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Southmoreland board invites Porter to budget meeting

| Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Former business manager Bill Porter was invited to attend a meeting the Southmoreland School Board will have tonight to discuss the budget for the 2013-14 school year.

Board President Levi Miller requested the motion at the board's March 14 meeting to have Porter on hand to address certain issues that may arise.

“Many questions have been raised in regards to early retirement incentives, the benefits of those regarding insurance,” Miller said after the meeting. “The question of fund balance has repeatedly been raised here. He is going to be addressing those issues as our nearby authority on the topic.”

The motion passed by a 6-3 vote of the board with school directors Catherine Fike, Ken Alt and Josie Kauffman voting no.

“I'm so sick, I can't vote no fast enough,” Fike said when the vote was taken.

“You have no right to do this,” she said to Miller as he proposed the motion to bring in someone who no longer works for the district. “This is our board. This is our school district.”

School Director Gail Rhodes felt having Porter at the meeting would be a good move and made the motion for such action.

“He'll be able to give us the facts based on his long term of employment with our district,” she said. “He is, by all means, an expert...He'd be the perfect one to come in and give us the facts.”

The meeting to discuss the budget will be held at 7 p.m. March 21 in the middle school cafeteria.

The board also approved an amendment to a motion approved Feb. 14 concerning early retirement incentives. That motion stated a minimum of six teachers were required to take the offer for it to take place. Thursday, the board voted to remove that minimum teacher requirement.

“We did not have six participants,” said Superintendent John Molnar after the meeting. “We're looking to save. We're looking to balance a budget here. If we're able to get the individuals we have that's a substantial step toward balancing a budget.”

The motion passed by a 7-2 vote with Alt and Fike voting against it. Alt said he could not vote for the motion since he felt often when a teacher did take an early retirement they were simply replaced.

Molnar said he didn't intend to replace the teachers who may accept this early retirement package.

“My intent is to not replace those positions, however that's not a guarantee,” he said.

Finally, the board unanimously approved a calendar for the 2013-2-14 school year.

The starting date for teachers will be Aug. 21, with students beginning classes Aug. 26. The students' last day will be May 30 with teachers last day set for June 3.

Paul Paterra is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-887-6101 or ppaterra@tribweb.com.

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