COUDERSPORT — The school board here approved a $13.9 million budget for the 2020-21 school year with no tax increase and hired a new superintendent during its June 15 business meeting.
The general operating budget shows expenditures at $13,964,107 and revenues at $13,122,792; the budget uses a little over $841,000 of the fund balance.
The board voted to keep the tax rates the same. Real estate taxes will remain at 42.84 mills. The Coudersport school board has not raised taxes in seven years.
The budget includes a number of items that were discussed at length during the June 8 work session, including athletic trainer hours.
The preliminary budget contained 1,000 athletic trainer hours, at $30/hour, contracted through UPMC Cole, but the board decided to lower it to 750 hours. The 2019-20 school year budget contained 500 hours, but the board was forced to increase the hours throughout the school year, noting that they would not approve any hours over 1,000.
The 750 hours is an increase compared to last year’s budget, but the district used 820 hours during the 2019-20 school year up until March 13, without a spring sports season. Of the athletic trainer’s 820 hours, 385 hours were used at practices and 267 hours were used during games, Business Manager John Abplanalp said. The total hours also included time spent at the end of the school day doing rehabilitative work with the student athletes, taping, etc., and travel time to events, he said.
During the work session, board members expressed concerns of how the athletic trainer hours were used. Board member Kevin Gledhill suggested the athletic trainer should use more hours before and after school for student athletes to stop in for evaluations, rather than standing around at practices, waiting for something to happen. Board member Carol Empson agreed, saying if the athletic trainer was “putting band aids on toes,” that was something a coach could do.
“I don’t like (the athletic trainer) sitting around just waiting for somebody to get hurt. I think that’s wasting a lot of money for our school district that can be used for education instead,” Empson said.
Abplanalp said the 2019-20 contract with UPMC Cole included verbiage that allowed them to increase hours; that part would be taken out of the 2020-21 contract. If an increase of hours is needed, the district will need to negotiate the contract.
The budget also includes a new elementary school teacher, pay increases for substitute teachers and additional software licenses for a reading program.
The board appointed Andrew Kyle to a four-year term as superintendent with a salary of $110,000 and a start date of June 30. Superintendent Jackie Canter announced her retirement in January.
Kyle, who was in the audience of the board meeting, said he was very excited for the opportunity and that he and his wife are looking forward to being part of the Coudersport community and to work with the board, parents, teachers, administration and students.
“I’m super passionate about education and doing what’s right for kids and helping everybody achieve their best,” Kyle said.