SUNBURY -- At Thursday's Shikellamy school board meeting, directors adopted a preliminary operating budget for the 2012-13 school year that contains a $300,000 deficit, down from an originally anticipated $1.9 million shortfall.

And then they danced -- literally.

Not because of the $300,000 figure given by district Superintendent Robin Musto, but because Shikellamy music teacher Frank DeLucca brought 15 students from the Beck and Oaklyn elementary schools to entertain the directors with their musical skills.

DeLucca wanted district officials to see what students are learning.

"Having music in these children's lives is so important," he told the board. "I'm proud of these students, and I am proud to be part of the traditional excellence Shikellamy has in the music department. I'm having the time of my life."

Students performed for nearly 20 minutes, and board members and parents loved every second of it.

"This is what the district should be about," one parent said. "Kids."

After the singing and dancing ended, the board members got to work as Musto explained that the district saved money throughout the year and that has left the schools in a somewhat better shape financially.

"We spent money wisely this year," Musto said. "We watched what we were doing and watched how we spent it, which left us with a much more healthy looking budget than we had."

Board member Jim Hartman said the budget is in the early stages and numbers could vary.

Several school functions that were listed on the agenda for board approval slowed down what had been a smooth running meeting when director Kim Markunas asked the board to vote on 12 issues one at a time.

She read from a statement saying that although she is in favor of school activities and student trips, she was voting against them because she said she was not provided adequate time to review paperwork related to the trips.

Director Mike Kerstetter said the district pays its employees to make sure the paperwork is properly filled out. Hartman agreed with Kerstetter and suggested to Markunas that the discussion take place under policy guidelines at a work session.

Markunas voted against 10 of 12 district trips, including a request for the Shikellamy Braves wrestling team to attend the state wrestling championships in Hershey in March.

Markunas also voted against four volunteer Ivy League wrestling coaches.

Ten of the 12 requests passed by an 8-1 margin, with Markunas being the lone no vote.

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