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Waynesboro board OKs budget

June 20, 2007|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - At its three-hour meeting Tuesday, the Waynesboro Area School Board accepted a $46.4 million operating budget, hiked taxes, learned about a new child-care program, and adapted both the athletic fields and how students are graded while using them.

The finalized 2007-08 budget carries a 3.3-mill tax increase, which translates into an additional $330 of taxes for a house assessed at $100,000.

A mill represents $1 for every $1,000 of assessed property value.

For the first time, the board was limited in its ability to raise taxes because Pennsylvania's Act 1 of 2006 imposed inflationary caps on property tax hikes. The board could have gone to voters seeking a larger increase, but it opted against doing so.

A child-care program administered by the Waynesboro Area YMCA divided the board on whether to approve it without further information. The board ultimately delayed a decision and requested estimates for utilities costs at the affected buildings.

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The program would be in place before school starting at 6:30 a.m., and it would end at 6 p.m., Assistant Superintendent Gloria Walker said. It would have a trial run in 2007-08 in Fairview and Summitview elementary schools, she said.

"I'm on the board at the Y, and it's been discussed a lot," school board member K. Marilyn Smith said.

The YMCA agreed to pay custodial fees and upgrade security at Summitview with a buzzer system, according to Walker.

"I don't think the district should incur costs in mechanicals and facilities for a program that's going to make money," board member Chris Devers said, saying the YMCA will make money "whether they have a label for-profit or nonprofit."

Rates would be comparable to those associated with the YMCA's existing in-house program, which is approximately $150 a month for a family to receive care five days a week.

Twenty to 24 children would be accepted at each elementary school; they would be served by a staff of up to 12, Walker said.

"We put both programs in town, and a whole bunch of people in the North End have nothing," Board Member Larry Glenn said. Walker replied that the YMCA wanted to have programs in all the schools, but the administration wanted to run a pilot program first.

Devers asked district administrators to return to the July meeting with the costs associated with water, heating and air conditioning.

"It may be a minuscule cost, but I'd rather make an informed decision," he said.

The decision to table the child-care program discussion came on a 4-3 vote, with Smith arguing that an answer from the July meeting leaves the YMCA little time to prepare for the school year.

The school board accepted a bid from D.L. George & Sons for $95,000 worth of fill dirt, top soil and delivery. Starting June 25, crews will improve the athletic fields along East Second Street and the one between the middle and high schools.

The three fields will be enlarged and seeded, Business Manager Caroline Dean said.

The school district allowed its contractor to dump fill and rock on the fields during construction, saving about $600,000 in hauling fees, she said.

"Bottom line: We saved $500,000," Board Member John Fitz said. "We're gaining three fields that are adequately sized as opposed to before."

The board, on a 5-2 vote, chose to not only change physical education grading to a traditional letter-grade system of A,B,C, but also make those grades count toward a student's grade-point average. Devers, Glenn, Fitz and Anna Bostwick-Foley voted in favor of the move; Stanley Barkdoll and Lee Daywalt voted against it.

"It's a psychological grade is what it is," Devers said. "It gives the teachers what they need to get participation."

Smith had asked for further teacher input on the matter.




How they voted



The Waynesboro Area School Board on Tuesday voted 7-0 to approve a 2007-08 operating budget of $46.4 million that raises real estate taxes by 3.3 mills.

Yes: Stanley Barkdoll, Anna Bostwick-Foley, Lee Daywalt, Chris Devers, John Fitz, Larry Glenn and K. Marilyn Smith

Not attending: Leland Lemley and Michael Shea

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