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The Progress Home >> Thursday, January 31, 2013 - West Branch considers a 10 mill increase

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West Branch considers a 10 mill increase
Thursday, January 31, 2013
By Tyler Kolesar Staff Writer
ALLPORT - It's up to the hands of the voters, as the West Branch School Board voted at last night's meeting to allow the voters at the next primary election in April to decide on a 10 mill tax increase. If rejected, Business Manager Jason McMillen said the most they could raise millage due to the index would be 2.4 mills. Before the tax increase, McMillen said they would be operating with a $1.5 million deficit for this year. Numerous ideas have been brought up before as to how to close the deficit, especially during budget meetings. Board member Tim Kephart asked McMillen what a 10 mill increase would generate, with McMillen saying the district would collect around $270,000 in revenue. A 2.4 mill increase would only generate approximately $80,000. Kephart said that sadly it will come down to either generating more revenue or having programs trimmed/cut.
"If we're not willing to generate more revenues as a community, everyone has to understand that there's going to be cuts that are going to have to be implemented as a district that's going to affect programs here at the school," said Kephart.
Kephart said he felt instead of approving last night's Taxpayer Relief Act Resolution, which would have given the 2.4 mill increase, he suggested allowing the decision to be put on the ballots at the primary election in April. Kephart then made a motion, which was seconded by Gerald Coble. The motion then passed by a 9-0 vote. Should the public reject the 10 mill increase, the district would be going with a 2.4 millage increase. President Joe Kovalcin said the next budget meeting will be on Feb. 12. Kephart said everyone is invited to attend to give their opinions as to what to do.
The board also heard from West Branch Varsity Baseball Coach Tyler Good about a possible trip with the team to Richmond, Va. Good said his staff would like approval to take "no more than 17 to 18 kids" down from March 13 to March 15 to scrimmage other teams. Acting Superintendent and High School Principal J.R. Holenchik said four teachers would be chaperoning the trip. When asked about whether trips like this in the past had occurred, many said they had years ago. Board member Don Yontosh said he didn't have a problem with the trip, but he did have a problem with four teachers going. Yontosh suggested having only two teachers/coaches go, and said they could find parents as other chaperones. Kephart said he had a problem with the three days out of school and asked if they would allow this trip, it could set precedence for other athletic trips. Many board members said the wrestling team already misses time, but Kephart said that's for PIAA events and not scrimmages. The board finally passed the trip by a 7-2 vote, with Kephart and Larry Allen voting against it.
In other news:
• make up days will be held on Feb. 14, March 4 and April 2.
• resident Stephanie Kopchik had a complaint about a bus stop located at the Pardee Road and Empire Road intersection. McMillen said the stop was moved up a bit after a bus driver felt the original stop wasn't safe as cars could still go through a portion of the intersection. Yontosh made a motion to move it slightly to where a garage has a light, and the motion carried unanimously.
• Kephart asked about the delayed starts last week in which temperatures were cold overnight. He stated that some days were as cold as the others, yet some days had delays and others did not. Holenchik said a lot of that is based off of what the majority of area schools do. Holenchik said he felt it would be "in their best interest" to not be the only area district that isn't on a delay when others are not. Holenchik said if they were on time and the Clearfield County Career and Technology school was on a two hour delay, this would create a conflict with West Branch busing their students there.
• the board voted to give the local tax collectors a raise. Over the next four years, it will be $18,000 for Morris Township and $11,250 for both Cooper and Graham Townships.
• numerous conferences, cafeteria workers, and field trips were passed.
The next regular meeting will be on Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. in the high school library.
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