Lewisburg approves budget with increase

Lewisburg Area School District board President Kathy Swope and Superintendent Dr. Mark DiRocco say goodbye to Cathy Moser, supervisor of curriculum and instruction, after 10 years of service with the district. Moser is resigning from the district to take a position in Mifflinburg. Photo by Amanda Alexander/Standard Journal.

LEWISBURG — The Lewisburg Area School District school board voted unanimously in favor of a $27 million budget that will amount to a tax increase of 5.2-5.7 percent, depending on state subsidy figures.

“We believe at this point in time it’s the best we can do,” said Superintendent Dr. Mark DiRocco.

“They (the state) really leave us up in the air,” said board President Kathy Swope. “We’re guessing.”

If the district receives the expected subsidy from the state, taxes will increase for district residents by .74 mills, up 5.2 percent from last year. If the district receives no subsidy, taxes will increase by .81 mills, or 5.7 percent. In addition, the district would cut an additional elementary-level teaching position that has been included in the budget. DiRocco said class sizes would still remain below 20 students if this happens.

Half of the revenue the district receives from the tax increase will be put aside in reserve to cover facilities improvements, as well as the expected increase in the employer contribution to the Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS). DiRocco said this amount is expected to continue increasing each year, and the district needs a “cushion” for next year.

In other news, the district recognized Cathy Moser, supervisor of curriculum and instruction, for her 10 years of service. Moser has announced her resignation and will take a position of director of curriculum and instruction at Mifflinburg Area School, District, beginning July 6.

“It’s their gain, and our loss,” DiRocco said.

Moser has served in several capacities in the district over the years, as assistant high school principal, Linntown principal, district special education coordinator and curriculum instructor. DiRocco said that Moser was instrumental in the securing of the Classrooms for the Future grant that allowed the district to purchase laptops for students. She also initiated the district’s pre-K program, updated the Kelly reading series and put the Learning Focused Framework in place.

“I always had faith and confidence that… when she was there, everything would be handled, and everything would be taken care of,” DiRocco said.

Moser said, “This is very bittersweet.”

She thanked DiRocco for being a mentor and having faith in her as both an employee and a person.

“I thank you for making me feel very valued,” she said to the board.

The board also heard from high school Principal David Himes about a few courses that will be removed from the course selections this year due to low enrollment. Courses cut this year include careers in art, fiber arts, reading improvement and music theory. Music theory will still be offered as an independent study option. Himes said this is the first year the high school will offer AP chemistry as a “brick and mortar class,” and the school will also offer accounting II despite low enrollment, because Himes feels it is essential for students who may want to study business after high school.

Himes said he would like to see these courses with low enrollment offered every other year, so that they are still an option for students. Board President Kathy Swope said she’d like to see this happen and the board informally agreed that they would support any policy changes to make this happen.

Absent from the meeting were board members Lori Paulus, Myrna Perkins and Ed Zych.

Staff Writer Amanda Alexander can be reached at 570-742-9671 or e-mail amanda@standard-journal.com.

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