STSD School Board

The Southern Tioga School Board held a virtual meeting via Zoom on Monday, April 6. In the top row, from left, are Barb Kelly (out of screen), Krista Peterson, Jim Nobles and Barb Shull. Second row, from left, are John Martin, Jim Kreger, Sam Rotella, Ivan Erway and Bonnie Thompson. Bottom row, from left, are Stephen Guillaume (out of screen), Chad Riley and Sean Bartlett.

The Southern Tioga School District board of directors unanimously approved the proposed final budget for the 2020-21 school year in the amount of $34,337,910, with a 2% tax increase.

The administration presented a budget that had $1.1 million less than what was presented during the May 4 work session. Several items were eliminated from the original budget to reduce expenses, including two new elementary teaching positions and school police.

Rather than use the $350,000 in access funding for new playground equipment, the district will put that money toward salaries.

The $34.3 million budget shows a $302,309 shortfall. The budget does use $612,663 from the reserves to balance the budget. The budget does not include the projected $327,000 from the CARES Act; if the district receives that estimated amount, it would eliminate the deficit and create a surplus.

The board approved the 2020-21 millage rate of 17.64 mills in Lycoming County and 17.75 mills in Tioga County, in an 8-1 vote, with board member Ivan Erway opposed. The millage rates show an increase in Tioga County’s millage by 0.34 mills and a decrease in Lycoming County’s millage by 0.25 mills.

From a tax payer’s perspective, a Tioga County household with $100,000 assessed value will see an increase of $34 in real estate taxes. A Lycoming County household with $100,000 assessed value will see a decrease of $25 in real estate taxes.

The final budget will be voted on during the Wednesday, June 10 meeting. Changes can be made to the budget prior to the final budget approval.

Superintendent Sam Rotella also gave an update on the district’s graduation plans. The district has invited seniors and up 15 family members to participate in a processional in the auditoriums. One or two family members will hand the diploma to the student on stage and the video production team at the school will record it and broadcast it on social media and YouTube on June 6.

Rotella said he would be lenient and allow the senior and family members to take off their face masks while handing/receiving the diploma.

Signs will also be made for the seniors and will be displayed in front of the school.

The next board work session will be at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, June 1 in the Professional Learning Hub in Blossburg, unless a virtual meeting is required due to COVID-19.

More information can be found on the school board page of southerntioga.org.