CATAWISSA RR — The Southern Columbia Area school board approved a preliminary budget for the 2018-19 school year Monday evening featuring a deficit of $839,889.52.
The 5-0 vote was made to allow business manager Denise Kreisher to file the $22,662,281 budget with the state. Kreisher told the board the deficit may change as information continues to come in regarding things such as retirement and health insurance.
Superintendent Paul Caputo said the deficit is at a lower starting point than previous years, noting it was over $1 million in the early stages of the 2017-18 budget.
At next Monday’s meeting, the board will vote whether they will authorize Kreisher to apply with the Pennsylvania Department of Education for the referendum exceptions for the next budget year. Kreisher explained the exception would allow the district to raise taxes beyond the index.
Kreisher said an exception is approved under two circumstances, those being special education costs and retirement increases. The district could apply to cover the extenuating circumstances regarding retirement increases over several years, Kreisher explained.
Safe schools grants
Caputo announced the purchase of the Raptor Visitor Management System as part of the $20,000 Safe Schools grant awarded to the district. The system is planned to roll out beginning March 5.
It will require visitors to provide front desk personnel with a state-issued ID, which will be placed into the Raptor system that will conduct a background check on the individual to alert the school of sex offenders attempting to enter the building. Police can be directly alerted through the system.. If cleared, a pass will be printed for the visitor.
Rich Worthington Designs LLC, of Willow Grove, completed updated floor plans and aerial maps as part of the grant that will be provided to emergency responders. The floor plans display water, electric and propane shut off valves along with other emergency information.
In other news:
• The Women’s Guild of Numidia Valley Fellowship donated $600 to clear the lunch accounts with negative balances in the elementary school.
•The restroom renovation project at Tiger Stadium is near completion and discussion has been held to potentially pave around the buildings with asphalt.