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Waynesboro School Board failes to field a quorum

September 21, 2005|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, PA. - In his 11 years on the Waynesboro Area School Board, President Larry Glenn could not recall ever not having a quorum, but it happened Tuesday night.

With only four members present, Glenn declared a quorum had not been reached about 15 minutes after the scheduled 7 p.m. start. About three minutes later, board member Leland Lemley arrived, having just come from work.

Besides Lemley, those who did not attend were John Fitz, Megan Shea, Chris M. Devers and Todd Rock.

Scheduled, but not acted on, was a resolution on a $40 million renovation project for the high school. The board last week authorized architects to begin design work on the project, but was advised that a formal resolution was needed in order for the Pennsylvania Department of Education to grant the district a variance on the department's 20-year renovation rule.

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Without the variance, school building projects are ineligible for state reimbursement for 20 years after construction or previous renovation, Mark S. Barnhardt, the senior vice president of EI Associates of Harrisburg, Pa., told the board last week.

Figures Barnhardt reviewed with the board last week indicated the district could be eligible for up to more than $11 million in reimbursement if the variance is granted.

While action on that was delayed until the next meeting on Oct. 11, the board did hear from one resident who opposed the plan, the most expensive of three options the board examined for the school.

"You people ought to get together and reconsider this, or a lot of people are going to be hurting," said Kerry Bonner. "How much do you figure on raising taxes?"

Bonner said the board did not approve Act 72, which would have required voter approval for real estate tax increases under certain circumstances "because you want the power."

The tax increase required to fund the renovation was estimated at 12.9 mills at last week's meeting. One mill equals $1 for every $1,000 of assessed value on a property.

Last year, before the board opted not to participate in Act 72, it voted to preserve its ability to borrow up to $40 million for school projects, Lemley said.

That money, however, was supposed to cover the high school renovations and work at Summitview and Hooverville elementary schools, Lemley said.

Because the board rejected Act 72, Lemley said the $40 million borrowing limit is no longer in effect and the board can borrow more, he said.

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