The Pettisville Local School District should operate in the black for one more year.
That’s what the school board learned when it reviewed the district five-year financial forecast during its Monday, Oct. 29 meeting.
The Monday meeting replaces the regular November meeting. The meeting was moved in order to approve the five-year forecast so it can be submitted by the Oct. 31 deadline.
The board will not meet in November unless unexpected circumstances dictate the need for a meeting.
The financial forecast prepared by Chris Lee, district treasurer, predicts flat revenue from the district income tax and flat enrollment for the district.
Lee’s forecast shows the district ending Fiscal Year 2013 (July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013) with a positive cash flow of more than $35,000, but then dipping into the cash balance in each of the next four years.
The five-year forecast is a requirement for school districts to complete twice a year.
Lee stressed that it is “a fluid document. We will be evaluating and making adjustments as time goes by– we are still watching to see how several areas shake out.”
Lee told the board that there was no final figure yet on how much the drop in enrollment might affect the state aid the district receives.
Early figures showed enrollment in the Pettisville School district off by 21 students, to 517 districtwide.
Other factors could also alter the forecast, including open enrollment figures, the completion of the wind turbine project, and an improved economic climate that would raise income tax revenues.
On another financial matter, Steve Switzer, district superintendent, said health insurance rates for the district will increase 8%. Dental insurance rates will increase 3%.
A review of the rates showed that school district consortium rates are 18% below the state median for insurance costs.
The board learned that the library director position will be filled temporarily without hiring a new employee.
Instead, the library will be staffed using current teachers aides. This will allow the district time to evaluate how to proceed while taking into account the financial effects of the enrollment drop.
Barb Stuckey and Rachel Horning were added to the educational aide substitute list and will help fill the library position this year.
The board approved several supplemental contracts, including several coaching positions.
Jeryl Hostetler was named seventh grade girls basketball coach; Lacee Lovins, varsity assistant girls basketball coach; Sara Frakenfield, ninth grade girls basketball coach; Angie Nofziger, junior high cheerleading.
Michael Lane, high school principal, took time in his report to pay tribute to Jack Frey, father of junior Dominic Frey and alumni Alex and Lincoln Frey.
Jack Frey was killed in a traffic accident last week. Memorial services for Frey were held Monday morning, Oct. 29.
Lane said Frey was a great volunteer and role model for his sons and for other students as well, and that he would be sorely missed.
Lane also shared a message he received from Teresa Mann, who was at the memorial service and called Lane to praise Pettisville students who attended.
Mann said the students were “wonderful… gracious and comforting, and very helpful.” Lane told the board it was good to hear that kind of praise.
He also told the board about several new projects for the high school.
The district is preparing an agreement with Northwest State Community College that would allow juniors and seniors at Pettisville to take college credit classes while still remaining on the Pettisville campus.
Lane praised the development, saying that by eliminating travel time to the college, more students will be able to take advantage of the chance to earn college credits in advance.
The board also heard how the high school would be ob- serving “mix-it-up day” to increase appreciation of differences in individuals and help teach tolerance to students and faculty.
During the one-day event scheduled yesterday, Tuesday, students were given assigned seats in the cafeteria where they ate lunch with students other than their close friends.
Teachers were also to “mix it up” by trading places with other teachers to teach lessons outside their normal area.
Lane said the hope was students and faculty would develop a greater appreciation for others through the program.
Jason Waldvogel, elementary principal, told the board that elementary students are preparing for a mock election that will help them understand the presidential election process better.
The mock election includes election ‘advertisements’ on the morning announcements, along with other campaigning events.
Waldvogel said during the parent-teacher conferences, parents will receive results from some of the new tests the district is giving students.
By passing out results in person at the conferences, teachers will have the opportunity to explain the tests, and parents will have the chance to ask questions.
All board members were present, and all votes were unanimous with the exception of one personnel vote when Dan Bruner abstained because the candidate was a relative.
The next board meeting is Monday, Dec. 10, in the school conference room.–D.J. Neuenschwander