Wellsboro School Board Eliminates Four Jobs

Wellsboro HornetsOn Tuesday, June 7th, the Wellsboro Area School District school board decided to cut four jobs in order to avoid raising taxes and balance the 2016-2017 budget.

The following three positions are scheduled to be eliminated on July 1st: the full-time special education secretary, the full-time head custodian, and the part-time custodian. The elimination of the full-time special education secretary will save $39,000, while the elimination of the two custodian positions will save $56,718. The board members are scheduled to take action on the elimination of the positions at the board meeting next Tuesday.

Head custodian Ralph Toph will still be employed full-time because of his seniority. However, there will be a reduction in his salary. Full-time custodian Janet Hale will have part-time employment and she will not be on salary or have benefits. Part-time custodian Richard Ralph will be furloughed and will not have employment or salary. By July 1st, the full-time special education secretary position will be vacated due to retirement. The responsibilities of the special education secretary might go to other people on the secretarial staff. The elimination of these four positions should save $205,058.

Although the full-time Wellsboro High School assistant principal position was not a part of the June 14th agenda, the salary and benefits for the position were removed from the 2016-2017 budget. The salary for this position is $109,340. As of December 24th, 2015, when Rob Kreger became principal, the position has stayed open. David Krick retired on December 23rd, 2015.

At the May 19th budget and finance committee meeting, board members discussed the possible elimination of the full-time federal programs coordinator/director of curriculum and instruction position in order to keep the high school assistant principal position. The full-time federal programs coordinator/director of curriculum and instruction position is held by Pat Hewitt, who is also the acting Superintendent. During the work session on June 7th, Board President Matt Feil said the responsibilities could go to the high school assistant principal position. It is not known if Hewitt would then become the assistant principal.

The 2016-2017 expenditure projection is $25,262,680, while the income is $24,727,592. The district has a projected shortfall of $535,088. The district will use $423,870 from the retirement reserves. Unassigned fund balances will be used for the rest of the $111,218 shorfall. According to business manager Bonnie Thompson, there is $107,000 estimated in surplus funds from the 2015-2016 school year. However, Thompson noted there were more bills that had yet to come in. According to Thompson, there is a $1,086,231 projected budget shortfall for the 2017-2018 school year. For the 2018-2019 school year there is a projected budget shortfall of $1,632,394. For the 2019-2020 school year, there is a projected budget shortfall of $2,195,308. For the 2020-2021 school year, there is a projected budget shortfall of $2,741,450. Thompson advised against not raising taxes due to increases in contracts.

At this time, a property tax increase is not expected for the 2016-2017 budget. Property owners in Tioga County will have a millage increase of 0.032. That will bring the millage to 17.8440 from 17.8120, or 0.18% increase in taxes. For instance, a property assessed at $100,000 would see a $3.20 increase. Property owners in Lycoming County will have a millage decrease of 0.227. That will bring the millage to 13.7570 from 13.9840, or a 1.65% decrease. For instance, a property assessed at $100,000 would see a $22.70 decrease.

The following people attended the work session on Tuesday evening: Feil, Duane Cotner, John Hoover, and Tim McCratic (he attended via speaker phone). The following people were absent: Sue Judlin, Chris Gastrock, Stewart Burrous, Denise Sherman, and Wayne Hackett. The meeting was held at the Large Group Instruction room in the high school.