Expenditures Top School Board Meeting Agenda
By Sandra Raub
At the regular monthly meeting of the Elk Lake School Board held on Nov. 17, all three principals gave positive reports on the activities of their respective schools. Some highlights of the recent events included the ongoing breakfast program at the elementary school, which has received much positive commentary, and was especially noted by board President Chuck Place.
Board Vice-President Arden Tewksbury gave a glowing review of the recent Veterans’ Day activities conducted at the school, expressing great pride in the performance and behavior of all the students who participated, showing special appreciation for the respect the students showed for the visiting veterans.
Other business conducted included the approval to officially extend the paid hours of secretaries in the high school to match the hours worked by the other secretaries, and to compensate them for the hours they have worked without pay thus far this school year.
Approval was also given for the district to cover the cost of obtaining the proper clearances required by law, including fingerprinting for volunteers who work in the elementary building. The benefit of these important individuals to the students is firmly established, according to the board.
Superintendent William Bush reported that the new ventilation unit in the pool area had been installed and was scheduled to be operating on Nov. 20, and up to speed following the Thanksgiving holiday, with a possible one month adjustment period to follow as settings are tweaked. Bush also asked for and was granted board approval on the replacement of one section of roof that had not been replaced in recent years.
Another expense brought to the board’s attention was the request for funds to be transferred from the reserve to food service. According to Bush, the cafeteria is operating in the red and changes must be made. Approval was given by the board to increase the cost of extra lunch portions by .10, a change that will take effect after the Christmas break.
The September flooding had effects that are still being felt in the school district, some good and some not so good, as indicated by topics discussed at the Nov. 17 meeting of the school board.
On the positive side, the board received a thank you letter from Interfaith for the school’s assistance in gathering needed items for those families who lost much to the devastation.
There will be a change in one bus contract stemming directly from flood damage, due to a bridge that is still out, stated Bush, but the increase in miles is minimal. There was also some lengthy discussion on how reassessment of properties in Meshoppen Township and the borough due to flood damage will affect the district’s tax coffers.
According to figures released at a meeting between the Elk Lake business office, the Wyoming County tax collectors and the Wyoming County Assessment Office, a reduction of approximately $445,000 and $32,150 in the township and borough, respectively, will translate into an approximate loss of $19,691 and $1,423 in tax revenues based on last year’s millage rates.
Claims for tax reduction must be made through the assessment office, and at this time there are some property owners who have not yet responded to the office’s request to review damages. It has yet to be determined how much tax revenue reduction may occur as a result, because although destroyed properties will be reduced in value, some may be rebuilt and therefore increase, while others may not. No further data is available at this time.
Two final notes related to school bus safety were brought before the board, the first by Place, who as a district bus driver has reported that incidents of drivers passing stopped buses with flashing lights has become a problem, which causes him serious concern. He proposed that the district utilize cameras mounted on the outside of the buses that can capture the license plate of violating vehicles, and volunteered his own bus for the plan. The proposition is under consideration. The second safety concern was brought by a visitor, asking about the possibility of lighting in the far section of the bus parking lot, now that drivers are arriving in the pre-dawn hours. Bush affirmed that he would look into the situation.