Elk Lake reviews preliminary budget

BY PAT FARNELLI

The Elk Lake School District will balance its 2013-14 budget by eliminating positions, raising millage and borrowing from its general fund, it was announced Thursday.

During the school board meeting, a brief review of budgetary concerns was aired, and superintendent William Bush said that several resignations accepted during the meeting will be added to the list of positions that the district will not be replacing.

“We are struggling to budget with what the state has provided,” he said. “This is going to be our toughest budget.”

He said that state revenues will be $10,108,000 and that amounts to a 5.2 percent decrease. He said that at this time, the taxes will be set at 38 mils for Susquehanna County residents, and 43.1 for Wyoming County.

The present millage rate is 37.48 for Susquehanna County real estate property holders and 42.42 for Wyoming County real estate property holders.

After some discussion, a preliminary budget was approved.

Secretaries Kathy Karpich and Sandy Zapolski submitted retirement notices which were accepted with regret.

There is currently a projected deficit of $214,000, which Bush said will be taken from the general fund to balance the budget.

The Northeast Intermediate Unit fuel contract bid came in today, but the low bidder withdrew his bid and resubmitted one four cents higher, so the district decided to go with Talley Petroleum, business manager Kim Hollister said.

On Monday night, there was to be a special meeting on safety issues sometime after 7 p.m., as there would also be an executive session for contract negotiations with Williams Gathering for pipeline issues. There was also to be a 6 p.m. technology committee meeting.

Two teachers, Penny Farr and Amy Day, were honored by the Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees with the Lauretta Woodson Award during the board meeting.

Austin Cohen, chosen as Scholar of the Year, was honored for his outstanding career in forensics by his coach, Keith Brosious. Cohen charmed the board and visitors with his presentation on debate and forensics and how they have been a transformative experience in his life. He is state champion and has earned more points than anyone else in the history of Lincoln Douglas debate in the stat.

He spoke to the unique training in ethics, persuasion, and world issues that this activity has provided. To be a successful debater, it is important to find common ground with your opponent, a set of core values: to be able to find a way to relate to even your bitterest enemy, he said.
Later in the meeting, visitors and board members found themselves quoting his words.

“He would make a good school board member,” said a visitor who is a critic of the school board’s recent actions involving the pipeline contract.

“He would make a good president,” said board member Arden Tewksbury.

Bush said that negotiations are headed in a good direction, and should be coming to a resolution soon.