Susquehanna ok’s $7M fund distribution

BY HELEN B. FOSTER
Correspondent

Susquehanna’s fund balance of $7,019,898 was approved for distribution at the board’s Dec. 4 meeting.

This fund balance grew by $600,000 last year and the greater portion of this fund, $5,519,898 will go to employee medical/dental; early retirement payments both existing and future; $728,000 designated for future capital improvement projects; $772 to be used as board decides.

According to a report by Business Manager Gary Kiernan, the districts fund balance is their strength and puts the board in a position to consider not raising taxes for the 2013-14 fiscal year.

The report also added the consideration of the board paying off a 2010 debt.
The district appears to be in excellent financial condition and over the short term the district can financially absorb retirement/health insurance increases that could cripple other districts, the report stated.

When the distribution came up for a vote, the board was told by Superintendent Bronson Stone the fund balance, over $7 million, could be gone in four years unless there are changes by the state.

During Stone’s report, the board was given information on a new phone system that would cost approximately $30,000 with a monthly service cost, including internet service at $2,200 per month cost that would be reimbursed at 80 percent.

The district also received a $15,000 grant from a pipeline company for a fully fenced area at the elementary school for use by the Pre-K students. Stone remarked that the gas industry has been benefactors to the district. Nothing but positive, he added.

Stone also spoke about the suicide prevention training sponsored by the county for all teachers and paraprofessionals. The training, to be held in January or February, will require a two-hour delay for students or a half day will need to be added to the school schedule.

The regular monthly school board meetings were approved at this meeting; with 2014 meetings held the third Wednesday of the month, with the exceptions of July and November when no meeting will be held; there will be an early August and December meeting. The information/deliberation meeting will be held the day before regular meetings. All meetings will begin at 7 p.m. in the administration office located in the Elementary building.

The Taxpayer Relief Act resolution governing the district’s decision not to increase any district tax for the 2014-15 school year at a rate that exceeds the index as calculated by the Pennsylvania Department of Education was approved.

Also receiving the board’s approval were additions to the substitute list as follows: Nathan Calabro, Joyce Decker and Brent Keyes. Volunteers approved were: Sarah Alexander, basketball cheerleading; Doug Phillips, 5th and 6th grade boys basketball; Aaron Callender and Paul Rooney, weight room and for elementary wrestling. Kyle Cook’s request to supervise after school weight lifting in the high school and Jeff Hall’s request to hold a winter track program were approved. Rockets Fast Pitch softball request to use school gym every other Sunday morning for practice met with board approval.
Luzerne County Community College will once again hold spring classes in the high school.

Reorganization
The Susquehanna Community School district reorganizational meeting opened with the election of Jason Chamberlain as president pro tempore. The first order of business was the swearing in of the re-elected members of the board: Lori Canfield, Amanda Cook, Carol Jackson, and Clay Weaver.
Steven Stanford will serve another term as president with Clay Weaver as vice-president. Secretary Evelyn Cottrell administered the oath of office to Stanford and Weaver and the re-elected board members.