School board renews senior tax exchange program

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot

The Senior Citizen Tax Exchange Program will contine in Greencastle-Antrim School District. Business manager secretary Diane Haugh presented the 2012-13 figures to school board members Joel Fridgen, Melinda Cordell, Ken Haines, Eric Holtzman, Brian Hissong, Tracy Baer, Mike Still and Mike Shindle on Oct. 3.

Rebates totalling $16,571 were given to 231 taxpayers for volunteer hours utilized within the school district last year. The average reimbursement for property owners was $71.74. The hours of service to the district tended to be performed by parents in the primary and elementary schools, said Haugh. They donated their hours to the exchange program, so senior citizens could get financial credit toward their real estate taxes.

The volunteers served 2,286 hours. Under the local program, begun 21 years ago, the district calculated those hours at minimum wage and returned the value to the citizens.

“We’re not asking for any changes,” said Haugh. “If you’d like to keep it going, we’ll do the work.”

The board unanimously approved the program for 2013-14.

SAT scores

High school principal Ed Rife shared results of the Class of 2013 SAT scores. The seniors were up in every category, making their averages higher than those in Pennsylvania and the United States. The scores from 2012 to 2013 rose from 488 to 500 in reading, from 500 to 517 in math, and from 483 to 495 in writing. Rife said the number of students participating in the college placement testing also rose, from 57 percent to 64 percent.

March on

The board approved the purchase of 100 middle school marching band uniform jackets. The cost was $40,000, although the band boosters would pay half. The money was not in the budget and would come from the fund balance, said Hoover.

Band director Eric Plum said the need was real. He knew it was time “when I reach five safety pins per uniform to hold them together.”