Southmoreland director seeks formation of fiscal solvency committee
A Southmoreland school director who painted a bleak financial picture for the district earlier this month, pushed for the formation of an ad hoc fiscal solvency planning committee Tuesday but her motion failed.
Catherine Fike moved to have a committee formed to develop short-term (one year), intermediate term (two to three years) and long-term (four to five years) plans.
“It's for us to get started in a very solid way,” Fike said. “It's the board's responsibility to keep this district fiscally solvent...We fit nowhere in the budget process. It's handed to us, take it or leave it.”
The motion failed by a 5-4 vote of the board. Joining Fike in voting in favor of the motion were school directors Ken Alt, Jason Pawlikowsky and Josie Kauffman. Voting against the motion were school directors Gail Rhodes, Levi Miller, Aimee Love, James Beistel and board President Michael Bentz.
“This is stuff that could be done by the planning committee and it's all stuff that is being done,” Bentz said. “We don't need the motion to have it done.”
“I think the intent of this is totally honorable,” Miller said. “In some ways, I see this motion as being the job as the board as a whole. We as a school board should be dealing with that.”
Alt was not happy with the way the vote unfolded, even saying he was disgusted.
“This is a disgrace that this was not a 9-0 vote,” he said shortly after the vote was taken. “Everybody should have been on board.”
Among the tasks of the committee would have been the preservation of the fund balance, ensuring it was not used to pay ongoing expenses. The committee members would have been appointed at December's reorganization meeting.
Paul Paterra is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-887-6101 and firstname.lastname@example.org.