CATAWISSA RR — The Southern Columbia Area School Board approved the budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year which will see a slight increase in millage.

The board voted 6-0 Monday to pass the general fund budget of $22,316,721.24. Council member Greg Klebon was absent, and newly appointed board member Jim Rosenberger abstained because it was his first meeting.

Business manager Denise Kreisher calculated a $165,214.35 deficit, which is approximately half the previous fiscal year.

For taxpayers in Northumberland County, millage rates will increase from 62.18 to 65.86, which provides a rate of $6.58 on each $100 of assessed value. In Columbia County, the millage rate will rise from 48.2 to 48.9 mills, or $4.89 on each $100 of assessed value.

A cable management project completed with funding from the former sale of the district’s school buses to Fullington Trailway has led to the district receiving 60 percent reimbursement for the project from the E-Rate 2 program. Superintendent Paul Caputo announced Kreisher had received an email stating $84,637.66 will be transferred to the district’s general fund account.

Member appointment

Two candidates were interviewed to fill the seat of Gary Wilson, whose letter of resignation was accepted by the board on June 4. Caputo said Wilson has personal responsibilities he is tending to and will return to Southern Columbia Area as a substitute teacher when his schedule allows.

Jim Rosenberger, of Paxinos, was appointed in a 5-2 vote, with President Mike Yeager and Kaye Keller casting the dissenting votes. He will serve through December 2019.

Rosenberger is a 1982 graduate of Southern Columbia Area and works as a field development consultant and supervisor for Liberty Mutual Insurance, as well as a volunteer youth coach and firefighter.

He was challenged by 2018 graduate Eli Yemzow for the position. Yemzow was president of his graduating class and active within the district, including working with the Southern Columbia Community Foundation.

Yemzow told the board he believes the younger generation is a lost voice within leadership positions and he spent his high school years trying to better people’s lives.

He asked what better voice to help serve the needs of students than someone who is a recent product of the school, and produced a letter of endorsement from Emanuel A. Wilkerson, who in 2015 was the youngest person to be elected to a school board in the state of Pennsylvania at the age of 18.

Yemzow was praised by Caputo and board members for his “outstanding presentation” and encouraged him to run for a seat in the 2019 election.

In other news:

  • The board unanimously approved a $60,000 budgetary transfer.
  • A bid of $10,746 from Sokol Inc., Bloomsburg, was approved for a paving project at Tiger Stadium.
  • The district partnered with Pennsylvania Career Link for a grant that allows ninth through 12th-grade students to participate in Camp STEAM. The program runs Monday through Thursday in the school library beginning July 30. Each student who completes the program earns $250. For more information or to register, contact Jamie Mercaldo at 570-492-4275 or email jmercaldo@censop.com.

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