School board bids members farewell
Superintendent Dr. Mummau took a moment of Monday's Wyalusing School Board meeting to bid farewell to Larry Franklin, Barb Hugo and Brian Zeidner after a combined 40 years of experience as board members.
In total, Mummau said, Franklin served 24 years on the school board until this year, when he decided not to run for re-election in the November elections. Hugo has held a position on the board since 2001, and Zeidner served one four year term from 2009 to present.
Mummau touched on the importance of some of the things the retiring board members have accomplished over the years, including Hugo leading the charge towards the planned Wyalusing L.I.F.E. Center, a building estimated to cost $1,000,000 that will house state of the art physical fitness equipment for student use. Hugo is searching for $500,000 in community donations to make the building a reality and has raised over $100,000 to date according to the district's website. If community funding is successful, the other $500,000 will be provided by the Kenneth and Caroline Taylor Family Foundation.
More information on the new incoming school board members will be provided in an upcoming edition of The Daily Review.
Pennsylvania School Board Association Report
School board Vice President Chad Salsman reported some items of interest that he gathered while attending the Pennsylvania School Board Association's School Leadership Conference in Hershey last month. He said he found three particular seminars that he attended to be "relevant" to Wyalusing's current situation, two of which were directly related to public relations within the community. The third seminar addressed the Erie School District, which after years of making fiscally irresponsible decisions finally made a move to repair the damage that had been done, Salsman said.
The district has experienced some problems on both fronts over the last year after it had to remove some teaching positions to make budget cuts and faced comments from the community after last month's meeting about a lack of communication with the public.
Salsman said he learned useful information while at the two public relations seminars named "Maintaining Successful Relations with the Community," and "Leveraging Social Media."
While discussing the seminar on Erie's story of survival, Salsman said it is reassuring to know that other districts have it "worse than us," and in addition, it is good to see Wyalusing is already taking many of the steps that were outlined in the seminar as ways to "avoid icebergs" financially.
The district unanimously approved a motion to apply for an Act 1 referendum exception based on the qualifying criteria of debt, retirement and special education. The motion states that preliminary estimates are an additional millage increase of .0861 for debt, 1.2579 for special education and 1.4527 for retirement. While the values may be subject to change, Business Manager Tom Witiak said the numbers represent an increase to the school's budget of approximately $241,000 for retirement, $209,000 for special education and $14,000 on the debt criteria.
Witiak said it is not known which direction the district plans to take in its choice of choosing just one qualifying basis or a mixture of multiple ones.
The district is permitted, by state law, to increase taxes a certain amount without seeking voter approval. In order to raise taxes beyond that specified index, the district must receive voter approval to do so, unless it obtains a referendum exception from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Monday's motion allows the district to begin applying for this exception.
Tim Zyla can be reached at (570) 265-1634; or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.