The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

November 8, 2013

DiRocco: District can afford new high school

— LEWISBURG — With interest rates low and the Lewisburg Area School District in the best financial shape for a capital project in three years, now is the best time to build a new high school without the risk of raising taxes, Superintendent Mark DiRocco told the school board and a handful of audience members at a special public works session Thursday.

With that, the school board decided 8-1 to put voting for a new high school on its agenda next week. Director Mary Howe was the lone dissenter.

Part of why the district is in such good shape for this, DiRocco said, is a capital reserve fund established in the 2010-11 budget cycle. The money was put in there, he said, “with the idea that it would go to a future bond,” the method of funding school construction.

This also was the last year of school budgets before Gov. Tom Corbett began slashing education funding, putting districts, including Lewisburg, in critical states that required cuts in staff and programs.

Despite financial hardships, the district’s capital reserve fund has been kept funded and is at about $430,000.

“Because of smart financial management, we can build this high school without raising taxes,” DiRocco said. “After three years of frugality, we’re at a point that this is doable.”

Taxes could increase, however, for other expenses the district faces, mainly two things: the Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System contribution that likely will be about $300,000, and rising health care insurance costs for employees.

The board also heard from Jamie Shelby, director of Robert W. Baird & Co. Public Finance of Exton, an underwriter of municipal bonds.

Shelby presented five funding scenarios — three with a price tag of $32 million and two with a price tag of $35 million. Interest rates for financing now are at 4.56 percent. Lewisburg is looking at a 20-year bond for the project.

DiRocco also offered a proposed schedule that would see construction begin about September 2014 and end in April 2016.

The rest of this year — roughly eight weeks — would see site development and an archeological study completed, building and program development done and schematic design and approval finished.

The school board entered into executive session after the public works meeting.

The next school board meeting is at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Donald H. Eichhorn Middle School.

During public comment, resident Dave Hafer, of East Buffalo Township, asked if the building is so bad, how come the high school is so highly rated. He was referring to rankings, including the national one by U.S. News & World Report, that put Lewisburg Area High School at the top of performance and academic achievement.

“The stress level it takes to get results takes its toll,” responded high school teacher Cynthia Shaffer. “While we do our best to adapt, we’re tripping over each other.”

1
Text Only
News
  • State: Discard raw milk from Greenfield Dairy

    MIDDLEBURG — Consumers should discard raw milk purchased recently from the Greenfield Dairy of Middleburg, which also has temporarily suspended production after Listeria monocytogenes was discovered in the product following routine testing, the state Department of Agriculture announced today.

    April 18, 2014

  • Penn State police: Three posed nude at Nittany shrine

    STATE COLLEGE — Penn State police say three male students who reportedly posed nude for a photo at the university’s Nittany Lion Shrine face school discipline.

    April 18, 2014

  • State unemployment rate drops to 6 percent in March

    HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania’s jobless rate has continued its steady decline. The state Department of Labor and Industry says unemployment fell two-tenths of a percentage point to 6 percent in March.

    April 18, 2014

  • Report: Pennsylvania forests impacted by drilling

    PITTSBURGH — A small portion of Pennsylvania state forest land has been impacted by shale gas drilling, but many questions remain about how to manage the politically sensitive issue that is opposed by many residents, according to a new report.

    April 18, 2014

  • TRAFFIC ADVISORY: Route 45 east of Montandon

    MONTANDON — A paving project is slowing traffic today on Route 45 east of Montandon.

    April 18, 2014

  • Accident victims remain in critical condition this morning

    DANVILLE - Victims from serious traffic accidents the past two days remain in critical condition this morning at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville.

    April 18, 2014

  • Porn prank riles Bucknell University president

    LEWISBURG — A fake email that contained a link to a pornographic website was sent to Bucknell students, faculty and staff on Tuesday night.

    April 18, 2014

  • 28-mile cross walk steps off in Northumberland

    SUNBURY — Two “cross walks” this morning, including a 28-mile trek from Northumberland to Beaver Springs, are among the highlights of Easter activities and services in the Valley.

    April 18, 2014

  • rsstrike18a.jpg Picketing begins at four Danville schools

    DANVILLE — It started like any other school day during the year, with teachers up early and arriving at school at 7:30 in the morning.

     

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Line Mountain board, teachers to talk Tuesday

    MANDATA — Line Mountain school board President Troy Laudenslager is far more optimistic this week than he has been as the board and the Line Mountain Education Association head into their first contract negotiation session in three months.

    April 18, 2014

The Daily Marquee
Poll

How do you eat your chocolate Easter bunny?

Feet first
Tail first
Ears first
     View Results
Photo Galleries
The Valley

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.