also have some pretty good reasons why,” said Wilson.

“I understand that it is your job to balance the budget and you would probably love if we could increase it 9 mills but in your presentation, you show both sides and I appreciate that,” said board member Brian Hissong. “In fairness, we don’t have all the data and knowledge and you could hide it, so I just want to thank you for that.”

“In reality, we just have to roll with the punches. We don’t really have any way of knowing where we’ll be in 10 years. I think JC’s (Jolinda Wilson’s) suggestion of slowly increasing the millage each year is really the only realistic way to go,” said Politis.

When preparing the budget, the administration asked Wilson to add several items including three new teachers, a new math curriculum, technology projects, a custodial supervisor and cameras for buses. The items total $608,500.

The board discussed the possibility of taking something out but decided to try and look at other options and discuss it again at the next meeting.

“I think we have a direction to go in,” said Hoover. “We’re going to take the items the board suggested and look for ways that we can refinance to keep them in the budget.”

The board will discuss the budget again at the June 2 meeting before voting on June 16.