Brookville Schoolboard Approves Proposed Budget with 6-3 Vote

????????????????????????????????????BROOKVILLE, Pa. (EYT) – The Brookville Area School Board (BASB) approved its 2017-2018 Proposed General Budget at Monday night’s meeting.

This meeting marked the culmination of many lengthy reports and discussions on the budget, but would not be the final say in exactly how the budget was laid out. While a proposed budget had to be approved by the end of this month, the final budget won’t require approval until the end of June.

Brookville Area School District (BASD) Math teacher, James Overly, started the meeting off by recognizing the Students of the Month, the Extra Effort Students, and the Teachers of the Month for May.

Students of the Month for May included, Chloe Smith, Zack Keihl, Kayla Johnson, Madison Neiswonger, Kai Sorbin, and Laken Hergert.

The Extra Effort Students for May were Emma Afton, Cassandra Bailey, Emily Kramer, Kyle Hall, Brandon McGranor, and Melissa Visakay.

Finally, the Teachers of the Month for May were Tina Zimmerman (Elementary School) and Angi Bowser (High School).

Next up was Melinda Burton’s 5th grade STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) team, which presented the board with their “Stem Design Challenge” project. The STEM team consists of Emma Kimmel, Caleb Kornbau, Jack Gill, and Karina Thornton. They were tasked with designing an amusement park using K’Nex building materials. The only catch, it had to be environmentally friendly. The 5th grade team did an amazing job of creating a model amusement park with the theme “field of dreams”, which utilized wind and water power. They did an even better job of presenting their creation to the board, and they’ll be doing that same thing this Friday at the STEM Design Challenge in Harrisburg. This will be the third year that Brookville has sent a STEM team to the state level of the competition.

Levi Roseman addressed the board next. As the Student Representative to the BASB, Roseman has been tasked all year with keeping the line of communication open between the students, faculty, and school board members. Roseman thanked the school board and the Brookville Area School District for all the educational and extracurricular activities that he’s taken advantage of, and stressed the importance of an open line of communication between students, faculty, administration, school board members, and the community.

“What seems to be the most effective ingredient in the most cohesive districts? I’d argue that’s communication,” said Roseman “I think in the last year alone, we’ve made tremendous gains in the area of communication… However, when you start at the board of directors, go through administrators, then through teachers, and finally reach kids, it can be hard to maintain a common vision. So please, members of the board, be sensitive to the responsibility of our administrative team and continue to cooperate with them in more connected ways.”

Roseman is one of two students of the 2017 BASD Graduating Class headed to an Ivy League School (Dartmouth) in the fall.

Dr. Robin Fillman congratulated five BASD teachers – Cody Wells, Andilynne Kalkbrenner, Amanda Carrico, Alison Bernat, and Nancee Miles – in her Superintendent’s Report. Each of these instructors will filmed by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) using the Thoughtful Classroom strategy in the upcoming weeks.

Fillman also reminded the board that the BASD would be sending out a press release to remind Brookville community members that the school grounds would be restricted to school related activities during regular school hours, but would still be open to the public during the summer and hours when school is not in session.

The Board discussed posting a job opening for a physical education instructor or leaving the position unfilled and moving one of the elementary physical education instructors to the high school level. The discussion was tabled until more information could be provided to the board.

The Treasurer’s Report from April 30th, 2017 was approved

The Monetary Report, Expenditure Report, and Board Summary Report/Revenue Report from April 30th, 2017 were all approved.

The List of Bills and Budget Transfers from April 30th, 2017 was approved.

The Federal Program Revenue and Expenditure Reports from April 30th, 2017 were approved.

After these quick approvals, the BASB along with BASD Business Administrator, Ellen Neyman, had a lengthy discussion on the status of the 2017-2018 proposed budget. Currently, the General Fund Budget is set at $25,292,722, which is a decrease from last year’s budget by $221,493.

Neyman broke down the 2017-2018 budget to the dollar amount. “Out of every dollar spent (on the budget), 55 cents goes to instruction, 24 cents goes to support services… 2 cents goes to non-instructional services (athletics), 9 cents goes to maintaining the facilities, and 10 cents goes to financing our debt service.”

With the proposed budget in place, Brookville community members would see an increase in local tax as follows; Real Estate Tax: 3.5%, Earned Income Tax: 1%, Real Estate Transfer Tax: 1%, Local Services Tax: $10.00. This includes a levy of the occupational tax, which has not been used since 2008.

The question that has been plaguing recent school board meetings is, why would we need to increase taxes if our budget is less than what it’s been in previous years? The simple answer (although a school district’s budget plan is far from simple) is a lack of funding from the state that has been there in previous years.

This (tax increase) is because we lost 600,000 from our KTO (Keystones to Opportunity Initiative),” said BASB member, Kerith Strano-Taylor. “We spent months talking about where we could save money, where we could cut, and how we could raise revenue.”

“I don’t think any of us want to raise taxes, but the only way to make this as equitable as we can is to spread the burden off of the people that own property. Property owners are the only bearers of the burden (right now) and that doesn’t seem equitable.”

However, before a vote could be made on the 2017-2018 Proposed Budget Approval, there were several other items to get through.

Commitments for OPEB (Other Post-Employment Benefits) Liability ($838,173) and PSERS (Pennsylvania State Employee’s Retirement System) Stabilization Fund ($4,852,358) were both approved.

A Capital Reserve Fund transfer in the amount of $236,310 was approved.

Finally, the adoption of the 2017-2018 BASD Proposed Budget went up for a vote. School board president, Frank Bartley, read the terms of the budget a final time before putting the item up for a roll call vote. The BASB members voted as follows: John Pozza, yes; Carol Schindler, no; Michael Smith, no; Kerith Strano-Taylor, yes; Frank Bartley, no; Roberta Ganoe, yes; Don Gill, yes; Melinda Hall, yes; Fred Park, yes.

With a vote of 6-3 the 2017-2018 Proposed General Fund Budget was approved. It’s important to note that this is not the finalized budget and any changes can still be made to it before the end of June.

An extra-curricular activities policy was approved for a first reading.

The Memorandum of Agreement between the BASD and the Brookville Educational Personnel Association was approved.

The job description for the elementary office secretary was approved.

The proposed dates for summer school (June 13 – July 21) were approved.

The hiring of Manito Educational Services for summer school ($2,350) as well as four Teachers of Record was approved.

The discussion of whether BASD would enter into an agreement with Manito Educational Services for the 2017-2018 school year was tabled for a later date.

The tentative list of BASD graduates for 2017 was approved.

The anticipated 2016-2017 Annual Awards and Scholarships was approved.

Marcie Plyler’s status as a long term substitute effective May 12th, 2017 was approved.

Dr. Fillman added several addendums to the list of items up for board approval, which included recommendations that Brian Kimberly, David Taylor, Jennifer Lewis, and Michelle Hanley-Kimberly be employed by the BASD. All recommendations were approved.

The Brookville Area School Board will meet again on June 12th, 2017.

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