With the Bainbridge Elementary School renovations to be completed this summer, the Elizabethtown school board is looking to renovate Rheems and possibly Mill Road elementary schools during the next few years.
John Beddia of architectural firm Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates discussed a timeline at the school board’s workshop meeting on Tuesday, April 10.
Pre-design work is beginning now for Rheems, with construction slated to begin in the summer of 2019 and be completed the following summer.
The Mill Road pre-design work would start in 2019, with construction starting the following summer — if the school board decides to keep the school open. If the school would close, Rheems would be designed to accommodate more students.
To help make that decision, business manager George Longridge suggested the board consider a feasibility study looking at future enrollment trends. With large land parcels on the market that could possibly be developed, “if families move in there, that could very easily put our schools above capacity, and we need to be prepared,” said Longridge.
Beddia said that study could be done in time to fit the current timeline.
The administration also sent out a parent letter on Tuesday, April 10, about the possibility of redistricting, which means some students would switch schools based on new boundary lines. A final decision will be made by August.
The board also heard an update on the proposed 2018-19 budget. Longridge reported that an additional savings of $475,801 due to staff resignations and retirements.
That reduces a possible deficit from approximately $128,000 to about $5,800, in a budget with the 3.2-percent tax increase allowed by the state Act 1 index.
Board member Michael Martin said he would support a 2.5 percent increase. Several other members expressed support for the 3.2 percent increase, with board president Terry Seiders saying he wants to build capacity in the budget now for needed renovations in the future, namely for the high school/middle school complex.
The board will vote May 8 to adopt a proposed final budget, with a 30-day public display; the final vote will take place on June 12.
Board member Menno Riggleman said he would like to see a millage “freeze” on taxes for retirees. Longridge said that would violate the state constitution’s uniformity clause. There is a program where retirees can volunteer with the district to save on taxes.
The board also learned that the district will get a grant of about $70,000 for the solar field to be built near Bear Creek School.
At the April 24 action meeting, the board plans to consider doubling the participation fees for athletics and marching band for the 2018-19 school year, from $25 to $50. Fees will be reduced if a family has more than one student in a program or waived for those receiving reduced or free lunches.
The board will also consider a new athletic training contract with Orthopedic Associates of Lancaster, at a cost of $65,000 for the first year with a 3 percent increase the following four years. While the current provider, CPRS, has provided valuable service, the new contract cost would have been nearly $100,000, Longridge said.
Jonathan Kreider, the father of an athlete, was concerned that trainers wouldn’t be present at away games, but Longridge checked with OAL and was told trainers would be present.
Additionally, the board plans to consider a five-year contract for bus transportation with current contractor Durham School Services. A list of bus drivers is also planned to be presented at the action meeting for approval.