Montrose board reorganizes

BY PAT FARNELLI

The Montrose school board held their reorganization meeting Monday, but things stayed pretty much the same.

Chris Caterson was reelected board president, and Doug Wilcox was reelected vice president.

Caterson thanked the board members and said, “I’m honored to continue for another year.”

Committees also remained basically the same.

During the administrator reports section of the meeting, several spoke of the contributions and character of special education director Dr. Don Golden, who passed away recently.

Craig Owens said, “I’d like  to say something about the loss of Dr. Golden as special education director. I can’t think of a guy who cared more about the students.”

Auditor Paul Murphy presented a 56 page audit report, and said that the district had a healthy year.

During 2012, about $90,000 was spent on capital projects from the 22 fund, but Murphy said that the district “still has a very healthy nest egg.”

He noted an entry in the audit called “obligation of debt for bonds,” and said that next year, that will amount to about $732,000.

However, that obligation will go down in 2014, Murphy said.

Most of the spending was for the new administration building and the roof project which were both completed this year.

The food service program, a budgetary stumbling block for many districts, has been self sustaining, he said. The cafeterias are not really making any profit, but are managing well.

 

He also referred to “the elephant in the room, pension expenses,” which increased by a little over $300,000 just in the last year.

He noted that the district got through the hurdles without raising millage. “You got through the year, and it was a good year,” he concluded.

During the regular meeting, the board passed a resolution not to raise taxes above the PDE approved index for the 2013-14 annual budget.

Also, the board voted to provide bus contractors with a five percent additional stipend above the current contract for 2012-13 fiscal year, the first to be paid this month and the second in June.

The funds for the stipend will come from the budgetary reserve.

Caterson remarked, “The bus drivers have attended many meetings and made presentations, and that the state reimbursements plus what we can give them is just not enough, so we decided to do this.”

High school principal James Tallarico thanked Heather Winn, play director, for the successful show “The Wizard of OZ.”

He also mentioned a program called “Schools for Sandy,” which involves all of the Susquehanna and Wyoming County schools working together to benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy on Staten Island. Their efforts will be coordinated by a Staten Island fire company, he said.

MrThe next meeting will be held on Monday, Jan. 14 at 7 p.m. at Choconut Valley Elementary School LGI.

There will be a community advisory meeting on Thursday, Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. in the superintendent’s office.