Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
Octorara school officials honored
BY DEBBIE WYGENT, Correspondent
Members of the Octorara Area School Board on Monday night were honored for their volunteer service, just after they officially launched what is likely to be a grueling five months of budget deliberations.
Superintendent Thomas Newcome thanked the district's nine school directors and presented them with certificates of appreciation. Newcome said school board members are volunteers who each spend about 20 hours per month in unpaid service to the school district. He thanked them on behalf of students and their families.
The board unanimously approved the district's preliminary $47.9 million spending plan for 2013-14, which means the document prepared by business Manager Dan Carsley is an official work in progress likely to undergo many changes and revisions until it gains final approval in June.
The preliminary budget represents a 3.2 percent increase for Chester County residents and a 4 percent increase for Lancaster County taxpayers. If the current spending plan is adopted in June, Lancaster County home owners would pay 28.6 mills, up 1.11 mills from this year, and Chester County home owners would pay 37.85 mills, up 1.19 mills.
Carsley said he should have new revenue figures from the state next month.
The community, however, has been moving beyond shrinking state and federal revenue to find ways to continue existing programs, including sports.
The athletic budget, a line item which undergoes scrutiny each budget season, moved off the ledger and into ethereal idol status Jan. 12 when San Francisco Giants pitcher Ryan Vogelsong, an Octorara alumnus, returned home to be the guest speaker at a fundraising dinner for improvements to the varsity field.
The Giants won the 2012 World Series by sweeping the Detroit Tigers. Vogelsong was the winning pitcher in Game 3, which the Giants won, 2-0.
According to school board President Lisa Bowman, Vogelsong told students they should work harder than he did in school, and that even if it is a rural school district, there are more future sports heroes in Octorara classes right now.
Newcome said Vogelsong's championship night helped the district's volunteer field development task force net about $40,000 toward the approximately $100,000 varsity field project.
How the recently honored school board directors will balance the nurturing of more potential sports greats against other academic needs will play out in spring budget talks.
According to Jamie Bankert, high school assistant principal, the 2012-13 sports budget is $358,102. On the revenue side, the athletics spending plan received $230,000 from the school district general fund, $55,000 in rental revenue from the Octorara Y Program Center, $17,000 in student participation fees, $25,899 in gate receipts, $27,909 from booster club contributions and $1,704 in other payments.
On the expense side, the district is spending $190,285 for coaching salaries, $40,703 for Social Security contributions, $73,726 for trainers and referees, $1,435 for property services such as corner flags and goal maintenance, $4,100 for other supplies, $12,755 for dues and fees, and $34,499 in transportation, all totaling $357,503.
The school board began supplementing athletic costs by initiating student athletic fees several years ago, and it also cut the position of the athletic director.
The school board also held an executive session for personnel matters and hired Christine Kuderka as business office secretary at a $31,500 salary; Linda Haslett as a long-term substitute first-grade teacher; and Amy Ellsworth and Michelle Gemma as instructional assistants.
The school board accepted resignations from instructional assistant Chrystal Leonard, baseball coach Phil Rudisill, food service secretary Robin Peace and football coaches Mark Prokay and Benjamin Douts.
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