NEW BETHLEHEM, Pa. by: John Gerow (RVO) – Nearly 100 area residents gathered in the high school auditorium Friday evening, June 5, to watch a somber school board vote to implement a series of cost cutting measures on the heels of Tuesday’s rejection of the tax increase referendum. With a series of roll call votes, the Board implemented each of the cuts and fee increases that they proposed should the referendum initiative fail.
By unanimous consent, the Board voted to eliminate the Elementary Art, and Elementary Music teacher positions, as well as 2 additional Elementary teachers. They approved a motion to eliminate the entire K – 12 Library services, which eliminates a full – time Librarian and 2 Librarian Aides. The directors also voted to cut the ½ time Dean of Student’s position and a high school secretary position to trim Administrative costs.
The student services and safety areas were not immune from cuts. The Board voted to eliminate a Nurse’s Aide position, the Athletic Trainer position, and to eliminate entirely spending on security personnel and system upgrades.
As they explained prior to the referendum, the Board moved to increase extra – curricular group contributions to 15% and the “pay to play” fee to $100 per student, per year, with no family cap.
The Board voted to approve moving the 6th grade from the Hawthorn building to the high school. The directors have been studying this for some time and this structural change will result in a direct savings, but may more reflect changing student ages; more elementary and middle school children than current high schoolers.
The final motion that the Board approved was to increase the real property taxes to the limit of the index, adjusted for exemptions. The millage for Armstrong County will be 27.2942 and Clarion County property owners will have a 40.3352 mil rate.
The meeting adjourned into an executive session regarding negotiations.
Redbank Valley School District provides education services for the 165 square mile area of New Bethlehem and Hawthorn boroughs, and the townships of Mahoning, Madison, Porter, and Redbank of both Clarion and Armstrong counties.
The Redbank Valley School Board meetings the first Monday of every month at 7pm at the High School Library.
For more information about the Redbank Valley School District, please call 814.275.2426 or visit RedbankValley.org/pg/biz/redbank-valley-school-district