Southmoreland to invite Porter to budget meeting

| Saturday, March 16, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Former business manager Bill Porter will be invited to attend a meeting Southmoreland School Board will have on March 21 to discuss its budget for the 2013-14 school year.

Board President Levi Miller requested the motion 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 6-3 with 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. in the middle school cafeteria.

The board also approved an amendment to a motion approved on Feb. 14 concerning early retirement incentives. That motion stated a minimum of six teachers must take the offer for it to occur. Thursday, the board voted to eliminate 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 7-2 with Alt and Fike voting against it. Alt said he could not vote for the motion since he felt that 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.

In other business, the board approved hiring Mark Adams as head football coach. Adams has been an assistant coach at Southmoreland for the past two years.

“He's done a very, very nice job for us,” Molnar said. “We have a program in place and he's been with the program. We don't want to start from scratch. We don't want another rebuilding year if we can avoid it.”

Fike cast the lone vote against hiring Adams.

Adams, who was a head coach at Leechburg for four seasons, replaces Dominic Pecora. Pecora was recently hired head coach at East Allegheny, after two seasons as Southmoreland's head coach.

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

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