LEWISBURG — Five directors were sworn in at the Monday night reorganization meeting of the Lewisburg Area School District.

Four-year term winners included Virginia Zimmerman, Corey Heath, Jordan Fetzer, Tera Unzicker-Fassero and Erin Jablonski. Unzicker-Fassero returned to the board where she had served until 2017.

Terms of Mary Brouse, John Rowe, Lisa Clark and Mary Ann Stanton expire in 2021.

Fetzer was voted board president while Heath was voted vice president.

John Fairchild, director of administrative services, offered a budget update to the directors. He noted the latest projection included higher cost choices by personnel to health insurance and a new support staff agreement. It has led to a projected deficit of $730,345.

Fairchild also cited a 4.5% increase to retirement system costs, a 9.1% increase to special education costs and a maximum budgeted increase of 10% to health care costs.

Local revenue was helped out by a $1.2 million increase in valuation of real estate which resulted in a $22,042 projection of additional revenue.

Fairchild said directors would have a chance to adopt a cap on real estate tax increases of 3.1% under Act 1 in January with budget exceptions if needed.

Though 2020 is an election year, Fairchild said the state budget could be tight for public education.

“Folks are talking about what they can do,” he said. “There are proposals talking about reducing or eliminating property taxes. We’ll see if any of those get traction.”

Fairchild budgeted for a conservative 2% increase in state education funding. If it does not happen, local revenues would have to increase or expenses cut.

Fairchild said the next six months would involve reining in the projected deficit.

Directors will be voting on a preliminary 2020-21 budget in January, with a vote on a proposed final budget scheduled for late April or early May. Final adoption would be scheduled for a vote during the first meeting in June.

Staff writer Matt Farrand can be reached at 570-742-9671 and via email at matt@standard-journal.com.

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