Mt. View approves $22M budget

The Mountain View School Board approved a final budget of nearly $22 million Monday night, an increase of about $5,000 from the previous year’s budget. The board approved the 2019-20 final budget in the amount of $21,998,682.44, with a roll call vote, with eight voting yes and one member absent.

Superintendent Karen Voigt said that the district will soon have paid off an old bond issue for construction, and is now paying for the new energy savings project which began one year ago. The two bond issue payments are part of the reason for the larger budget, she said.

Business manager Tom Witiak said that during the fine-tuning of the proposed budget he was able to reduce the district’s budgeted expense for life and disability insurance by $5,000. Witiak was asked by a board member if gas royalties were included in budget revenue, and the business manager said they were. Only an estimation of royalties could be projected, as the price of natural gas and the amount produced from campus wells can only be estimated, Witiak explained.

The board reviewed bids for property insurance. Both of the insurance companies bid significantly less than the cost of the current property insurance, but DGK Insurance’s bid came in $2,500 lower than its competitor. Jim Davis of DGK Insurance introduced himself and said, “I’m here to answer questions.”

Davis noted that the coverage was very good, with a higher limit on equipment. The district recently had wind damage to trees, sports equipment, and the grounds after a storm. He noted that the policy includes $3 million in flood coverage, which is to follow FEMA’s flood program.

The policy will also include cyber coverage with a million dollar limit, compared to current coverage with a $250,000 limit.

The board approved DGK as the property insurance carrier for the 2019-20 school year.

The board voted to appoint Dr. Christine Plonski-Sezer as the board treasurer.

Witiak reported the Homestead/Farmstead was deducted twice from tax bills.

“We noticed it for all the other districts, too,” he said. “It was done on everybody’s.” He said that with the way it was notated, it could have easily slipped the attention of most residents and might have never gotten noticed.

“We would be out a half million dollars if that hadn’t been noticed,” he said.

Witiak said that the tax bills were printed by GSS and that other districts in the county also use their services. Fortunately, the bills were still in the office, unmailed, so they could be corrected and new forms mailed to residents.

At that point, a board member mentioned that Montrose Area School District had eliminated per capita and occupational taxes. It was asked how much the district receives from those taxes and was told approximately $40,000 from the per capita tax and $900,000 from the occupational tax.

Superintendent Karen Voigt reported on the 2018-19 District Safety Report. She said that Act 44 provided money for school districts last year, and the safety committee was formed. She noted that Dr. Michael Elia was in charge of that committee and that School Resource Officer (SRO) Bernoski was training extensively to learn how to work with children and young adults in a school setting, how to de-escalate situations, and how to handle emergencies like building lockdowns. She said that school faculty and staff were being trained with ALICE.

A contract was approved for the Mountain View Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program Center between the district and the Scranton Lackawanna Human Development Agency, Inc. for the 2019-20 school year.

The technician and technology director job descriptions were approved, as was the pay for the technology coordinator at $24 per hour. The board approved a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the district and the MVESPA for the creation of a technology coordinator position for the remainder of the 2019-20 MVESPA contract.

The 2019 STEM program was approved by the board . The summer program for STEM will be held from June 24 to Aug. 1. Fifteen students are enrolled in the program, and eight showed up for the first day of classes Monday.

Students can come to all of the weeks of the STEM program or can select weeks based on their summer schedules. MaryAnn Tranovich was approved as teacher for the STEM program.

The next Policy Meeting will be held on Wednesday, July 3 at 6 p.m., and will discuss the Dress Code policy.

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