Today’s news – Friday, April 7, 2017

Today’s news and information gleanings from here and there.

Quote for today … “people and purpose-driven” – These words were part of a citizen comment uttered by former School Board of Director Iris Garrido as she thanked the board members for their support and understanding of her decision to tender her resignation from the Board. She said she hoped that the elected position of School Board Director ought not be politically motivated, rather it ought be “people and purpose-driven.”

Here are a few notes from last night’s school board meeting:

  • ELANCO’s Chief of Finance and Operations, Keith Ramsey, and the acting interim financial director for Columbia Borough School District facilitated a look at the 2017-18 Budget. This document is an attachment to the Committee-of-the-Whole agenda for last night’s meeting and appears below. NOTE, his verbal narrative added clarity to the slides; this is another reason why it’s important to attend meetings.

budget PreviewClick on the image to download the complete preview as a .pdf file. Budget Presentation 04-06-2017

  • Columbia Borough School District’s Comprehensive School Counseling Plan is also posted with the agenda. This vertical plan is a “written plan on file, approved by the local board of school directors, for the development and implementation of a comprehensive, sequential program of guidance services for kindergarten through 12th grade.”
  • As expected (according to the agenda) the Board accepted Rachael Smith Kedney to assume the Vacant Board Seat necessitated by the resignation of Iris Garrido. Curiously, there was no interview process for the vacancy. Citizen Frank Doutrich questioned the process and Board President Keith Combs stated that since only one applicant had applied for the supposedly announced position, he saw no reason to hold an interview process. He said the position was not advertised, but said it was announced at the last board meeting. The minutes for that March 16 meeting are not yet posted at the Website.
  • The Board’s policy states: “A vacancy shall occur by reason of death, resignation, removal from a district or region, or otherwise. Such vacancy shall be filled in accordance with the Sunshine Act and by appointment by a majority vote of the remaining members of the Board within thirty (30) days of the occurrence of the vacancy. The Board member so appointed shall serve until the first Monday in December after the first municipal election occurring more than sixty (60) days following his/her appointment. When a majority of the memberships are vacant, such vacancies shall be filled by the Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County.
  • The Sunshine Law states that executive sessions “shall not apply to any meeting involving the appointment or selection of any person to fill a vacancy in any elected office.”
  • At a 5:00 meeting elected public servants, Pennsylvania Senator Ryan Aument and Pennsylvania Representative David Hickernell. met with the School Board of Directors, the superintendent, financial officer and a few citizens to relate “news from Harrisburg” that included the initiative of “shared services” among school districts and the much batted about Property Tax Reform (there’s that word again). Though both said they’d supported a revised look at property taxes as a primary funding source for public school education, Neither would offer any hope that the bill would gather much support among their fellow elected public servants because the contents of the bill has less support outside the central Pennsylvania area.

Tax handoutA citizen was waiting at the door to the meeting room and handed out the above pamphlet at the conclusion of the meeting.

One comment

  1. The citizen at the door was a 92 year old man that drove from Christiana in the pouring rain to be in attendance, yet only about five residents of this borough attended. Personally, I don’t want to hear residents complain about high property taxes when they cannot show up at meetings. There is a lot more to the property tax elimination bill, one of which would require some spending by the district to first be voted on by the PEOPLE paying for it!!!! There’s a great idea, we would actually have a say in how our money is spent.

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