COAL TOWNSHIP — Shamokin Area School Board on Monday unanimously passed a $32 million tentative general fund budget for 2019-20 that includes a 1.12-mill tax increase.

The tax increase was primarily necessitated by hikes in health care, retirement contributions and cyber school costs, according to business manager Karen Colangelo, who presented an overview of the $32,496,590 spending plan.

The 1.12-mill increase, which is the maximum allowed under the Act 1 index of 3.5 percent, raises the millage rate to 33.21.

Approving the tentative budget were board President Brian Persing, Robert Getchey, Jeff Kashner, Erik Anderson, Melissa Hovenstine, Charles Shuey, Edward Griffiths, Laura Scandle and Steve Cook.

The board is expected to adopt a final budget at its meeting next month, which has been moved from June 18 to June 20.

Colangelo said the value of 1 gross mill is $115,246.95, while a net mill is equivalent to $97,959.91.

She said millage has increased from 29.82 in 2016 to 33.21 in 2019.

She said health care increased by 7.3 percent. For every $1 in salary, the district contributes 34 cents to the employees retirement system.

During the current school year, costs for 138 students enrolled in cyber schools is $1,615,320. Online courses provided by the district to 100 students is $240,000, Colangelo said.

She said the 2017-18 general fund balance decreased by $1,160,266, while the cyber school costs last year were $1,382,709.

Shuey, who has been a staunch opponent of cyber schools over the years, said, “The cost is ridiculous for cyber schools. We are being ripped off.”

Like Colangelo, Shuey encouraged the public to contact their state legislators to voice support for Senate Bill 34 and House Bill 526 for school districts to provide their own cyber learning programs.

The board unanimously passed a resolution supporting the bills.

The board adopted a resolution to curtail the educational program at TrueCore Behavioral Solutions due to the company’s closing.

One educational classroom and a social studies teacher position will be eliminated, effective June 13.

Cook was the lone board member to oppose the resolutions regarding the elimination of the program and teacher.

Griffiths was unanimously elected board treasurer at an annual salary of $2,700 with a bond set at $20,000.

The board approved the Northumberland County Career and Technology Center’s budget of $2,051,666 for the 2019-20 school year, with Shamokin Area’s share being $952,879.31.

Directors accepted a proposal by NRG Controls North Inc. to replace/repair three compressors at the middle/high school at a total cost of $23,397.

The board unanimously approved a voluntary transfer of Anthony Carnuccio from co-elementary school principal to assistant principal at a salary of $78,000 with the same benefits. Carnuccio was making about $86,000 as principal for grades three to six.

When asked after the meeting about the reason for transferring Carnuccio’s position and reducing his salary, Persing said he couldn’t comment because it was a personnel issue.

The board accepted the resignations of elementary teacher Kristy Gorzkowski, teacher aide Sheyna Stankiewicz and part-time custodian Michael Delvecchio.

Robert Knowles and Jean Kleman were appointed armed school security guards at 180 days per year at $18.46 per hour, effective today.

Corrine Carpenter was hired as a nurse assistant at 180 days per year at $30,000 plus benefits.

At the beginning of the meeting, the middle/high school Science Iditarod Team was recognized for recently winning a championship.

Members include Quinn Rollman, Lauren Wagner, Abby Nye and Marshall Buggy on Team 1, and Jameson Kramer, Nate Grimes, Robert Rebuck and Ian Paul on Team 2. Steve Major, Tonia Madrak and Gerald Kramer are team advisers.

Sixth-grade teacher Doug Kase recognized several students who attained honors in a recent science fair at the elementary school.

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