By Wayne Laepple

For The Daily Item

TURBOTVILLE -- By a 7-1 vote, the Warrior Run school board Monday night adopted a balanced $18.8 million budget that increases real estate taxes.

Board members voting in favor of the budget were Lyle Horn, William Hartline, Norman Eisley Jr., Todd Moser, Douglas Whitmoyer, Vicki Egli and David Baker. Herman Swartz cast the lone dissenting vote. Tamela Chomas was absent.

After the meeting, Swartz said he voted against the spending plan because he is "opposed to instituting all-day kindergarten at this time, at a cost of about $150,000 for three new teachers."

The board also adopted new tax rates. In Montour County, the rate will be 8.99 mills, an increase of 0.79 mills. In Northumberland County, the rate will be 52.18 mills, an increase of 3.68 mills. Union County residents will pay 8.63 mills, an increase of 0.41 mills.

Because the district includes municipalities in three counties, each with differing rates of assessed property values, increases vary. Linda McNeal, the district's business manager, said Montour County residents will see an average increase of $101, and Northumberland County taxpayers will see a $112 increase. By contrast, Union County's average rate will increase by $31. McNeal emphasized that these increases are before consideration of the Farmstead-Homestead exemptions in each county.

The district will continue to assess a $5 per capita tax, and Act 511 taxes will remain at $5 per capita, 1.3 percent earned income and real estate transfer taxes of 0.5 percent.

The board hired two teachers, Jacqueline Leslie as a high school physics teacher at a starting rate of $38,331 and Jessica White as a special education and English teacher at the high school at a starting salary of $38,331. Both hold master's degrees and are starting on the first step of the salary scale, pending negotiations of a new Warrior Run Education Association contract, at which time their salaries may be adjusted.

Mark Marino, a social studies teacher at the high school, had his assignment reduced to half-time, and he will be classified as a regular part-time professional employee as specified by the district's collective bargaining agreement.

Salary increases averaging about 3 percent were approved for administrators and licensed and administrative support personnel. Classified employees will received a 35-cent-an-hour increase effective Friday.

The district's insurance package jumped by almost $20,000 for the 2011-12 school year because of increased Workmen's Compensation costs. The cost for all insurances will be $153,685, up from $133,990 this school year.

Eisley was recognized for 16 years of service, receiving a certificate of appreciation from the Pennsylvania School Boards Association. "This level of service in an unpaid and difficult job is something that is extremely rare," said John Kurelja, superintendent, as he congratulated Eisley. "This kind of continuity and stability is important to administrators."

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