C-K mascot arrives

Claysburg-Kimmel school board and administrators stand with their new bulldog statue Wednesday following a board meeting. From left are school board member Roger Knisely, Superintendent Darren McLaurin, Business Manager Michelle Smithmyer, Assistant Superintendent Brian Helsel, elementary Principal Matt Hall, board members Rich Gergely, Jeremy Knott, Mona Eckley, Shelda Repko, Geri Mock, Mandi Daugherty and Heidi Kennedy. The Fiberglass dog weighs about 300 pounds and it’s not been decided yet where it will be placed.

CLAYSBURG — Claysburg-Kimmel School District taxpayers will see a small increase in their property tax bill this summer to fund a $13.2 million budget for 2019-20.

The property tax increase for Greenfield Township will climb from 7.7 to 7.96 mills, and for Kimmel from 10.63 to 10.92 mills, about a 2.6 and 2.7 percent increase, respectively. The state had allowed the district to go up as much as 3.4 percent before going to a voter referendum for a higher increase.

The district had to balance out a $637,000 deficit with revenues coming in at $12.52 million.

The revenue from the millage hike will generate about $158,000; the increase to the average parcel will be about $10.25, the district said.

The district will see an increased cost in benefits, including a 3 percent hike in health insurance for which the district will pay about $1.3 million. Staff salaries will go up about $152,00 to just under $5 million and another $2.28 million will go toward the state’s public school retirement fund.

The district has budgeted about $160,000 to pay tuition for those students who attend a cyber school outside the district.

The district will use its savings of about $4.5 million to balance out the budget.

The spending plan wasn’t approved unanimously. Shelda Repko, of Kimmel Township, said she believed the district should have worked to reduce the deficit to avoid the increase. She voted against the final budget and the tax increase.

“I wanted to be true to Kimmel Township,” she said. “I just feel $600,000 is way too much of a deficit.”

Board members Mandi Daugherty, Mona Eckley, Rich Gergely, Heidi Kennedy, Roger Knisely, Jeremy Knott, and Geri Mock all voted in favor. Craig Burket was absent for the meeting.

Knott said he felt a tax increase was needed to fund the district’s educational needs.

“I trust that our students are getting educated well here,” he said. “I will happily, reluctantly, say yes to raising my own taxes.”

The board approved the homestead/farmstead exclusion for the coming year.

Any homeowner who qualifies for a homestead — the house that is the primary place of the homeowner — will receive $240 reduction in his or her tax bill. A farmstead — a farm of 10 acres or more in size, that holds the primary residence of the farmer — generally receives double the homestead exemption.

The board also approved the retirement of Steve Lach, a chemistry/physics teacher. He logged 34 years as a teacher.

The board also approved the following:

—Official fees and schedule of athletic game help compensation, all of which are the same as the current schedule.

—The resignations of Jen Kruise as student council adviser and Mary Potter as cafeteria worker;

—Approved Kristen Reffner and Karen Weyandt, both of Claysburg, for cafeteria positions. Reffner’s position is for three hours per day and Weyandt, for four hours per day, each at $9 per hour.

The board also acknowledged the softball program — led by its varsity team that won back-to-back District 6 titles and finished this season at 19-5 with a loss in the state quarterfinals.

The junior high team also posted a 17-2 record.

The board also took a look after the meeting at the new bulldog statue funded by the Claysburg Education Foundation. It’s not been decided where the Fiberglass statue, weighing about 300 pounds, will be located, Superintendent Darren McLaurin said.

Eckley, who is also is a foundation board member, said the organization is committed to purchasing another dog for the elementary school. The new mascot statue, created by Chicago Fiberglass Works, cost about $3,000.

Contact Elizabeth Coyle at ecoyle@bedfordgazette.com; 623-1151, ext. 105.

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