The Elk Lake School Board adopted a final $22 million budget for 2020-21, with property taxes jumping 3.08 percent in Wyoming County and 1.23 percent in Susquehanna County.

This moves the millage rate in Wyoming County to 60.1930 mills and Susquehanna County to 47.666 mills.

“This is an unbalanced budget. There is a revenue shortfall of $737,827.74,” Superintendent Ken Cuomo said during Thursday’s board meeting. Funds will be taken from committed funds in that amount “to address retirement increases, retirement payouts… as well as the remaining shortfall.”

The budget also includes projected grant funding on the revenue side from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act and a Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency COVID-19 School Health and Safety grant.

Over the next year, the administration plans to look for possible budget cuts, and Cuomo said the intent is to “not to even come close to using this amount of committed funds.” With the COVID-19 pandemic, he expects that all schools in Pennsylvania are in the same boat.

“This is probably going to be across the state the ugliest budgets that school districts are going to see,” he said.

The board approved a final budget for the Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center totaling $5,708,153. The tuition for high school students is set at $8,573.86.

Also on the SCCTC side, the board hired Gary Fenton to serve as assistant executive director at a salary of $85,000 with a three-year compensation plan before appointing him as a pandemic plan co-coordinator alongside SCCTC Executive Director Alice Davis.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education requires each school district to have a plan for reopening, Cuomo said. Principals John Warnero and Marc Weisgold will serve as co-coordinators for Elk Lake.

The goal is to have a plan ready for adoption by the July board meeting.

“This will be a living, breathing document as conditions change, as science changes, as our community changes, but our intent is to be back in school in brick and mortar in the fall,” Cuomo said.

Warnero also discussed the preliminary COVID-19 athletics plan for Elk Lake based on news from the state government and the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletics Association.

“The return to play is going to be a long process and there’s a lot of work to go into it,” he said.

A phased reopening of voluntary workouts can resume July 1 following strict guidelines.

“We’re hoping seasons continue, but that has not been the statement yet,” he said.

The plan is available through BoardDocs on elklakeschool.org.

The board also approved the following on Thursday:

  • The 2020-21 professional interview committee. (EL)
  • A Title III consortium memorandum of understanding with the Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit 19 for English learners. (EL)
  • An intergovernmental agreement with NEIU19 for special education services. (EL)
  • The Annual School Safety and Security Board Report. (EL and CTC)
  • A dual enrollment agreement with Keystone College for 2020-21. (EL)
  • An agreement with Head Start for 2020-21. (EL)
  • An agreement to participate in the Pennsylvania School-Based ACCESS Program for 2020-21. (EL)
  • Extended school year positions: Victoria Hoal (elementary) and Cheri Tamburro (secondary). (EL)
  • A compensation plan for crisis counselor Jenna Szymaszek, effective June 18, 2020 through June 30, 2023: $53,561.30 for 2020-21, $55,769.24 for 2021-22, and $57,950.71 for 2022-23. (EL)
  • Summer credit recovery positions. (EL)
  • A per capita exoneration for a resident in Rush Twp. (EL)

A three-year agreement with auditor Murphy, Dougherty & Company ($23,350 for 2020, $23,850 for 2021, and $24,350 for 2023). (EL and CTC)

  • 2020-21 operational/fiscal needs. (EL and CTC)
  • Broome Bituminous Products, Inc. as the lowest bidder for an asphalt paving rehabilitation project at $142,080 to be paid out of capital reserves. (EL)
  • Commercial driver’s license training/licensing fees. (EL)
  • The retirement of Linda Hoover from her position in the healthcare technology department. (CTC)
  • Jane Osborne ($56,391) and Ashlynn Jennings ($50,234) as healthcare technology instructors. (CTC)
  • The placement of Employee #159 on unpaid administrative leave pending confirmation on the status of their certification. (CTC)
  • Advertising for a welding technology instructor position. (CTC)
  • Bid acceptances for small engine, cosmetology and welding. (CTC)
  • The purchase of a 2020 Chevrolet Impala ($23,940) and a 2020 Chevrolet Suburban 4WD ($39,166) from Bob Fisher Chevrolet. (CTC)

Staff Writer

Brooke joined the Wyoming County Press Examiner staff as a reporter in December of 2018 after graduating... Read More...

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