No one rose to speak during a public hearing on the Gettysburg Area School District’s (GASD) proposed 2019-2020 budget, which includes a 1.18-percent tax increase.
The hike equals $32.89 per year for a property assessed at the district average of $255,532, or about $2.74 per month, officials said.
Final adoption is on the agenda for June 17, when the board is to meet at 7 p.m. in the administration building board room at 900 Biglerville Road north of Gettysburg.
Officials will “take one more look” at cost and revenue projections to fine-tune the proposed budget prior to the vote, GASD Superintendent Jason Perrin said.
The draft budget includes approximately $220,000 in special budget requests: $41,861 to $83,721 for a part-time or full-time music teacher; $48,937 for boys’ and girls’ lacrosse teams; and $87,167 for a full-time social worker at the high school.
The draft proposal includes $63.7 million in revenues and $67.4 million in expenditures. Closing that gap would be $3.7 million from the unassigned fund account that accumulates from year to year like a savings account. The amount would be $315,224 more than last year’s unassigned fund balance withdrawal.
The proposed increase is about half of the state’s maximum without a referendum, Perrin said. It would be in line with the district’s goal of raising taxes “incrementally” rather than imposing sudden large increases years apart, he said.
Sixty-eight percent of the district’s revenue come from local taxes, while state and federal sources account for 30 and 2 percent, respectively, Perrin said.
Employees’ pay and benefits account for 61 percent of the district’s costs, which is in line with districts across the state, Perrin said.
Last month, the board voted 8-1 to advertise the draft budget, setting the stage for Monday’s public hearing. Treasurer Kenneth Hassinger cast the lone “no” vote in May.
After Monday’s formal public hearing, resident Michael Shestok rose to say he is satisfied with the education offered by the district, but he is not “pleased with the cost.”
“Any dollar is important to me because I’m a senior citizen,” said Shestok.
He also called on the district to cut weeds in Schoolhouse Alley behind Lincoln Elementary School in Gettysburg and to limit parking in the lot there to prevent liquids from tour buses and recreational vehicles from entering storm drains.
In other business, the board recognized new retirees with applause, certificates, gifts, and an ice cream reception.
Sixteen district employees were honored.
Among them was Gina Robertson, who taught art for 40 years at Lincoln Elementary.
Others with at least 30 years’ seniority were: Joy Boden, health and physical education teacher, Gettysburg Area High School (GAHS); Ann Jacobs, math teacher, GAHS; Luann Klunk, lead secretary, Lincoln Elementary; Josephine Pelc, health and physical education teacher, Franklin Township Elementary School; and Kathleen Thomas, social studies teacher, Gettysburg Area Middle School.
Vida on agenda
Also expected June 17, officials said, is consideration of Vida Charter School’s request for a five-year extension of its charter, which expires at the end of November.
The elementary school, which provides bilingual education in Spanish and English, leases space in GASD’s Eisenhower Center at Old Harrisburg Road and East Broadway in Gettysburg.
Vida’s leadership team has been “very responsible and very conscientious” in assembling documentation and answering questions during the charter renewal process, Perrin said.
The renewal includes changes in gifted education, Josef Brandauer, Vida board president, said after the meeting.
The proposal would drop the current state-defined process, which includes significant involvement by GASD, and instead bring it “in house” so decisions can be “based on knowing the needs and abilities” of individual students, he said.
Vida’s intention for gifted education is “to improve it, not get rid of it,” Brandauer said.
GASD and the Hanover Public School District both charter Vida. Perrin said he has been in communication with Hanover officials. Hanover’s board also plans to consider the matter June 17, he said.
Hanover officials’ approach has been to let GASD handle the charter renewal process “and share information with them,” Perrin said.
“Charter schools were created to provide opportunities for teachers, parents, students and community members to establish and maintain schools that operate independently from the existing school district structure,” according to the Pennsylvania Department of Education website.
Also Monday, the GASD board approved replacement of the Eisenhower Center’s roof by David M. Maines Associates for $619,850. Funding will come from GASD’s capital projects fund as part of the district’s five-year capital plan.